Monday, 2 February 2015

It's Savvy Monday! This week: Discipline!

Mr Laney says that our 3 and 5 year old run rings around me. I'm starting to think he might be right. I've always thought I was a 'firm but fair' parent: who doesn't take any shiz, but doesn't raise the roof about it either. I'm starting to think this way isn't working at the moment.

Miss P is the 3 year old. She is like all the other 3 year old girls I hear about: stubborn, defiant and ready for a screaming match at any moment. Big on tantrums.

Mr B is our 5 year old. He is actually a really good boy (don't all parents say that about their kids? I mean, who's going to say, 'Our boy Joe is actually a naughty little shite?'), but lately he's coming out with some boundary testers. And I'm sure I can expect worse when he starts school! He hates getting into trouble, and hates it when we get cross at him. But this didn't stop him telling me to 'go away!' this morning when I interrupted their play! How very rude!

I'm not a shouter. I don't see the point in adding to the noise in this place. But I need to refresh my techniques. I need to reset some boundaries.

So I went to one of my favourite parenting websites, Planning with Kids to see what Nicole had to say about discipline. I came across a couple of techniques she advocates for tantrums and for school age kids that I think could help me:

For tantrums: 'Bring them in close'

1. Explain in advance to your child about how you will react when they lose control of themselves. When you start this, you need to be consistently doing it for every episode that occurs.
2. When your child starts to 'lose it', bring them in close, maybe onto your lap, and tell them that you are going to help them calm down. Use as little talk as possible, explain that you are going to wait for them to calm down.
3. Once calm, let them go.

I'm going to try this tactic with Miss P as she responds really well to physical contact. She's always after a cuddle.  I wonder sometimes if she just needs some attention in our busy household (of mostly males) and that maybe her tantrums are a cry-out for this. It doesn't seem right to punish her for losing control of her emotions. I'm thinking, once she gets to the calm point, I can explain to her that her behaviour hasn't been ok with me and what I would prefer.

For older children: 'I feel' statements

1. This is basic assertiveness, and a great skill to model to kids. The theoretical form is:

When you (do such and such)
I feel (xxxx)
Because (my rights are being violated in this way).
So I could have said to Mr B:
“I feel hurt when you tell me to 'go away', because that is not a nice way to talk to people."
Only I would add another element to the statement by explaining what I would prefer in his behaviour, for example, a nicer way to communicate his 'wishes'.

I do wonder if this technique alone can curb future rude behaviour from Mr B, but I like that it is simple, gentle and respectful. Also, very simple, so must be worth a try!

If you haven't already, check out Planning with Kids, Nicole Avery is brilliant and helpful when it comes to organising the chaos of family life.

I will get back to you in the week about how I get on with these techniques. Wish me luck!

How about you? Got any tried and tested discipline techniques that encourage good behaviour in your house? I would love to hear about them!

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