Sunday, February 6, 2011

Consequences for Kids Misbehaving? What Works For You?

I wasn't sure whether this was the smartest topic to write about, because every parent does things differently and most of us have very strong views on the best form of discipline.  However I am always interested in how other people handle bad behaviour from their children and have managed to pick up a few hints along the way.

I am pretty blessed to have three very good friends who are psychologist and/or in the child welfare line of work, so I pick their brains pretty regularly on this topic.  My husband and I have also gone to a child psychologist in relation to my daughter who is very smart - to smart for us - when we couldn't get a handle on her behaviour, with fantastic results.  Of course it wasn't my daughter who was being treated (she was only 3 at the time), it was my husband and I receiving the skills to better manage the bad behaviour.

What works for us is consequences, and not the sort of consequences you would expect.  Of course we use the normal ones like missing out on going to the pool, or missing out on desert (considering that desert is usually two small jubes you wouldn't think it would have that much impact - but it does).  However what works best for us at the moment if the children mis-behave they go to bed straight after dinner.  This thought of this threat being followed through creates crying and pleading like you have never seen.  It always amuses me though, because on a regular night the time between finishing dinner and going to bed is all of half an hour, and during that time my husband and I usually sit down for the first time all day and watch the 7pm Project.  So it's no party they are missing out on, but it works so I won't question it.

Of course we yell at times like any normal parent but all it does is heightens our stress levels, creates an awful atmosphere in the house and stops the kids doing whatever they are doing.... for a few seconds.  No impact, no lesson learnt, and no one feels better at the end of the argument.

What lead me to this line of thought was an incident that occurred over the weekend.  My lovely husband took the kids out for the day to one of his friends place for a day of swimming and playing with their kids, so I could rest my huge pregnant body.  Of course after a full day of playing and swimming the kids were frazzled and beginning to misbehave.  So whilst our friends spent most of the day yelling at their children, my husband maintained our form of discipline with moderate success (but more success then the yelling).  Now I can respect that people have different ideas to us, but it really irritated me when my husband came home and told me that his friend had started yelling at my kids... when my husband was right there.  Not cool.

Anyway, these things happen and I'm sure after our rug rats left they had a few things to say about the way our children behaved and how we handle it.  And god knows they aren't angels, but their bad behaviour is for us to sort out and no one else.

I really love the consequences that make an impact without leaving me feeling really awful.  Christmas is a great time as I use the old "you will miss out on getting one present if you don't behave".  I love this one as I never disclose how many presents they are getting so I can follow through with the threat without having to actually take anything off them.  Makes me feel a little less of an ogre anyway.

What is you best "trick" to get the kids to behave.


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