Please speak to me of rewards/consequences
or behaviour management shite that works
I am at the end of my tether with the children ATM. 5.8yo DD and 3.11 DS.
At present, the only thing that happens is they get told off. We don't use a naughty step or reward charts or pasta in a jar or anything like that. I do do lots of specific praise for good behaviour. I am a bit stuck for consequences I can use/sanctions. Neither get pocket money, DS consoles are very rarely used anyway, and screen time is already pretty minimal and just to fill the short gap between teatime and bathtime - and not even every day.
But whatever we are doing, it appears to be an epic failure. They can be utterly lovely, but most of the time at the moment they are downright bloody obnoxious. Completely ignoring all requests and instructions in that especially infuriating just 'blanking' you way, lots of screeching whinging and fighting.
DD thinks she is queen of the world and DS wants to either destroy or eat everything in his path. Bedtimes are GRIM with general fucking about despite a good normal routine of bath/teeth/stories/bed with a story CD.
I want, and need, to enjoy being with them more than I do at the moment.
Please give me your best tips and suggestions. I can't really do a naughty step as DH works nights so I can't put them somewhere else while they are having a massive strop.
I bought the book 'Calmer, easier, happier parenting' and found it contained some really interesting ideas.
It talks about setting expectations about behaviour and then getting the children to say what they should be doing instead of giving them lots of instructions that are ignore.
There is too much to go into now but will come back when I have a spare minute! Otherwise maybe borrow the book from the library if you are interested.
I will have a look at it on Amazon, thanks.
I have read the How to Talk and do try to use some of the strategies (with some good results too) it's the tedious bickering and arseyness that is wearing me down at the moment It's hard to skim over it and distract them when in your head you are just thinking " STOP BLOODY ARGUING FOR 5 MINUTES SO I CAN GET YOU A DRINK WITHOUT YOU SMACKING HIM ON THE HEAD WITH A REMOTE CONTROL"
No you can't watch Iplayer it's bedtime
No you can't wear your best party dress to walk the dog
No we can't go to the chip shop again
Yes you do have to come with me to walk the dog
yadayadayada I bore myself with the nagging these days, it's no wonder they tune out as it's all just background noise. I know that, but how else do I get them to do anything I was contemplating starting to give pocket money just so I can take it back off them as a consequence but I'm not at all sure that's the way to go. Plus they are too young to really appreciate money anyway except in terms of a CBeebies comic or sweets.
How about turning it around on them? I believe it's a technique from How to Talk or maybe another book I read. So if they ask if they can watch iPlayer say or wear their best dress to walk the dog "Hmm well, what do you think?" It's probable they are more responsible than you think, but use you to test boundaries. Can backfire of course, but rather than you just being the naysayer, it might get them to think a bit more.
Also if you can, turn a no into a yes. "Can we go to the chip shop" "Yes we can go again next week".
Not necessarily solutions for all your problems, but as their behaviour is probably quite normal for those ages, it seems to be more of a 'how to cope' and how to put a more positive spin on things so you don't end up so frazzled and annoyed all the time.
Oh and also from How to Talk, rather than endless nagging and long sentences (which they don't have the attention span for), say it with a word. Instead of 'why haven't you put your shoes on, I asked you three times' just firmly say 'SHOES!'.
I use 1,2,3 then consequence (pre-warned, eg if I get to 3 then I take it away, if they are arguing over a toy, or they don't get to go on whatever outing, or they get some other precious toy confiscated until the end of the day, or no pudding if mucking around at the table etc etc. Whatever I can think of first basically.) If they carry on then another toy gets taken away, etc. My 3 year old (very very strong willed) has only ever held out to 3 toys taken away before caving in (don't worry, she gets them back a few hours later, I'm not mean!).
If there is a bit of a day that is always awful, I have been known to get to the end of my tether and ask the children, head in hands, how we can do it better. It sometimes works, they sometimes think up compromises.
If they are not sharing, the toy gets taken away. If everyone is fighting, they get sent to different rooms to play until they can play nicely together. Divide and conquer.
Generally works, but I'm not immune to a bit
lot of shouty mum.
I have to say, money is a great incentive for us (mine are 5 and 3 as well). They get 30p pocket money to spend on sweets or save for charity shop toys/moshi monsters etc. I've also recently started giving them 5p for getting ready themselves (so far as age appropriate), and 5p for good table manners (an issue we are having with the 3 year old). So if they are pretty good all week, they can get enough to buy a £2 pack of moshi monster toys between them (a current favourite of theirs). I also use it as a threat (taking the money away), but very rarely get to the stage of doing this.
I suppose to an extent, at the moment I am bloody sick of talking it through with them
I would like them, to most of the time, just do it without 20 minutes of just finishing a picture, asking me why eleventy-million times, fighting over who does it first and who got more. They are just really really tiresome ATM. And I am tired. My tolerance is less than usual, I know. Feels like constant PMT at the moment.
Try reading '1,2,3 Magic'. It's very basic and obvious really. It's working really well with my 3 yo who knows exactly how to behave but often chooses not to. She was/ is so argumentative and eloquent that this approach, which cuts out the talking and explanations, really seems to focus her.
