A dreaded phrase in our house is, “Oh Mom, I forgot that I have a paper due tomorrow. Can you help me?” This phrase is usually delivered with the appropriate amount of panic in the voice, 10 minutes before bedtime. For years and years and years (having three sons) I would reluctantly agree and join them in frenetically completing the assignment. Their “forgetting” would become my stress. We would stay up way past bedtime while I helped them think, research, write or type a paper. Often a struggle would ensue. I would scold them for poor planning and warn them of dire consequences if they continued this trend. They would become sullen and withdraw. We would go to bed disgruntled with each other, often the mood following us into the next morning and day. No more! Now when an important assignment is forgotten, I empathize. “Oh no! You forgot. I’m so sorry. That must feel really awful. I hope you can figure out a way to get it done. Let me give you your good-night hug now. I’m sorry you didn’t think of this earlier in the evening when I could have helped you. I’m getting up at 6:00 tomorrow morning and if you want to join me in the kitchen then, I’m happy to help while I’m fixing breakfast.” No more struggle, natural consequences and an intact and loving relationship. Wish I had done this years ago!