Just the other day, I was talking to some other stay at home moms and asked if they were struggling with any difficulties. “Yes, " one piped up almost immediately, “discipline problems with my 6 year old smart mouth know-it-all! I don't want to spank, and don't, but he seems to laugh at time out, privilage loss, etc. What do I do?"
Ahhh. . the joys of independence in children. I have found in working with children that when negative consequences are imposed (loss of privilages, time outs, etc. ), they simply do not work. My advice and what I try to do is to always let the child have a choice in the matter at hand. For example: Your six year old (and any age for that matter) is not listening to you. You are asking him/her to pick up their room. They are ignoring you and doing what they want to do. Instead of saying “if you don't listen there will be a consequence (time out, loss of privilage, etc. ) Try rephrasing and saying to your child, “Boys/or girls that want to watch television later will have their room clean within the next twenty minutes (or whatever time frame within reason for you). Make it a positive statement instead of a negative one. You can also use any type of reward, it doesn't have to be t. v. privilages (a snack, time outside playing, phone time, game time, etc. )
This technique also allows your child to make a decision in their own fate. If they choose to listen to you and clean their room, then they watch television. If they choose not to listen, then unfortunately they do not get to watch television. Leave it simple. I know as a neat freak myself that to leave the room messy for your child is HARD!! But simply say to your child, I am fine with your decision not to clean your room, unfortunately, you also have made the decision not to watch television also. The key here is to stay clam and positive about the decision that they have made and walk away.
Of course you are bound to have tears and comments coming your way about not letting the child watch television. Again, keep it simple, remind your child that they did have a choice to clean their room and watch t. v. or to not clean their room and not watch t. v. Remind them that you love them and are fine with their choice. After a few times of making the wrong choice, children ultimately will start making the better choice for them. The key to your success with this is to stay calm and positive.
Remember to always stay clam, and positive, no matter how hard it is!
Tammi Kauppinen is a proud stay at home mom with five wonderful children. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a degree in Special Education, she decided to find a way to stay home and raise her children. That hasn't kept her from working with kids! She has run an in-home day care for ten years, worked in variety of school districts with children with special needs, acted as a foster parent to teenage boys and as a respite provider for other foster children. She continues to work with children - including her own - on a daily basis and publishes a weekly email on stay at home mom tips. To sign up for this FREE service go to http://www.stayathomemominc.com