The Hassle Timer


We are making our way through the Five Ways To Disciple Your Children Without Spanking series. Today’s method is the tool that tops them all for me. It is my absolute favorite tool to use because it’s perfect for on-the-go or in the car. It’s called The Hassle Timer, it’s another one we learned from Danny Silk.

Take for example, we’re driving and the kids get upset and start yelling at each other. I’ll say, “Hey guys, it’s a hassle for me when you guys yell instead of talk to each other. Are you sure you want to keep yelling?” Sometimes, I’ll say something like, “Are you able to calm down, or do you need me to help you talk through this?” If the problem doesn’t get resolved that simply, I’ll just let them keep yelling, but I’ll let them know the hassle timer is running. They continue on yelling or doing whatever it is that you don’t want them to do. You just keep an eye on the time, and let it rack up. Let’s say it takes them two minutes to calm down. They now have two minutes of hassle time.

How hassle time works, is later on, when they’re getting ready to do something really fun, you stop them and say, “Oh no! Remember you have two minutes of hassle time from earlier. Go ahead and have a seat and when the two minutes is up, you can go play.” The hassle time is subtracted from the time they could have spent doing something they value. Another example is letting them pay back hassle time when they were going to watch a T.V. show. We start the show, but they have to stay in another room until two minutes of the show has passed instead of just taking away two minutes of screen time in general which wouldn’t have as big of an impact on them.

This method is practical for circumstances that have nothing to do with physical pain. They’re learning that their choices can cost them time and opportunity, which is one of the hardest and most important lessons for children to learn.

An extra measure I like to take every now and then with this tool is to reassure my kids that what they DID is a hassle, but THEY are not a hassle to me. I make sure they know that they’re an amazing kid that I enjoy being around. It’s their actions, not their identity which is a hassle to me. For more tips like this, make sure to check out Win + Win Parenting on Amazon!

Seth Dahl