Art (4) baby (5) blogs (3) cleaning (4) Dear Mom (5) educational (13) entertainment (11) Free Stuff (3) fun (8) Grrumbles (4) humor (14) issues (10) lunch (3) Medical (9) My Family (13) pregnancy (1) Preschoolers (5) Products (3) reading (1) safety (4) solutions (19) Teens (1) Toddlers (5) Tweens (3)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Discipline, Part 3

I've already discussed time outs and redirection as useful methods of discipline. However, when time out and redirection fail, parents often wonder what to do next. Personally, I think the next step in effective discipline has to be the removal of privileges. The privileges that are lost should be determined by the age of the child, as well as the seriousness of the offense. These consequences should also be made known to the child well before the privilege is revoked. Again, communication is key. Let your child know what will happen if certain behaviors occur or continue.

In our house, the biggest issue we have is toys. My children have way too many toys and far too little patience for returning said toys to even the remote closeness of where those toys belong. The progress in training them to put their things away has been incredibly and frustratingly slow. The solution has two separate phases. First, I'm slowly reducing the amount of toys they have by weeding out those things that have been outgrown or broken. Second, I watch to see what they play with most and if something isn't played with it magically disappears. The girls know they are suppose to clean their toys out of the living space at the end of each day. If they don't, their toys may disappear. Their father comes in at night and gets a trash bag ready to deposit any of those wayward toys so they are no longer in our way. It's amazing how quickly this motivates my girls to get their toys picked up. Of course, we would never actually discard their favorite toys without a great deal of warning and discussion. It has been known to happen in my house, though, when I was ultimately fed up.

An example of my ultimate limit: When Gibson was 6 he had a box of Legos. These were not the big, chunky Legos. They were little and hurt when I stepped on them. After months - yes MONTHS - of telling him to pick up those irritating little pieces, I was fed up. Mind you, I had utilized brief periods of removing them from play by placing the box out of reach and discussing the reason why he wasn't allowed to play with them. So there came a day when I threw the entire box of Legos out.

My husband (then boyfriend) said to me, "What is this? We just throw away the toys we don't like even if the kids still play with the."

Suffice it to say that he now understands exactly WHY that box of Legos found its way into the trash can.

As children get older, their privileges change and the use of this method evolves. Millions of kids dread the words "You're grounded!"

The key to using this technique in an effective manner is to choose your battles and make sure the punishment fits the crime.

Communicate your expectations and your child's consequences in advance so that there are no surprises.

Be realistic in your expectations.

Be kind, even when exacting punishment.

Be consistent.

And finally, discuss the offense and the reason for the punishment completely and thoroughly with your child. See if you can both come up with a way to avoid future infractions and help your child make better choices. Remember that your child is still learning how to behave properly and still needs a great deal of direction from you. Misbehavior is always a new opportunity to help your child grow.