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15 years ago, Caroline and I thought we knew everything about parenting.

We were newly married and, oh yes, we were parenting experts.

We had read all the books, listened to all the tape sets and marked out in other families how "NOT" to parent.

We were dead serious about this parenting business and we were ready to show the world what raising children is supposed to look like.

Except we didn't have any children.

Which meant we had almost zero experience.

Which meant we didn't have a clue.

Our first child came and we were convinced he couldn't have landed in a better home.

After all, we were experts.

We knew exactly how to mold him into an obedient, God-fearing young man.

The truth? We had more to learn than he did.


We embarked on our journey as if we'd already earned our PhD in parenting. In reality, we were entering our first semester at the School of Hard Knocks.


But you have to give it to us; we went all out. 

If a book said we should begin to train our son to come to us at 6 months, we did that.

If a parenting "expert" said we should have our son trained to sit quietly in church by 18 months, we did that.

If a video seminar said we should set strict bed times and expect our son to adhere to them at a very young age, we did that too. There was only one teensy-weensy problem:

Our little son was having none of it.

He almost never came to us upon demand.

He was probably the last child in his age group to finally learn to sit still in church (this was terribly embarrassing to us at the time).

And he fell asleep on his schedule, not ours.

The "parenting doctors" weren't helping matters.

Their advise? Double-down.

So we doubled-down and got the same results, only they were twice as distressing. 

Something had to change. 


Learning the hard way.


By the time our son was 3, we were utterly exasperated. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going according to plan. 

We had the best intentions in the world, but what did we have to show for it?

Guilt around every corner. Guilt for sticking to "the plan"; guilt for not sticking to it close enough.

And worst of all, a precious son who, far from becoming more submissive to us as his parents, was only growing in his frustration. 

We were done.

Done with the parenting doctors and all their arbitrary child development markers.

Done with attempting to force our son into submission.

Done with the notion that he was "prewired" to subvert our authority.

I'll never forget sitting in our driveway one day after work. Through tears of sorrow and regret, a subtle but seismic shift took place in my understanding of how I should raise my son.

My job isn’t to demand obedience, but to do the best I can to inspire it.  

So had we finally become perfect parents?


I wish I could say yes, but there was still a lot of room for improvement.

One area that really needed attention was consistency.

We had days where it seemed like all we did was yell - constantly.

On those days our child-training could be summed up in 3 simple, yet strident, words: "DON'T DO THAT!"

At the end of those days we'd fall into bed and feel like we were literally the worst parents in the world. Our minds became an echo chamber of all the empty threats we'd issued throughout the day.

"I'm going to count to 3!"

"This is your last chance!"

And my personal favorite – "How many times do I have to tell you?!"

When my little daughter of 6 told me without a moment's hesitation, "About 5 times," I just shook my head and chuckled.

They were on to us.

It was clear we needed more consistency in how we were raising our children, and to help us get it we needed a tool. 



We needed a tool that would help us be more consistent as parents AND inspire our children to build good habits. So we made one.


We looked and looked for something that could help us be more consistent parents, but we couldn't find anything that really fit the bill.

So we sat down and designed something ourselves.

Initially it was just a series of paper charts and some cute laminated badges with a safety pin hot-glued on the back.

But you know what? As soon as we hung up those charts something wonderful happened –

Our children began begging us to find extra work they could do around the house in order to earn checks on their chart! 

We thought we'd entered some strange alternate reality! Our children! Were begging us! To give them more chores!

We knew we were on to something; and if it could help us be better parents why couldn't it help others?

And so, Character Badges was born.




Character Badges is committed to helping parents be more consistent, creative, and deliberate as they train up their children in the way they should go. 


While many things have changed about Character Badges from the time we hung those first paper charts 7 years ago, this commitment has always remained the same.

We use Character Badges in our household almost every single day, and trust us, we've poured over every single itty-bitty detail.

Why? Because we love our children and if we're going to use a tool to help us raise our children we want it to be the best it can possibly be.

I bet you're no different.

Raising children is like planting a garden and there are two ways you can do that.

You could use your bare hands or... could use some tools; and that's all Character Badges is.

It's a collection of tools to help you do the three most important things you should be doing as a parent – instructing, rewarding, and correcting your child.




Are you ready for child training that's more fun, flexible, and effective than you ever thought possible?


Look – we can't fix our shortcomings as parents or make our children's character flaws magically disappear just by buying something.

It doesn't work like that.

Parenting is hard work. Like, super-hard work. But you probably already knew that; otherwise you wouldn't be here.

The good news? All your children really need is you.

That's right, no purchase necessary. 

They want to spend time with you; to know that you're pleased with them; to know that you love them.

No one is better equipped to instruct, reward, and correct your child than you are; and Character Badges wasn't designed to do these things for you.

It was designed to help you do them better and more consistently than you've ever done them before.

If you're ready to get serious about becoming the parent that your child needs you to become;

If you're looking for something to help you inspire your child to be more kind, helpful, diligent, respectful, (even tidy!); 

If you'd like to take the drudgery out of character-training and turn it into something that neither you nor your child will soon forget...

Then you're ready for Character Badges.

How about a parenting pick-me-up?


Start by reading a few encouraging posts on the adventures, joys and challenges of raising children.

Are you ready for Character Badges?


Here are a few of our most popular items.

Character Badges Base Set

Fun, flexible, effective child training.

Character Badges Additional Child Set

Extra children. Extra fun.

Character Flash Cards

A handy tool to introduce, and inspire, good character in your child.

A little about us...

Sean and Caroline are proud parents of 7 rambunctious children.

Huge Apple geeks (everything they make is just, well, so PRETTY!)

Sean is a graphic artist who works almost exclusively on his Mac (what else?) but would much rather be using a pencil and a piece of paper.

Caroline is a popular blogger over at

Both have the same favorite movie – Sense and Sensibility. Which one? The 1995 version, of course!