Thursday, January 27, 2011

Disclipline? Behavior Charts? Stickers? Begging and pleading?

Ugh. That's all I can say about yesterday. It was one of those days when you keep taking deep breaths, and checking the clock, hoping that it's time to get the girls ready for bed.

Ava's been Ava. A bit more clingy than usual, but good as always. She spent 3 days in the hospital thanks to RSV last week.

She's still getting over some chest congestion, so if she wants to snuggle on Mommy and smear snot on my shirt and rub drool in my hair, more power to her.

But today was one of those days that I could have pulled my hair out, while trying not to strangle my older two. Now, I admit, I'm a bit sick, so my temper is a bit on edge, but still, it gets old feeling like you're talking in some strange language that your children don't understand.

It's simple things. Like telling Jasmin not to get her school paperwork out of her backpack while we're in the car, and then she has them out and she's waving them in my face. Like telling the girls to fold their laundry, and they'd rather spend the time arguing about who isn't doing their fair share and throwing the clothes at each other. Like Jasmin shredding the dryer sheet in little pieces and leaving it in the hallway for me to pick up. Like telling Arielle to put my socks on my dresser instead of the bed since I needed to change my sheets. And those socks ended up on my bed, and when I asked her what did I tell her? She replies "you said to put them on your dresser" which shows she did hear me. So when I asked her why that wasn't done, she replies "I don't know what a dresser is." And when I say "Arielle, what is that big black thing right there?" she replies "That's your dresser" and looks at me like I'm an idiot for not knowing what a dresser is. Simple lies, but still, it's a lie. Arielle seems to think that she needs to voice her opinion on everything, and when we try to explain that it's back talk, she doesn't get it. And it's not things like "Whatever, mom" or an eye-roll. But things like when I tell her that it's time to come inside, and I get the "I'm not ready yet. So why?" Sounds silly when I write it, but it's all the time, and I don't feel like I should have to be grilled about who, what, when, where and why whenever I tell her to do something.

Whether or not you agree with it, we do spank in this family, but it's reserved mainly for safety issues. Like when Arielle decided to pull her hand from mine in the grocery store parking lot and run out in front of a slow driving (thank God) car to pick up a penny. Or when I put a hot dish on the table and tell the girls not to touch it because it's hot, and Jasmin decides she wants to reach out and try and touch it.

Don't get me wrong, I have GREAT kids. In restaurants, people always stop by the table to tell us how well behaved our girls are. Our kids aren't the ones running around, screaming, knocking into the waitresses and spilling food everywhere. They know how to behave in public, and what's expected of them. No temper tantrums in public or at home, nothing like that. So I'm lucky for that.

But it's the little things, that by themselves, aren't bad. They really aren't. But when it happens all day, it's completely exhausting. The little lies, the back talk, the laziness. The walking by a hair tie or toy that you left in the hallway, looking at it, and keep walking back into your room. I feel like my motto lately is "I am not your maid."

I'm tired of yelling, and I'm pretty sure they tune me out anyway. I saw a cute bulletin board on another blog where the lady gave each kid a mark when they were being good, and ten marks equal one "stay up late" night. But that wouldn't work in our household. My oldest is a BOOGER when she's tired. So that would be punishment for us.

I'm not into bribes. I knew a mom who would offer to take her kids to McDonalds if they would just stop hitting her. And I'm so thankful that my girls don't act like the brats girls on Toddlers & Tiaras. I won't even let them watch that show, because I don't want them to even think for a minute that acting like that is appropriate. Plus, all the make up and bare midrift outfits skeeve me out. Did anyone else see the two year old who stripped down from an angel outfit, to an outfit with Madonna boob cones? She won the talent portion of the pageant. Are we encouraging that?

So what works in your house?  Behavior charts? M&M's? Hang them up by their toes?


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SkinnyMeg said... [Reply to comment]

Wish I could help, but I'm stil a newbie at this! M has been working on terrible 2's for a while now, so everyday is exhausting. I can't imagine how hard it is with 3!! Your girls are awesome though, hopefully the rest works it way know around the time they turn 18 :)

Janice said... [Reply to comment]

I have just recently found your blog and I love it. I wish I had advice for you that ALWAYS works, but I'm sure you know that MANY days my house sounds exactly like yours did yesterday. More days than I'd like to admit!

My son is 4 and the thing that always works with him, (even though I often forget that it works and resort back to the yelling and threatening that only makes MY day horrible and doesn't seem to really affect him...) is sticker charts. I try to make the reward when the chart gets full reasonable, small (it's amazing how even a little reward will motivate children) and somehow related to the problem we are trying to solve. Like a week or two ago my son decided that it was too much work to get to the potty! At 4 he suddenly started having AT LEAST one accident a day, sometimes when he was only 15' from a bathroom! So we made a sticker chart for keeping his underwear dry and until he filled out his chart, he would have to wear a pullup when we left the house. (Ever seen a big puddle of pee at your local library? SO EMBARRASSING!) Now he's not terribly opposed to pullups and I try not to make him be, but I talked it up as such a BIG BOY Thing to wear his underwear. And it worked! After DAYS of continual accidents it only took a day or two before he had worked that reward into his daily thinking and at bedtime would say, "Mommy! I stayed dry all day and I get a sticker!" Then there would be lots of cheering.

