Sometimes, read most times, our children need a little bit of incentive, a bit of leverage, to learn to make the right decisions. And if there is one thing that we work consistently on it’s trying to find something that works. And I think that part right there is the problem, we are constantly trying to find something ‘out there’ that is going to be the perfect thing that is going to change our world, make our kids pliable and ease our stress.
The thing is that NOTHING really works – I had a go at sticker charts yesterday READ HERE – and I don’t really have an alternative. Which I felt a bit mean about as I woke up this morning. I’m taking away everyone’s favourite toy, and I’m not replacing it with something else.
We all have our thing that we use, and even if it doesn’t really work we really try and use it again and again, in the hope that it will. But also, so that we are actually doing something. There are a lot of tools out there, and most of them work a little bit, and with some children, and so we are consistently trying our best to find the THING that works for us.
This is the only part of parenting that we actually do CONSISTENTLY – we try our best.
I no longer look to find the next parenting tool, the wonder chart of the moment, or the incentive and leverage. I find all of that too hard for me. Easier with one or two children, next to impossible to keep clear in my head with three or four children.
But I don’t let my kids run riot either, so I’ve got to be doing something.
- I use words and repeat myself constantly
- I encourage nice talking by stepping in if conversations start getting mean, and use words to explain that I don’t like a behaviour
- I use counting to get my kids attention and move it from what they are doing to focusing on me, although this is less and less as they get older
- I move into their space and do my thing around them to monitor behaviour
- I expect that basic jobs are done when they are requested, and try and make sure that everyone is having turns, or all doing some sort of job at the same time, so no one feels hard done by
- I monitor their energy levels and provide ‘time out’ for those that need it depending on the personality
- I say “No” to things for no good reason, devices and TV are not a given or expected thing in our house, so I rarely have arguments over this
- I take my younger children to a time out space if they can’t take themselves there alone. It’s usually the bedroom or outside.
I haven’t really thought too much about discipline or punishment for a while, I just remove the kids that need some time to refill their cup, provide opportunities for them to succeed, and make sure that I’m present a lot of the time. Empty threats, and charts and bribery, are less and less on my radar. Not because they were bad, but purely because I find doing things the way I’m doing them now, is easier for me, and calmer for the kids.
This may not sound easier for you – but that is the key – find something that is easy for you, and keep it simple. Think about your child, and think about your home, what will work for you?
Come and have a 20 minute chat with me if you are looking for some ideas, or need some inspiration with this – firstname.lastname@example.org