Thursday, September 15, 2016

Behavior Modifications that Keep our Family Sane

Do you feel extra crazed at your kid's bad behavior when you don't know what to do with that behavior? 

When you are left without a plan? 

We feel it too. Oh do we feel it.

The other night, the other SCHOOL NIGHT, we got home late. Past bedtimes for the younger ones who would feel the lack later, it made me decide to hustle. Right? I'm not crazy. This only makes sense. 

One of the youngers was instructed to slide those PJs on and brush those pearly whites. When five minutes later I found this one doing other things, my brain swung wildly for methods and old standbys and found nothing.

And I found myself angry.

When we are prepared for bad behavior, things go much more smoothly. 

Can we shake hands on a deal again? If I share a few of my family's systems of consequences, would you share your's? Parents, we need each other! Most likely, these good ideas come from another parent who once shared them with me. Because I'm not that smart. 

It's a deal then?

Here are a few of our standard procedures for bad behavior:


Yelling

Some of my kids take after me and raise their voices sometimes. Oh how I used to wish for calm, serene children who spoke in hushed tones and poetry. But alas, it was not meant to be. God and I have had some words over it. And he was right. Again. But that is another thought for another day.

Enter: The Whisper Chair.

Yelling children set the timer for five minutes and hang out on the chair, only whispering and reading the Bible storybooks stored beside it.

It works so great for us.

Name Calling

My dearest, darling Dumplings tend to throw names around. And they aren't usually of the Sweetsie Pie variety. 

The rule in our house is simple: Call someone an unkind name, say three nice things about them. And if they stall, that number goes up. 

One particular summer, we started lists on the wall with everyone's names at the top. The name-caller had to choose three nice descriptive words that were not already chosen and add them to the list. 

I think this one is losing it's scare factor for a few of my kids and I would love to hear other family's consequences.

Complaining

Maybe not all kids roll their eyes and sigh when asked to do chores, but our's do. Although much less now then before secret weapon Extra Chore.

Any negative sounds, gestures or words when asked by a parent to do something, results in an extra chore. Followed by an extra chore. Sometimes followed by an extra chore. 

If we would be super consistent, this one would totally get a 5 Star rating.


Fighting

When there is arguing and blame going on between two in our house, it is so convenient for me if they can resolve it with a chat on the stairs. This took a lot of training.

Perp #1: I'm mad at you because you looked at me crooked and held your mouth like this.

Perp #2: Gosh, I didn't even mean to. You are exaggerating hugely. I'm mad at you because you were thinking about using my stuff without even asking. 

Perp #1: Sor-ryy. 

Perp #2: I'm sorry too.

Perps: Ok mom, we are ready. Watch us dance around and try not to touch each other while we kind of hug it out like you always make us. 

My theory is more brilliant than their execution.

But when the fighting goes on and on, I pull out the best shirt in the whole house. It is a size XXL and it is bright red. It is our Get-a-long Shirt. 

When the kids have taken the squabbling thing too far, lucky them! It is time for a chore done together in this fabulous piece. Do you know how hard it is to stay mad at someone when you look absolutely ridiculous and so do they? And you can use only one arm and so can they? 

Works like a charm. 

Until your kids all hit growth spurts and the seams of the shirt just give up.


Chore Swap

Favorite! Favorite! Favorite!

So sometimes my kids "forget" to finish their work or they never start it at all. Instead of getting really annoyed, I just do their chore and let them do one of mine instead. Thank you Mr. Love and Logic.

And since mom chores are always bigger than kid chores, their chores start to look really good. 

Example: 
Son swept out the garage last week and all of the trash ended up on the edge of the yard. After the initial huff and puff, I realized it would be much easier to just pick it up. Which I did in 60 seconds. He then got to sweep the dining room floor for me which took him 10 minutes. 

Often heard in our house: "Hey, do you want me to finish your job or do you want to?"

"I want to! Don't touch my broom!"

Big win.



There you have it. Beyond the time-outs and the groundings, these are my favorite consequences to help stay sane and not feel [completely] out-of-control.

What systems do you use in your home for nasty behavior?
Let us know what is tried and true and what you are currently testing out!

Check out Love and Logic's page for ideas and concepts that will help you enjoy your kids more as they learn to make better choices.


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