I've only been using it a couple of weeks though, so no long term advice.
I'd second 1,2,3. I use the various techniques from how to talk with my 2.5 year old but if they are failing or if I've just had enough, I use 1,2,3. Been using since before he was 2. I maybe use it once every other day now. It fails (in that I get to 3 and have to withdraw a treat/enforce eg shoes and socks on) maybe 1 in 10 times. Great backstop. I think he will always know that mummy is getting very cross when I use 1,2,3!
If you've got some regular bad behaviours, try to think beforehand of some related consequence which you are willing to carry through. So, in the case you mention if your DD has asked you for a drink but then beats up little bro while you're getting it, tell her that if she doesn't behave for long enough for you to get it then she'll have to get herself plain tap water instead.
Give them an end time for story time. If they muck around, they get less or no story; if they get ready quickly they get lots of stories - they will need reminders how much time is left, of course.
The naughty step works for my DDs age 4.5 and 2 - it doesn't have to be a step, you could have a naughty spot/time-out cushion etc. I also found a home-made star chart was very effective for my DD1. She decorated it herself, I drew a big spiral on a piece of paper and when she got to the middle she chose a toy. I also very occasionally took stars off for bad behaviour ( though I have since been told on MN that taking away something the child has earnt is a no-no).
I also try to use the 'how to talk..' techniques when I have the patience. Sometimes the turning a no into a yes, or just giving the facts ( eg 'we can't go to the park until everyone has their shoes on' rather than 'SHOES NOW!' ) is surprisingly effective.
Oh and my ultimate threat that always works is I will tell her teacher <evil laugh>
The only thing that has worked for us long-term (or even been sustainable long-term) is 1-2-3 magic. The counting to three then implementing the consequence is only half of it; the 'magic' part is no talking and no emotion.
No emotion because if you start to get angry then things can quickly escalate to shouting and beyond. If you let the little things go, then by the time you are ready to discipline the child, you could be so frustrated that it's easy to give out a punishment that is disproportionate to the misdemeanor. To you, that last thing they did was the straw that broke the camel's back, but they might not understand that.
No talking because it's a parental decision, not a debate. Because I had four children in four and a half years, I needed them to be able to comply with rules and instructions immediately in that moment, without discussion (for example for safety reasons when we were out and about). Then later on, when we were back home and I could speak individually with that child, I would explain the reasoning behind the rule.
Please don't infer that I'm saying I have all the answers. My children are normal kids who sometimes misbehave. These are the things we have found most helpful.
You might want to think up some creative responses to regular whines. So, they don't want to walk the dog, ask them, in a deadpan manner, which one will clean up the wee and poo and ask them how they will do it. Want to wear party dress to walk dog, ask what might happen, what else can she wear to a party? Encourage them to reason with you, because that is actually a useful skill.
Think about why you are saying no to things, and look for a way to re-phrase it, instead of just a no we can't go to chip shop agree a day when you will and write it in the calendar (you could attach a bribe to this, eg if they get ready for bed by X O'clock for X nights we will do this).
Ditto '1,2,3 Magic'
DD (3.6) is money and bribe motivated - 20 pennies at the beginning of the week, loses for bad behaviour and can keep what is left.
Also she can earn stars towards a reward - sparkly shoes, trip to cinema etc. She needs 100 stars to get it - stars are awarded before bed (with a star allocated for not pissing about at bedtime) when we praise for the good things and deduct for bad behaviour. Generally takes her about 6 weeks to get 100. We also remind her that she will lose stars/pennies when she is misbehaving which often kicks her into line.
1,2,3 magic. <again>
I'm the OP with a minor NC
I have a copy of 1-2-3 somewhere, looks like I should dust it off and try it again
I think reward charts may be a go-er, with nice specific targets on. They are both old enough to 'get' them, I have drawn happy faces on the calendar when they have stayed in their own beds for example, and they really liked that.
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back.
Some of the key ideas of Calmer, easier, happier parenting are....
Using very specific praise when they are doing things right or even when they are not doing something wrong (e.g. i like it when you speak to me without wingeing!
Getting them to talk about why they should behave in a certain way at a time that is neutral and what will happen if they don't do it so they have to think about the rules not just listen to you 'nagging'
Making sure that you have their full attention when you ask them to do something and the time to carry through any consequences for not doing it then praising them for the steps they are going through to do what you asked. The book says to only ask them once but I usually ask once nicely then once firmly with a reminder of the consequence.
Having written / pictoral rules / timetables for key parts of the day - this worked a dream for the mornings. I wrote a list of all the things they have to do before school and once they are completed they can watch TV. Instead of nagging you just point to the list.
Listening and responding positively to their concerns, annoyances, etc with the rules and expectations but not budging on what is being expected, e.g. I can tell you are frustrated by not being able to do xyz but you have to do xyz because of abc.
There is loads more in the book. I'm afraid i am useless at reward charts I find they only work for specific targets that are very black and white and only for a short time - probably just me though.
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