Friday, February 27, 2009

Behaviour Modification Program

I’m a strict mom. I like my home life to be harmonious, happy and conflict-free and I don't put up with much crap. I definitely do the “reward the good behaviour” method, but when that doesn’t work I basically have three weapons in my arsenal:

1. Ignore them completely. I don’t respond to whining, fussing or yelling. I sometimes have to remind the little guys that I don’t understand them when they talk in “that voice”, but Lisa knows that when I’m ignoring her, it’s because of her tone. Ignoring them can initially make them more angry, but eventually they get it.

2. Take Stuff Away. A couple of weeks ago Lisa was AWFUL. After one particularly horrendous night, I wrote a list of all the privileges she had. The list had about 20 different things on it, including having friends over, watching TV, playing Barbies, going to friends’ houses including birthday parties, …and the list goes on. There’s another sheet that lists chores and behaviours that will help her earn back the privileges. She knows that if her behaviour is bad enough, The List will be back and she does not want that. Bart will instantly snap out of his tantrum if I threaten to take away his movies for any amount of time. This one isn’t quite as successful with Maggie because she doesn’t have that much that she really cares about losing. One time I told her I would take away all her princess clothes (which she plays with every day) and she went and got a bag to help me gather them up.

3. Time outs. I still do time outs for all the kids, but something I’ve been doing lately is leaving them in all their tantrum glory, going to my room and telling them that I’m taking a time out from them. It freaks them out.

What works for you with your kids? Did your parents do anything that you remember being effective?

18 comments:

Rolling Off The Edge... Together said...

We try all of these things - some times they work some times they do not. He's three - my expectations are a bit low still. Though he did give himself a time out the other day! He is like Maggie though. He cares about stuff but not THAT much, not enough to stop!

My mom used to threaten to spank us with the wooden spoon. I KNOW?! It was the 70s and she was Europe. She never actually used the wooden spoon - just threatened us with it so I guess it was effective. It was wooden, with a handle and just knowing my bum might get paddled with it made me run for my life.

Coincidentally, my husband's mom also threatened he and his sister with a paddle from the wooden spoon and he was born closer to the 80s and his mom is NOT European but Canadian.

LoriD said...

My mom did the wooden spoon thing too. Not one of us was ever actually hit, but just the sound of the drawer opening was enough for us to pay attention!

Misty said...

My best friend was of a family with four children. Their mama used to threaten them with the "slipper." Picture a ratty-faded-pink-open-toe housewife job. Not that I am recommending it. Her kids were horrendous.

We do the same things you guys do. I have no novel suggestions, although Brother is a bit like Maggie. He would start getting all his favorite toys for me to "take" as his "punishment," which was really to prove I was a big evil mommy and he was a victim of circumstance. He also likes to say, "Kill me" when I ask him what his punishment should be for various infractions.

Ah, motherhood :)

Jess said...

My parents' techniques were similar to yours. Whining was not allowed and not responded to. We had a list of privileges on the fridge and every time we did something wrong, or missed a chore, we would lose the next privilege on the list. It reset every week.

Nowheymama said...

All of the above, plus sending the kids to play in different rooms when they don't get along. They hate to be apart (at this stage, anyway), so usually just saying, "Do I have to separate you?" is enough.

Kristin.... said...

I've got NOTHING. My kids basically refuse to do their chores, they are badly behaved at home (but never at school) and with the extreme age differences, I have nothing that works for all three. However, I like my Captains and Ginger Ale every night so that helps me.

Lora said...

from 9 to 5 I am a parenting professional, basically I get paid to teach teachers how to teach parents how to parent. You are doing EXACTLY the right thing! Those are the three big secrets to disciplinary parenting!

well, 4, because you are rewarding the good behavior.

Good girl!

artemisia said...

Whining was not allowed and it never worked on my folks. My mother would give me the silent treatment if I acted like a jerk, and nothing, NOTHING, made me more remorseful. Oh, it just killed me when she did that. She made it clear I'd hurt her feelings.

Chantal said...

My M is a terrible whiner. I need to work on that with him. Or not and just start ignoring him. It drives me nuts and even with me saying "I am not talking to you when you whine" he just doesn't stop. So I will try your way and see how it goes.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

That's what we do. I am always looking for new tips and tricks so I have an arsenal of weapons to use on the kids. My biggest thing is just knowing when they are doing it on purpose and when they're just over-tired, hungry, sick, etc. It can get frustrating- my 2.5 year old doesn't quite get why it is not okay to whine.

desperate housewife said...

Whining is THE WORST. I keep telling myself it will get better the more she understands what I'm talking about when I tell her, "I'm not listening until you can speak nicely." She just stares at me like I'm speaking Latin and continues to shriek, and the more I ignore, the more crazy she gets, hanging on my leg and crying! I like the idea of giving myself a time out from HER!

urbandaddy said...

Wooden spoon here too, but my older sister was slower than me so that saved my ass time and time again.

I enjoyed your list, especially as I try to figure out how to control our 4 and 2 year old boys. They seem to be getting stronger each day and now they are working together to overthrow the house.

If I, for example, try to take something away, or threaten to, my 3 yr old tells me he is going to throw me in the garbage. Nice, eh?

I think more ignore and less tolerance of whining and "that voice".

Thanks!!

Erin said...

This is a great list. My boys are younger, so we're generally sticking with Time Outs. We have various levels of Time Out, though. Sometimes it's just standard, sit in TO for 2 minutes. Sometimes a toy has to go in TO for a while because no one can share, so we all lose out. Sometimes Calum has to do TO in his room because he won't stay in the downstairs TO area and he won't stop screaming.

On the positive end, sticker charts are working WONDERS for us over here. We're using one for potty training and I'm thinking we may need to make use of sticker charts for other things too, like trying new foods, or taking your turn.

Badness Jones said...

I do the time out from my kids thing too! When we were kids and acting out in the car, my mom used to threaten to stop the car, sit on the hood and sing....she only had to do it once, and after that she only ever had to threaten once before we were as good as gold!

Saly said...

I do time outs for the little things. Telling the big kids that they are not allowed to be near each other/talk to each other works well.

For the big stuff--like our current issue of nobody going to bed and staying in bed--we do charts with a reward at the end. Right now we have a 25 day chart for going to bed without issue. Each child gets to put a sticker on in the morning if they were good. In the end, we are going to the indoor water park.

Thankfully, they are complying, since we are plannning on goging anyway.

Saly said...

Oh, and when we threaten to take stuff--it totally freaks Bud out, but Lucy is mostly like "I'll play your game...." and has gone so far as to put her treasured blankie right in the garbage, while all the while looking defiantly at Hub.

Beck said...

My house is like a freaking monkey cage. My kids are mostly good because they're good kids, but there's no discipline - we expect them to be good because we're nice, which is just dumb. So when there's a behavioural problem, we just FAIL.

Astarte said...

I try to make punishments appropriate for the crime, like if Patrick ignores me in favor of his DS, it's gone for the day, that kind of thing. If they're rude to each other long enough, they don't get to socialize with anyone other than each other until I see fit. Lately, the positive reinforcement has been working out OK for us, so I'm going with that. I do still stick Patrick in a corner occasionally if necessary, too.