Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unacceptable Behavior

I am not the disciplinarian on our house. I am actually pretty bad at discipline. My response to a tantrum-throwing child is to ignore them as opposed to yelling or spanking. This is not to say that I will not yell or pick up one of my daughters and put them down with emphasis.

I do not think that my children are scared of me. I also don't think that with my girls the threat of a spanking or continuous yelling (or follow through on those) will do anything other than escalate the noise level.

I don't take tantrums or screaming from my children personally. I know they love me. I know they are having "a moment."

I usually try to pick the screamer up (unless they have done something to deserve being yelled at, causing the crying). Sometimes this results in me eventually putting them down with emphasis.

Recently my strategy has been a threat of taking something away. And then follow through. Last week LP lost the opportunity to watch Tinkerbell before bed, a new book, chapstick, and lip gloss - all in one night.

Amazingly, since then she has been much better before bed. She still might not go to sleep at bedtime, but at least she doesn't scream and cry. Instead she creeps me out, by quietly walking to the top of the stairs and waiting for me to walk by and calling out in a hushed whisper, "Mom." Better for my sanity, although she has scared the bejesus out of me twice now.

Anyone have successful strategies to share?

1 comment:

Billie said...

I use reward and punishment for bedtime behaviour. It has worked extremely effectively.

We used to have temper tantrums every.single.night. It was horrible. After being consistent about no bedtime movie (or episodes depending on the DVD) if there was bad behaviour , we haven't had bad behaviour in 6 months? It is hard to say how long but it has been a long time.

The children know that when Mommy speaks, Mommy does. If I say that this type of behaviour will result in this type of action, they know that follow through will happen and they will be deprived. I do continually remind them of the rules so they don't forget and accidentally lose their privileges.

I can even head off a fair percentage of whining about a decision by simply asking if they have ever known me to change my mind. Their response, "not often". I really believe that consistency has been a real bonus in my relationship with the kids. They know exactly what to expect from me when it comes to bad behaviour. Ok... maybe not always... sometimes they anger me so much that I surprise them with less than measured reactions.