That being said I can't imagine having 2 his age, and I completely relate to how you are feeling! Id' say pick a battle or two, come up with clear rewards/punishments for those things, then stick to it as calmly as possibly! :) Like, "until the laundry is put away the right way, you can't do ______" (whatever fun thing is next). Or, "If you can't do the laundry together, I will give you separate piles and you'll have to do it away from each other." (STill don't understand why separating fighting children makes them want to play so much together, but it seems to work...)

SO there's a long-winded response! I hope you find something that works. At least now. I'm sure we'll all have to switch strategies as soon as we get one down since our kids will have outgrown it! :)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Hi jennifer, I just received your nice comment on my blog :) I am sorry your little one is sick, I hope she feels better soon! To answer your question, the way you can subscribe is by going to the very bottom of my homepage and clicking where it says "count me in" hope this helps! have a fabulous day ~Christina

LP aka A Crafty Southern Chick said... [Reply to comment]

So I don't have kids yet (due in April)...but I have nannied and also taught K3 for a year--including a full summer camp session--and I had a dozen 3 year olds all to my sweet self. The back talk thing? Hardest thing I ever tried to teach my kiddos. Like you said, it really is NOT a reply; it's talking back and it can become quite disrespectful, especially when it becomes a 10 minute exchange...and they still don't listen. *sigh* Moral: I have no advice but I do sympathize!!! :)

Carrie Thompson said... [Reply to comment]

Have you ever seen the sign at the zoo that says do not feed the animals.


Do not engage. Simply ask what you want to be done and walk away. If it is not done, there is a consequence. after a little while of BEING very, very consistent with this I promise it will get better.

Now the hard part of what I have to tell you. they will start doign something else...

BUT remember everything is a season- your kids will go through different seasons and not all at the same time- perhaps one will really hit a rebellious stage and then soon get out of it, while the other one will hit a clingy, whiny season. SO IT IS A SEASON, just deal with the disobedience at hand--- consistently



Erin W said... [Reply to comment]

Read the book "Don't Make Me Count to Three", by Ginger Plowman. Best book you will ever read. Short read too. It's biblical discipline, with spankings {when appropriate}. GREAT book! I read it before my little one was born and still read it for refreshers. Of course, you will still parent the way that is best for your children, it's just a great guide! LOVE IT! Amazon that baby! :)

Catherine @ Cat on a Limb said... [Reply to comment]

Oh how I can completely and wholly sympathize with you, although I do envy you that your kids know how to behave in public... mine do not (my daughter is two so I give her some slack, but at nearly five my son should know better).

The thing that gets me the most is my son has so much energy he's literally bouncing off the walls all day and when I try to talk to him he ignores me and I have to yell (a lot) to finally get his attention. Plus he's really violent and breaks nearly everything he touches.

There is a method I aspire to, but have not yet completely implemented. It's "Positive Discipline" by Jane Nelson. It's based on the idea that kids do better when they feel better, not when they're made to feel bad.

Another thing that is frustrating is that EVERY SINGLE child is different! It's so hard because no one thing works for everyone! I think it's important to spend some quiet time by yourself just thinking things over and thinking about what would best work for each of your children individually. And trust your intuition. You're the one that knows your children best!

I send you much support, understanding and hope all the best for you and your family.

Catherine @ Cat on a Limb said... [Reply to comment]

I forgot to mention, the same author, Jane Nelson, has a book called "Positive Discipline: A-Z" which gives specific responses to specific behaviors and situations. It's rather helpful for me!

Kristin said... [Reply to comment]

I read through a few of your posts (hopped over from WhipperBerry) and I really enjoyed reading them; you write very well and I love the humour so I had to click follow!

Creative Escapes said... [Reply to comment]

I found you over at Homemaker on a Dime. Glad I did. I am your newest follower. I created a "reward System" check it out here:
I found that works really good with my kids. I have a 4.5, 3 and 17 month old. I am trying to reward good behavior vs. yelling all the time, cause I was doing a LOT of yelling. Now - taking a "coin" away that they earned is far worse punishment for them than sitting in time out. I am going to keep using it as long as it works!

Michelle said... [Reply to comment]

This is such a hard area! I've been taking toys away when my four-yr-old has been naughty and she gets the toys back when she can listen and obey. It's been working pretty well. She gets a warning and if she keeps it up, the toy gets taken away. When she can show me that she can listen again, she'll get the toy back.

Isn't raising children SO much fun sometimes . . .

xo xo xo said... [Reply to comment]

I'm a TEACHER and a mom of TWO great TEENAGERS.

I have 3 simple things to say.

1. Give your kids choices, not bribes. It gives them some control and helps them think things through.

2. Understand that while your kids are smartie pants, there are many things they will not understand like you an I. That takes time and development, etc.......oh, and if they do something wrong, they WILL likely fib as they don't want to look bad in your eyes..!

3. Read "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster W. Cline, M.D., and Jim Fay. Best book ever, both for kiddos as it helps you discipline them in a way that increases their life skills....But also is great for parents~ will make your life soooooo much easier!