One piece of parenting advice that has stuck with me through the
years is the phrase “wait thirty days.”  I don’t remember the source,
but I’ll explain why it had to be someone very wise.  

Does your young lady rush in the door after school, proclaiming her
need for the latest music, book, toy, fashion, etc?  If you can bargain
or mandate that she has to wait thirty days, the rush of the fad might
be over by then.

Think of the aftermath of a birthday or Christmas, when certain items
might be played with or used for a very short time (could it be about a
month?) and then are pushed to the side for the next new thing.  The
“wait thirty days” adage can prevent adding unnecessarily to this slush

I developed a standard response to my younger daughter’s requests: 
“OK, let’s put it on the list.”  We keep a running list of things she’s
thinks she’s crazy for, and she can earn points toward getting some of
those items.  When the points come due, she looks at the list and
picks what still seems appealing.  Amy knows now that we won’t
march out and immediately buy her the item.

At holiday time the list comeback could be expanded to “Let’s put it on
your Christmas/Chanukah/birthday/Easter list.” 

Depending on the age, growth phase, and personality of your child,
the requests could happen infrequently or almost daily.  They can
range from very small to very big. 

Here’s an example of big:  Our oldest daughter started asking for a
horse when she was about nine.  Of course we had some inhibitors to
buying within thirty days, including money and her ability to care for
the horse.  But the requests didn’t cease.  We actually waited a few
years and then, noting her enduring passion, jumped on a great
opportunity to buy an older horse at a decent price.  After Casper
came Penny.  After Brittany moved out on her own, her love of horses
persisted, and now she owns two younger horses she’s training.

A partner concept that goes hand in hand with “wait thirty days” is
“don’t buy too far ahead.”  Kids’ tastes can change so rapidly that
buying too far in advance can catch up with you later on.  Amy started
watching reruns of the old TV show Full House, and became infatuated
with later episodes of the show.  After waiting at least thirty days (it
was more like six months) I finally bought her a DVD of Season Five
and gave it to her on the last day of school before summer vacation.
(She was thrilled).  I also bought Season Six to give her for Christmas,
all the while patting myself on the back for shopping ahead. But lately
I’ve heard her say that she really wants Season Two, the earlier years. 
P.S. She’s not even watching Full House that much anymore.

The bottom line?  Kids go through so many phases that you shouldn’t
wait thirty days to try this advice.  : )

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to




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