Today I'm going to share my disciplining secrets. Secrets that will alter your life. Secrets that will solve all of your child's behavior issues. If you're thinking, "This is a big load of poo-poo," then you're right. There is never one answer. However, I promised a few readers that I would share what we do to get our kids' behavior back on track. I want to be careful to say that Steven and I are NOT parenting experts. We make mistakes d-a-i-l-y. Just ask our kids. Even at four and two, they will give you a lengthy run-down.
My secrets in correcting behavior are not necessarily secrets. Just little things I've learned over the years. I hope these help you out, and if anything, encourage you to stick with what you know is right. Even when it's hard. Even when you want to quit because, temporarily, it would be easier. Even when it seems your child has suddenly become possessed from the consequences you just handed out. What's that you say? My children are the only ones who have those tendancies? Maybe these tips don't work then...
Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say
When disciplining, be really careful to only dish out consequences you will keep. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment. I've caught myself before saying, "If you don't put your toys away, then I'm going to throw them away" Yeah, moronic statement! I would never throw away toys. So that wasn't effective whatsoever.
Now, I ask the kids one time to clean up their toys. If they don't obey the first time, I tell them I'm going to start cleaning up. That gets them moving because they know if I clean up their mess, then they won't be playing with the toys I clean up for a long while. They get put up in the top of my closet. It took one time for the kids to learn that lesson. Now they know I mean business at clean up time. More importantly, we don't have power struggles when it's time to put toys away.
Lesson #2: Poor Behavior Does Not Go Unnoticed
I'm not talking about getting onto your child for every. single. mistake. they make. Kids (and adults) make mistakes. It's natural. However, the people directly related in raising your child should have set guidelines on what is acceptable behavior for your child and what is not.
For example, one thing we had to battle was how our children behave in public. At home, our kids are loud, and they run, and they jump, and they play. They do this because it's their home and they're comfortable here. We want them to be that way. However, when we're in public we want them to be respectful of others who are around them. Maybe the couple sitting next to us at a restaurant doesn't want to hear my child singing Jingle Bells in March, or maybe they don't want a child peeking over the booth to stare at their food.
In cases like these, we share with our kids what's appropriate 'public' behavior and what's not. If they choose to display unacceptable behavior we dish out the consequences, then follow Lesson #1. This can be hard because you don't necessarily want the 'stares' of other patrons, but remember the goal...acceptable behavior. Sometimes your kids will cry in public when they make poor choices. Don't worry about the stares you'll receive when you escort your child to a more private location (like the super sanitary restroom ;).
Share Your Expectations Before You Arrive At a Location
This one I learned teaching. Before my class left for assemblies or field trips, I was very specific on what I expected of them and what would happen if they didn't meet my expectations. That way there were no surprises when they made an error in judgement. There was no room for argument. They knew ahead of time what I expected and what would happen. The End.
Letting your kids know what you expect, can be super rewarding. When my class would leave field trip locations, people would compliment how well they had done. It feels good when you're recognized. I always shared those positive comments with my class.
The same thing goes for my kids. Before we leave the house, I let them know what I expect and I remind them ONE time before we get out of the car. I do this for play dates, running errands, church, where ever. This doesn't mean my kids don't slip up. They do (and often). And when they do, I refer to Lesson #1. Give out a consequence and stick with it.
There you have it. My secrets! Just remember, correcting behavior is not a sprint. It's an ultra marathon. You know, one of those races that last FOR-EV-ER. Thankfully, overtime the correction should become less and less as your child rises to your expectations. And, if you are setting your expectations high then you can expect great things from your child. Hope this helps you out.
If you happen to see me in public and my children are not behaving, feel free to remind me of my own lessons. I sometimes forget.
If you are looking for more specific consequences we gave Little Man to get him back on track, feel free to email me at WispClips(at)Hotmail(dot)Com, and I'll share some effective things we did to get him back on track. For privacy reasons, I didn't want to air his dirty laundry on the blog. After all, he's my precious little boy.