Saturday, November 07, 2009

Battling it out

We are coming out of a really good run of behavior from Max's part. The big issue right now is listening or rather not listening. Based on a comment from Max's teachers in our parent/teacher conference last month and the fact that I'm having to repeatedly ask Max to do some basic things like brush his teeth, get dressed...or to not do things, like help himself to a muffin the other night for dinner, or decide to make himself a smoothy, or to not turn on the misters this morning in low 50 degree weather, or whatever....and based on an incident that happened one morning this week while I was in a work meeting and come out to find Noemi with the twins in their room with the door closed and Max completely unsupervised in the living room because Max told her he didn't want to play or be around his brother and sister so she should either take them outside or in their room (and yes, I DID talk to both of them about this and how unacceptable it is on many levels), I've realized that I need to nip this in the butt. Max and I talked about it last night and he said the consequence should be a time out. He had two today. Both were battles. He could have easily had at least two more. I really hate to be at such odds, but I also think he needs to learn that he can not always have his own way and he does need to listen even if he doesn't agree. It's not all him, I've realized I am not as consistent in this area as I should be. He can just wear me down sometimes or I get side tracked and forget. The whole day wasn't a battle. We finally carved his pumpkin (interestingly enough or not he wanted the pumpkin to have an angry face and was happy with the end result), roasted the seeds, and made a pumpkin pie...then we had a birthday party, but there were far too many times where I was having to really get on him. I'm sure it has been or at least seems a bit worse right now because we are both tired due to our trip last weekend, the time change/reduced sleep, and a busy week. Or, at least those things haven't help. However, trying to crack down on it all just left me feeling like there has to be a better way. I'm not thrilled with time outs. I guess I need to go find and crack out that book from that parenting class I took last year at the preschool as it all seems very hazy. From what I do remember, when you are feeling angry the misbehavior is about control and that sure is ringing true right now. And, it seems like the more I'm cracking down, the worse it is...but that could be the tired talking. I'm all about independence and think it is important for kids to have some control and lots of choices, but I do not want a kid who fights tooth and nail for his own way all the time and doesn't think he needs to listen. As I told Noemi, he is 4, he is not in charge and should not be ruling the roost. I know this is just a phase and the battles now are needed to draw the line in the sand and help him understand what is acceptable and what isn't, but my word it is painful having to live it.

Lessons learned or any BTDT or good strategies to attempt?

1 comment:

Cindy said...

The advice that has helped me the most has come from watching Supernanny, reading her book and reading Parenting With Love and Logic for Toddlers. I read through that entire book. It may sound funny but I have watched more Supernanny episodes than I can count. I record them and watch them at my convenience. That woman is awesome and her advice really works.

On time outs she has the parent put them in the time out spot, explain why they are there and how long they have to sit there (2 minutes for Noah, 4 minutes for Max) and after they get up, only explain again only the very first time. After that, the parent just takes them back to the time out spot without words or any emotion and take them back over and over and over again until they sit for the entire 2 minutes (4 in Max's case). On the show, sometimes that can take hours before they get that they have to stay there and you are not going to give in. So, it is usually recommeneded to start the process on a day where you are not going anywhere and have the time. If you give it won't work. Ever.

I have done time outs with Noah for a while and even now he will sometimes resist me on it, but as long as I am consistent, follow through and proceed matter-of-factly, eventually he gives in b/c he really just wants to get it over with and move on. At the end of the time out, Supernanny recommends, asking them to explain why they were in time out, asking them to say they are sorry, giving them a hug and an "I love you" and then go about things as usual.

Also, lately on the Fertility Friend boards, parents have been talking about a book called "Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child". I haven't read it but it may be worth looking through.

Using both the Supernanny and Parenting with Love and Logic Techniques gives kids the ability to make choices and greatly decrease parental frustration. Kids can learn that they can choose to listen and avoid time out or any of the consequences that they know are coming or they can make good choices and experience the good consequences that you will provide for them for that good behavior. This will help them later in life, i.e. at school, work, in society, etc. So, providing them this kind of discipline and structure is not taking their choices away. It's actually opening them up to more freedoms in life because of their good choices.

Sorry for writing a novel here but I just wanted to share what's worked for me, parents that I work with on a daily basis and what I have read about on some of the parenting boards. Not everyone needs such techniques because some children are born extremely easy, listen the first time and never try to buck the system. I see a couple little angels like this maybe a few times a month. They are rare. Wish I had one, lol. ;) Good luck.