We read all of your comments and one reader asked for advice on discipline. I thought I would respond to this query because being a parent is the hardest job there is.
I feel that being a parent takes every ounce of professional training I have and then it is just plain old instinct, trial and error, and prayer.
There are some things I know to be true in my house, so I will share those ideas and perhaps they will help you.
2) Rules must apply everywhere and be consistently used by everyone. Mommy and Daddy have the same rules. Example: You need to ask before using something that isn’t yours.
3) Consequences are relevant to the offense and applied immediately. If you use Mommy’s makeup without permission then you have to clean up the mess and go to time out. It is important to use the time out “process” with your child afterward. If you don’t they will never know what to replace their bad behavior with. They will not know how or what you expect. It is natural for children to try different things. It is just as natural for you to explain what you expect from them. ALWAYS address the behavior and remind your child how much you love them but you do not like the behavior they showed.
Here are the three questions you need to ask after time- out: EVERY TIME
What happened? (I did my face like mommy’s) (get them to see the problem by asking questions.I would ask him questions until he got to the problem. The problem was he was using my stuff without asking)
What is going to happen the next time you________ (go into Mommy’s makeup without permission)
What can you do instead next time? (I can ask Mommy to use her make-up) (we also talk about mommy has the right to say no and that is okay…)
The consequence depends on the severity of the behavior. Once he broke my favorite lipstick when he was not suppose to be in the make-up so I asked for one of his favorite toys and I put the toy in time out for the night. We talked about how it felt to have something you really like and have it “lost” to you. The consequence should be age appropriate.
4) Consequences are consistent (every time Matthew goes into my makeup without permission he goes to time out) Just so you know he has his own makeup brush and chap stick to pretend with so he does not need to play with my stuff.
5) A child will test each of the above items over and over again. You must not give in!
6) The parent is in charge. I repeat this one over and over again. Children need rules. I mean do not make a rule about everything and do not make rules that you will not enforce but have rules. Your child NEEDS rules. How can you expect them to act in a certain way if you have not given them guidelines?
7 ) Give your children choices that are controlled. Give your child 3 choices and allow them to choose. I have the child that wears rain boots every day but gym days at school. Why? I feel like that is a choice that he can make it doesn’t affect his safety. The deal is he can’t wear them on gym days because it is against school rules.
How do I know my approach with my child works? Here are some of the quotes he said last week.
“I do not need everything it is okay to want things” in response to buying a birthday gift for a friend
“I know you love me even though I do not have a hot wheels racetrack but maybe Santa can be told that I should have it”
“I am really mad at you so I am going over there for a break”
“I should not have thrown my toy because it isn’t a ball and this is inside the house”
“I like your stuff but I have my own but I think maybe you can share after lunch?” He wanted my sunglasses so I agreed to let him try on and wear my “beach sunglasses” after lunch
I repeat it is important to teach your child using modeling, rules, love and respect. I ask to use his toys. I put them back when I am done. I have been to time out for using poor judgment. He actually asked me the three questions. Then I got a big hug and I know you will try harder next time.
Keep up the good work and keep those questions coming. Every day is a new day.