3 Ways To Be Consistent With Rules
Three simple steps that can stop the whining, the arguing, and the acting out behavior for good.
When my children were in grade school, I was obsessed with reading books on behavior issues and trying strategies to help prevent them. Each one would rev me up for the challenge of dealing with two active boys who were surprisingly skilled at getting their way and wearing me down within days however the novelty of each approach would fade and I'd revert to haphazard discipline and lots of yelling.
Time-outs, wall charts, logical consequences, and positive reinforcement, they all sound like reasonable ways to get kids to cooperate...and they are. So why is it so difficult for parents to make them work?
As I eventually discovered, making discipline stick mean sticking to your discipline if your kids are used to getting their way by badgering you, they've develop a bad habit." Think of a time you tried to lose weight or stop smoking," says Sal Severe PhD, author of: 'How To Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too'
"It takes time to make a change. You've got to give it at least a month." Don't worry about which system to use, Dr. Severe advises. Just look for approaches that match your values.
You'll be more likely to follow through, and therefore, to see results. If you're stumped, think about what already works, and apply it more often. Your way might be to say, when you do X (stop shouting; wash up),then you get Y(my attention; your bedtime)."
Drop in effective strategies, such as making idle threats, and then follow these three simple steps to get the cooperation you deserve.
1. Set your priorities.
Don't try to change everything at once. Separate your child's Behavior into those you like, those you dislike, and those you find hurtful or destructive. If there is no safety concerns, focus first on a behavior that seems easy to change. Once it's under control tackle a more challenging one.
A mother Shelly applied this thinking to her two and five year old boys."I made a mental note of the issues that simply annoy me, like messes, and the ones that pose a threat to someone safety such as throwing things," she says. "Then I pick my battles and I've certainly seen things better."
2. Play detective
For each target behavior, ask yourself what your child is really after. It's rare for a kid to misbehave without seeking some kind of payoff. Figuring out your child's goal is key to planning an effective strategy.
Kids keep four main types of misbehavior in their bag of tricks. Whining sulking and Tantrums make up the first type which Dr. Severe calls annoying misbehavior. It's purpose is to gain the goody or the privilege, and your best response, of course, is to ignore. Doing so teacher teaches not only that your limits have meaning but that these tactics don't deliver.
When my son whines because they want to stay up to finish a video, they are after those extra minutes of viewing time, and whether I get irritated is besides the point to them.
Not so with the second type, which Dr. Severe calls defiant misbehavior. A child who yells, "You can't make me!" when you insist on a bath is purposely picking a fight. Avoiding tough time is less of a golden getting you angry. "Your child is not only being disobedient but kind of rubbing your nose in it." Dr. Severe says. She wants to get something started, and she's rewarded by when you lose your cool. So keep calm but follow through.
A less intense pain more common tactic is it is the third type, disobedient misbehavior which includes tuning you out. The best recourse is to give your child an incentive to listen that's either positive, such as praise or stickers, or negative, letting her know that you will give her a consequence.
Kids who display aggressive misbehavior( kicking name-calling and so on) may feel you betrayed or hurt them. "If you know your child is acting up because he's angry with you, then you're in a better position to talk about what else he can do to express his feelings," Dr. Severe says.
3. Plan your response
How will you react the next time your child torments a sibling? Impose a timeout? Take away a privilege? Thinking ahead about how you handle a situation gives you a plan to fall back on so you don't react thoughtlessly or cave-in. Decide what you will work best giving your child's motivation and age. Having a plan also lends you confidence
When my son was 10, his carelessness became a hot-button issue. He'd lost countless items despite my pleas to stop being so forgetful. After he lost two sweatshirts in as many months, I told him that from then on, I would replace an item only once.
He'd have to pay for any further replacements. The following month, after another loss, I calmly reminded him of the consequence. Four weeks of saving allowance for a new sweatshirt did wonders for his memory.
Once you've made a plan, let your child on it. This can be as simple as announcing the new rule: "Lily, from now on when the timer goes off your TV time is over if you turn off the TV right away you can have the same amount of time tomorrow."
If your strategy involves giving your child one warning before you enforce a consequence, be sure to announce it: "Lily this is your warning."
Resolve to stay strong.
Now comes the hard part, sticking with your plan. Here’s how to keep from saying, “Okay, just this once,” in the face of mind numbing whining and other unpleasantness.
Be more grown-up than your child.
Your son wants the candy bar, right now! You want him to accept your new limits pronto! Prepare for a bumpy ride when you start ignoring your child's demands, he's likely to turn up the volume, even to the point of hysterics. “You’ve got to expect that your child's behavior will worsen temporarily when you hold the line,” Whitman cautions. “He’ trying to get the reaction he's missing. I tell parents that this is a sign that their plan is working.” Whitman adds that kids will give up when they see at the changer he parents response. So be patient and you'll get results.
Chart your progress.
To build your morale, Dr. Severe recommends you keep a log that captures even slight Improvements in Behavior. Post a sheet of paper on the refrigerator, and tally your preschools sofa jumping episodes, for instance. They might drop from ten to seven times during the week, a small but real victory that will likely that you're likely to miss if you rely on your perception.
Cut the cut the theatrics.
Getting furious may feel satisfying at the moment, but it won't make your kids listen any better. In fact it can derail your strategy and make you more likely to punish in effectively.
A clever child may also try to distract you by provoking your ire. You start responding to your child's cries that you don't love him, rather than following through on the issue at hand.
Finally, anger creates tension at home which can produce more misbehavior. So take a break before you scold. “I'm not afraid to walk away if I think I'm getting going to overreact,” Shelly says. “I say to my son's, I’ll come back in a few minutes when I feel better and we can talk about this.”
Don't forget the good part.
According to Dr. Severe, 90% of your efforts should be spent praising positive behavior. Severe’s four year old daughter was consistently interrupting him on the phone, so he waited for the one time she didn't and then praised her right away. The next time phone rang she waited patiently until he hung up, then asked, “Are you proud of me? I didn't bother you.” He reinforced his approval and soon the problem vanished.
Visualize family Harmony.
Imagine your life without whining and fighting. Imagine devoting your energy to having fun with your children instead. Write yourself a note or post a cheerful family photo to keep the goal in mind. It will help you withstand the anger, that arguments, and the pleading that Ambush many parents.
By resisting those demands, your building values, new Habits and teaching your children that you mean what you say. It’s an investment in your families peace plan, and payoff is immense.
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