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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping Calm and Consistent

We try to be quite consistent with our parenting. The kids do a lot better when they know what we expect and know what consequences will be if they misbehave. I have found the big issues are sometimes easiest to deal with. There is need for a definite consequence, it usually needs to be handled right away, and it is usually not to hard too figure out what that consequence will be.

What was a struggle for me for quite awhile was the "little" things. Things like whining, scowling, not following or ignoring instructions, things that didn't make me drop everything I was doing to handle the problem but made me start repeating myself: "Don't whine.", "Did you hear me?", etc. I also noticed that these were the things that started getting me frustrated to where one time I would not give any consequences and then all of the sudden I was fed up and gave a big one. Not very consistent.

So, here is what I came up with for some of those "little" things. The Magnet.

I took a recipe card, wrote each kid's name on the card, and, drew a line across the middle. I then cut small pieces of magnet off of a craft strip of sticky magnets and stuck it on the back of each card so the card would stick to the fridge. Next, I let the kids choose a special shapes from their little foam sticker collection. (The number can depend on the maturity of your children.) I also stuck little pieces of sticky magnets on the back of the foam stickers. The sticker magnets would then be able to stick to the fridge over the card.

Here's how it works. When something goes on that is not a character trait I want my children to have, but really doesn't require a big consequence, I tell them that they have lost a magnet. They then go over to the fridge and move a magnet under the line. If they don't do this, or do it with a poor attitude, I inform them that they have just lost 2 magnets, which can turn in to 3, etc. When they run out of magnets, they have earned a consequence. Sometimes this is no desert, sometimes it's time in their room - it really depends on what their magnets were being dropped for. At the end of the day, all of their magnets are reset.

I feel that this allows me to be consistent to where the kids know what they are doing isn't appropriate, it gives them chances to revise their behavior, and it allows me to give a significant consequence for a "little" thing to help them learn while remaining consistent in how I react.

Here is one of my favorite verses for parenting. A lot of times it is quoted to the children, but I think that if it was studied by parents more (including myself), children wouldn't have such a hard time with the first part of it.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-5

I'd love to hear some of the things you do to keep your parenting sanity. :)



Leslie said...

On one of the blogs I read introduced me to the idea of a "consequence pyramid", and that's what I use now. The consequences on our chart are slightly different than those this fellow blogger uses (blue-1 hour nap, green-no electronics, yellow-no playing outside[this is a HUGE one for my outdoor loving kids], orange-1 hour early bedtime, red-immediate bedtime[they only come out for meals and potty breaks]). It has helped us tremendously with consistency, and it now puts the responsibility for the consequences directly on the kids. The didn't get some random consequence because I got upset, they got a consequence because of their own behavior or attitude.

Here's a link to the original blog post that inspired our routine.

Jenny said...

We wanted a system which incorporated chores and money management. For a while we used Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Jr. It worked great until our oldest son realized he didn't need to do buy things himself. There are grandparents and Santa after all. I about died when he said Santa could get it for him. So we stopped using it and now use a button system. Each boy has a plastic baggie to hold his buttons. Buttons are given for completing their morning routines, afternoon routines, daily jobs, random acts of kindness, doing jobs without being asked, etc... Buttons can also be taken away for not controlling their temper, being mean, not completing a job, not listening or following directions, etc... The buttons then translate into money purchasing things such as having a friend over (huge!), watching TV, playing the Wii, going on Webkinz, 30 min. of alone time with mom or dad, a trip to Mickey D's, choose a cookie for mamma to make, etc...

We've been using this since the summer. Consistency is the key. I fell behind and am just now switching things up. I'll keep you posted.

Love your system!! Might have to give that a try sometime.
Thanks Becca!!

Lady Kara said...

I have a "behavior card" system, with a slot of three different colored cards per child. One smiley face card (green), one not smiling(yellow), and one sad face(red). Any time there is an infraction a card is turned. If we get to the red card, oh-oh. Consequence time. :^)

I enjoy your blog!
God bless!

Cary at Serenity Farms said...

What an inspired and simple idea! Thank you for sharing...I like the idea that the child has to go and move the magnet, giving them a moment to "think"

I'm happy to have found your blog and have been enjoying reading some of your posts! Look forward to more...God Bless,

Cary at Serenity Farms

Little Bit Of Land... said...

*lol* "Parenting sanity..." :-)

I've been a mom for 28+ years now & if there's one thing I've learned, that sticks out in my mind above all the rest, is this....

.... kids are going to do what they want to do, once they are adults, despite what you've tried to teach them as children.

Yeah, some things "stick" & all of us parents hope that the most important things are the stickiest. But even then, sometimes they're not & there's not a darn thing we're going to do about it. We'll look back & think "How can my child think THAT when they were raised so differently?"

It's that free will thing, you know? If only we could impart our will into their bodies, they'd never have another problem in their lives... right? ;-)

Just do the best you can while they're little, realizing that once they're adults they're going to do what they wanna do anyway.

Simple peace~ Andrea

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