Discipline in Our Home

*Please note that these suggestions are what work for US and that what may work for one person may not for another. We don’t criticize what others decide to do and appreciate the same respect.*

Discipline in our home,until a few months ago, has been a hard thing and not very consistent.

We tried a couple of different things that flat out didn’t work, didn’t have a lasting effect on the child and/or left us feeling uneasy.

For most of this post I am referring to Gwyneth, our four-and-a-half-year-old, since we discipline Cal, our two-and-a-half-year-old differently due to the age difference. We also believe what may work for one child may not for the next and to try and find what is effective for each individual.

When Gwyn was younger, time-outs were what worked effectively. But as she got older, they became more of a temporary inconvenience for Gwyn. It was more like a new place to draw designs in the carpet. Or, you know, say a little prayer? Perhaps about how to improve our actions the next time? 😉

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As she got older we also tried those “time-ins” where instead of isolating the child in time-out (as they call it) you bring the child closer to you and show them that you are there for them and that you will work the problem out together.

This frustrated the crap out of all of us.

We each wanted our space and as much as I tried to bring in a tantrum-throwing Gwyn for a time-in, it only ended with us red in the face and with smoke blowing out our noses.

We also tried spanking. While this was unpleasant for the time-being (for everyone), it wasn’t enough so that she would stop the behavior.  And for us as parents, we just didn’t feel like it was the answer.

So we then felt like were left with no other option but to take their covers off at night so their tootsies would be cold and serve them unflavored oatmeal in the mornings.

Effective, don’t you think?

I sure wouldn’t like it.

I hope you know I am kidding.

It was actually the cable man, believe it or not, who gave us the parenting advice that works incredibly well for our family.

And that is to take away something incredibly valuable to them. The cable guy went so far as to actually throw the items away, which seemed a little extreme, but sure did get the point across.

So on our first time trying this method, The Hubby took away Gwyn’s Elsa light up shoes and Oh… Em…. Gee. The world was ending. This was the worst possible thing that could have ever been done to her.

And you know what he did? He threw them away.

RIGHT?! I know, your jaws just hit the floor.

NOT the ELSA SHOES!

But yes. He threw them in a trashcan that had nothing in it (she didn’t know that) to show her how quickly she could lose them… For…e….ver.

The Hubby then went  over very calmly the events that had just happened and why she had lost what she did.

She repeated back to The Hubby what she had done wrong and that it wouldn’t happen again.

And you know what?

It didn’t.

Now, it may again in the future, but she put together than X behavior loses something she loves.

She didn’t know it, but after the talk The Hubby went back and retrieved those shoes in which she earned back a while later.

But the message still stuck.

So now, all we have to do is tell her that if a certain behavior doesn’t stop, she will lose something she loves and even the threat of it stops the action immediately.

For example.

Gwyn’s preschool teacher pulled me aside at school and informed me that Gwyn wasn’t sitting still and listening during story time. And yes, I was mortified. A mini-behavior teacher conference!? About MY Gwyn?!

GASP!

Anyway, I right then and there took her out of the classroom, knelt down right in front of her and explained that if she didn’t listen to her teacher the FIRST TIME from now on that she would lose her Elsa dress.

The very thing she wears every single day and cherishes deeply.

We have had positive reports ever since.

And the overall dynamic in our house has changed.

There are fewer punishments.

Fewer tears.

Fewer frustrated parents and children.

But when a punishment does take place it is a BIG DEAL.

Similarly, going to bed early also works for us.

Since she has no concept of time yet, telling her she will go to bed early will cause an immediate bad behavior halt. It can even only maybe be five minutes (since going to bed too early causes an early riser and that’s a backfire right there!) but the knowledge that she is in bed early is like life might as well be over.

Another thing we do in our house is The Ball Jar. My dear friend made the jar for me, and she calls it The Agency Jar, so choose a name that works best for you should you try this yourself.

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One jar starts out with all of the balls. Every time Gwyn does something positive, she can add a ball to the jar. This may be things like listening the first time she is asked to do something, doing chores around the house, helping her brother, showing kindness, etc.

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Her goal is to fill the jar. Once full, she receives a reward.

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Currently, she is earning an Elsa doll. And she has been trying to earn this Elsa doll for a couple months now. Before this, she was earning a trip to the carousel ride.

The Elsa doll sits in a spot where she can see it, but not touch it, reminding her of what she could have.

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If she does something pretty bad, like hit her brother, then a ball is taken out immediately. And SHE takes it out, seeing the consequences of her actions.

So, by sharing this I am just hoping that for those of you who feel like there is no answer, maybe what works for us will too work for you, too

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing! Thats a hard time in any house, so I love hearing a successful method to try. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, what kind of discipline is working for your 2 year old? “Working” may be a stretch ;), but I am just curious what you’ve found to be the best for you and him as I have a few 2 year olds in my life right now and will have one of my own soon.

    • Hello!
      Right now, time-outs are what work for us for our two-year-old. He’s not at the point where it forever stops the behavior, but for now, it seems to be effective. :)

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