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how do your punish your 4 or 5 year old?!

(64 Posts)
traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 20:56:16

My dd1 has just turned 5. For a while she's been quite frustrating (taking AGES to do anything, needing to be asked numerous times before she'll do as she's told, being a drama queen about everything!). It seems to be getting worse and I feel like I have less and less control over her. Her teacher says she's really good and polite at school so I think it's just for my benefit (and DH). We're doing a sticker chart for her behaviour but she's not that bothered of she gets lots of 'unhappy' stickers. We've used naughty corner for years but now it seems to have no effect - she goes there, sits and sings to herself, says sorry then will happily repeat whatever got her there in the first place! She gets sent to her room to calm down which is good because it gives us space from each other, but is more a way of diffusing a situation than punishing her. We don't smack and e don't really like to raise our voices too much but don't know how to punish her. She doesn't get pocket money so we can't take that away, we've tried banning TV/ colouring/ toys but she's not really bothered because she's got such an imagination she would sit in an empty room and amuse herself! Does anyone have any punishment ideas? Thank you

franch Tue 07-Jul-09 20:57:37

Don't punish Read Alfie Kohn

traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 20:59:04

what's that? who is he? What's the theory?

duckyfuzz Tue 07-Jul-09 20:59:26

second what franch said

talk to her, try to see things from her perspective, you have already said the puishments and stickers aren't working, try another approach

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

franch Tue 07-Jul-09 21:01:29

Unconditional Parenting

wonderingwondering Tue 07-Jul-09 21:03:20

What's Alfie Kohn? The OP"s post could describe my 4 year old - he's generally such a lovely, kind boy but he doesn't listen and I don't like punishing him for it, as I spend my whole life nagging over relatively trivial things.

CherryChoc Tue 07-Jul-09 21:05:47

It's like consequences, not punishments - and the definition of this is (because I struggled with it for ages) that a consequence has a purpose, a punishment is just unpleasant for the person who has done the thing wrong.

So a consequence for not stopping playing and tidying up quickly enough when you say "We are going in 10 minutes" is that you help her tidy up and get ready 5 minutes before you leave anywhere and she has to wait with you, ready, while you get ready to go. The purpose is that you know she is ready to go.

traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 21:05:56

but that's what I'm asking - what shall I try? I don't mean 'punish' as in 'make her suffer' - but there need to be consequences to bad behaviour and I'm scared that what is starting at home will spread and that she will be rude to her friends etc - just trying to teach her. I think if anything I'm a bit soft with her which is why she maybe doesn't always realise how she upsets me, but it just feels like something needs to change.

wonderingwondering Tue 07-Jul-09 21:07:20

What are the basic principles then? I may buy the book, but the link doesn't explain what the theory is about. Can anyone summarise it please?

I'm interested in the idea that children shouldn't feel they have to earn approval - I've always been against the idea of 'please do x and then you'll get y' as I prefer to work together to get things done. Is that idea part of the theory?

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Jul-09 21:10:09

yeah, what Franch said.
we're a UP (mostly) family here, no punishments

CherryChoc Tue 07-Jul-09 21:12:28

Oh also, for non-listeners this is fab:

Say, Remind, Make it Happen.

1. Say what you want to happen (e.g. DS, we are going out soon, time to tidy up and put your shoes on.) - Don't say I want or I would like you to, state what will happen.

2. DO NOT repeat the instruction. If he doesn't at least start to do it within a reasonable, age appropriate time frame (ie don't ask then leave it 30 minutes as a small child will have completely forgotten) then remind with one word (e.g. DS, shoes)

3. It's useful to ask for a response, ie just for them to say "OK" to say they have heard you, if they are prone to being too immersed in their game etc.

4. If they still make no effort to do what you asked after the reminder, make it happen, ie go in and tidy the toys away and put his shoes on for him. Again this is not a punishment so it doesn't have to be unpleasant, but don't let them talk you out of it "Just until I finish this game" etc - it is too late to bargain, it's happening now.

Disclaimer: only has a 9 month old grin so this is purely theory. It's supposed to be really useful though.

traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 21:14:18

ooh x-posted with a few of you there. Ok so my terminology was maybe wrong. So I need inspiration for consequences! I do loads of the positive reinformcement things - she gets a 'happy' sticker on her chart every time she does something on the first time of asking (yes we've had to get that basic!), so I say " please can you go and get your school shoes" - she does it - she gets a sticker. if she doesn't do it I ask again, if she still doesn't do it she gets an unhappy sticker. At the end of the week if there are more happy than unhappy she gets a treat - last week it was an icecream from the ice cream van. If there are more unhappy than happy she gets nothing. Only thing is getting nothing is not enough of a 'thing' to deter her.
She is delightful and caring and honest and sociable and friendly and confident and bright and I tell her a lot how much she is loved. We talk about how when we hurt each other with words it makes the other one sad...we do talk. She's just pushing boundaries and I've got a mental block on what else to try. Have probably x-posted with loads again now!

wonderingwondering Tue 07-Jul-09 21:14:24

So you say 'please tidy up and put your shoes on', he ignores me, I pick him up and make him put his shoes on then he stands and waits while I get ready, and he helps tidy up then? I can't see how that works, as you are still just imposing your will on them, and there's plenty of refusing to put shoes on opportunities!

