|We (my husband and I) are at our wits end when it comes to our kids. The 3 different personalities do have 2 things in common: Attitude Problems and Lack of Self-Control. Now, mind you- we know where they got these problems from but having an attitude problem and lacking in self-control yourself is completely different than putting up with someone else’s issues! lol So besides working on our own issues and resisting the urge to eat our young, we are trying some new techniques. Keep in mind that the ideas I have here are for 8, 10, and 12 year olds. Younger children should be handled differently.
I have owned Lisa Whelchel’s, Creative Correction, book for some time now and love how she comes up with punishments that actually fit the crime. I recently found Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries with Kids at a garage sale. I had read their regular Boundaries but didn’t even know they had a parenting book until I saw it in a box, on the ground, at a garage sale!! I loved the original book and so I knew I would find something useful in this one as well. Both of these books are fairly easy to find the section that deals with specific problems so go to your library and borrow these!
Anyway, the main thing that I learned from Cloud and Townsend was that there are 3 basic steps to getting your kid to understand that the parents are in charge and that things are changing. You should put these things in writing so that they can be referred to by both parties and so that your kid can’t say, “you never said that!”. They are:
Lack of Self Control (i.e. Tantrums, no matter what the age)
- throwing things
- bad language
- slamming doors
State the Expectation in measurable terms. Example:
- Anger is okay and disagreeing is okay
- They are NOT okay expressed in the above problem areas
- Discussing a problem or disagreement must be done in a polite, calm, and respectful manner.
- If you feel your anger rising, tell mom/dad that you need to go for a walk or to your room to cool off and then do it. Return when you can be polite, calm, and respectful
State the Consequences in specific terms. This is where I used the creative discipline form Lisa Whelchel. Example:
- Slamming Doors = Practice doing it properly 10-100 times depending on the child
- Stomping = Go outside and stomp non-stop for 1 min. straight
- Dirty Mouth/Trash Talk = Do a dirty job (i.e. clean toilet, clean up after the dog, scrub out the garbage can, etc)
- Talking Back = Literally Hold your Tongue for time specified by mom
- Petty arguing = Place your nose on your knees for time specified
- Disrespectful Communication = go to room, write out what you’re mad about, read it to yourself, and if you believe it is still worthy of discussion, give paper to parent.
- Lying = Vinegar spanking (parent dips finger in vinegar and wipes it on child’s tongue)
- Physical Fighting = run laps
- Full out Tantrum = Banishment (to their room immediately) and when calm they work with a parent, side by side, for allotted time.
- Disrespectful look = Blindfolded 30 min.
Once you have written out your version of the above, it’s time to discuss it with the child. Wait for a calm and peaceful “reprive” and sit down with them. When they are calm, they will most likely agree that they are having some difficulty. Allow them to discuss and negotiate but don’t allow them to badger you into allowing bad behavior. And if they get nasty during the discussion, banish them to their room and when they are calm start over again at the beginning.
It is also recommended that you post this written discussion somewhere where you and your child can refer to it. I put ours inside a file folder and clipped to the fridge. The file folder keeps it private (as you don’t want to embarass the child, you want them to learn from their errors) but having the file folder visible will be a good reminder to them.
Another thing to make note of that is extremely important. Do NOT use this technique as a way to become Hitler and your children to become Nazi regime refugees. When the child bawks at a consequence, feel their pain but enforce the rules. Say things like, “I know it’s a pain but there are consequences in this world.” or “Once you get a handle on this problem, it won’t be as big of a deal. Let’s learn from this consequence.” You don’t have to be Hitler and you don’t have to be Ody from Garfield either. Somewhere in between!
Remember: God gave you these kids because He believed in you. Believed that you were capable of turning them into the people He needs on this earth. He also believes that you are capable of follow-through. I often tell my boys that God gave them to me to teach them how to grow up to be gentleman and that is what I intend to do. God could have given your kids to anybody, but He chose you!! YOU ARE LOVABLE AND CAPABLE!!
God is good- all the time. . . .