Have I misunderstood?

traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 21:15:13

ooh x-posted with a few of you there. Ok so my terminology was maybe wrong. So I need inspiration for consequences! I do loads of the positive reinformcement things - she gets a 'happy' sticker on her chart every time she does something on the first time of asking (yes we've had to get that basic!), so I say " please can you go and get your school shoes" - she does it - she gets a sticker. if she doesn't do it I ask again, if she still doesn't do it she gets an unhappy sticker. At the end of the week if there are more happy than unhappy she gets a treat - last week it was an icecream from the ice cream van. If there are more unhappy than happy she gets nothing. Only thing is getting nothing is not enough of a 'thing' to deter her.
She is delightful and caring and honest and sociable and friendly and confident and bright and I tell her a lot how much she is loved. We talk about how when we hurt each other with words it makes the other one sad...we do talk. She's just pushing boundaries and I've got a mental block on what else to try. Have probably x-posted with loads again now!

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Jul-09 21:15:34

i don't thin kyou can necessarily explain the "theory" of it because it's more a way of life than a way of getting youtr child to behave iyswim?
worth a read though. you can prob order it fromt he library if you don't want to buy it

wonderingwondering Tue 07-Jul-09 21:18:34

Thanks cherrychoc, I cross posted as my computer was going very slowly.

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Jul-09 21:19:08

up isn't really about natural consequences either.

as AK says in the book, the problem with any kind of consequences, whether natural or otherwise is that you end up with your child thinking "something horrible has just happened to me. you could have helped me, but you didn't"

wonderingwondering Tue 07-Jul-09 21:21:59

I think I get it - that is pretty much my approach anyway although with 2 of them ignoring me I don't always manage to avoid the 'will you please LISTEN!' thing although I cringe when I find myself doing that.

Is UP meant to work for all ages? Presumably once they get to 7 or 8, putting their shoes on them isn't so much of an option? But I suppose it still avoids reacting to the 'bad' behaviour in a way that encourages it - i.e. lots of attention.

duckyfuzz Tue 07-Jul-09 21:22:35

thread here there are lots more on it, do a search, lots of debate and tips

CherryChoc Tue 07-Jul-09 21:24:06

wondering, sort of, though I would probably ask and if he was ignoring then I would go over and help him tidy up, then put shoes on so that the shoes were the last thing to do. Or possibly the thing most likely to cause a tantrum would be the last thing to do. Though you raise a good point about getting yourself ready at the same time grin I think you'd have to know you were ready to go before attempting to get him ready - unless you are confusing my 2 posts, I would do one or the other, not both.

(Can you tell I have no experience with small boys - this is good practice for me!)

traceface Tue 07-Jul-09 21:25:00

sorry didn't mean to post that twice!
Thankyou Cherrychoc (your name makes me hungry!) - the problem is stage 4 seems to me like my procrastinating 5 year old getting what she wants! I tidy up and put her shoes on although she is perfectly capable, the next time she knows I'll do it in the end? Surely the result needs to be her doing it herself?
When she started school in Jan her teachers said to all the parents " please let your children dress themselves etc even if it takes longer becasue they need to dress independently in school for PE", so if I help her out too much at home she will end up struggling at school. But it can take 45 minutes to go from nighty to school uniform! Clearly I'm going wrong somewhere but don't know how to turn it round. Add my 6 month old in to the equation too - I don't have enough hands to do everything for her!

CherryChoc Tue 07-Jul-09 21:28:03

This is the site I got that technique from. It's a Christian site and some parts are a bit strange but this part made sense to me.

goybparenting.com/?page_id=54

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Jul-09 21:29:04

traceface, i would help her if you're in a hurry, although point out to her that she needs to do it herself to learn.

then on days when you don't have to rush out encourage her to do it herself.

if you know she can do it, then don't worry too much about school. i'll bet she's a lot faster when she is there than when she's at home

RenagadeMum Tue 07-Jul-09 21:33:37

Had this same problem i posted yesterday. New to this so dont know how to link to the thread.
Had lovely advice

But just to say...you are not alone!!! Still want to bang my head on a wall sometimes. My dd even went as far to kind of hitting me when I told her (after a 5 minute warning) we were leaving a friends house. She sort of slapped me. V scarey.
I try and be postive with her but sometimes I think this seems to make things worse.

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