16 June 2014

Disciplining My Kids

Raising Kids To Respect Authority

In our house it is very important to us to raise godly children who love and respect others.  It is also very important to us that our children respect authority and have courtesy and respect for all people.  Since our children could understand right from wrong we have used Time Out on our bottom step on the main floor of our home as our main form of discipline.

One of the sweetest things I remember about Julia and Mark when they were 1 and 2 1/2 is that when Julia would be put in time out on the step Mark would join her to keep her company.

Then we started to use the 1-2-3 method as they got to be around 3 years old.  First, give a warning and say that's 1.  Next time the behavior happens, you say "That's 2," and if it gets to "3" they get a consequence (lose a privilege, sit in time out, lose a beloved toy, etc).

Every child is different.  I don't think we had to use any form of discipline for Julia (She was such a good baby) until around 17-18 months.  Mark on the other hand once he got to be around 9-10 months old, if I said no about something (like no to going on the steps because I didn't want him to get hurt) he would look at me look at the steps, smile, and start to go right back to climbing.  I knew I had to start our time out routine a bit earlier with Mark.

Same with Micah.  Micah so far, has the strongest will of all.  He has thrown tantrums at home because he does not get his own way.  They are quick and short lived but I'm amazed at his will.  I have put him on his step at least 2 or 3 times already and he's only 14 months.  But what amazes me still is that he stays there.  He knows what is expected of him at this early age.  He's seen Mark and Julia be put on the step and he has even joined them as a sympathetic brother.

This is my advice for using these two methods of discipline.

Time Out Step

1. Make it age appropriate.  We have always kept our child on their step using the number of minutes to match their age.  Julia will sit for 6 minutes, Mark for 5 and Micah for 1 minute.  

2. Use it to prevent world war three with other siblings.

3. Use it to stop the negative behavior.

4. Do not lecture them while they are on the step.  Seriously, kids hate lectures, they tune them out, and the time should be used for calming down and thinking about better choices.

5. After the time is up, sit with your child, make sure you are at their level.  Remind them you love them. (I feel like they just always need to hear I love you even when they mess up).  Ask them why they did what they did.  Really listen.  Help them to problem solve for next time.  I usually say, "Oh, I see...so you screamed at your brother because you were really mad, what could you do next time instead of yelling?"  It validates their feelings and helps them to think and process out loud.

6. This is a great time to ask them to apologize to either you or the other sibling they offended.  

7. Always end this time with a hug or a kiss or words of affirmation.  For example, "I know you will make a better choice next time!" or "You are so sweet, I am really glad you apologized."

1-2-3 Then the Consequence

My friend Debi gave me two great DVDS and they were all about how to use this 1-2-3 method.  What I liked most about this method was that it warned the child (gave chances) about their behavior and gave them an opportunity to switch it up.  I also liked that it was consistent and the same every time so children could easily predict what would happen if they disobeyed.

I use this method a lot and usually we only got to number 2 and then the negative behavior stopped.  

For example, let's say the kids are in the backyard riding bikes on the deck (true story).  Child A bumps their bike into Child B.  Child B yells.  You can say to Child A: That's one.  They ride bikes around for a few more minutes and the same thing happens again.  You say: That's two.  The behavior stops.

Obviously you need to sit down with your children and explain the 1-2-3 method.  You tell them that if you get to #3 then xyz is going to happen.  That could mean they are grounded, they get a swat, they get a time out, they lose a toy, or whatever you and your family choose that works best for you.

I have learned that disciplining my kids and being consistent since they were little, although exhausting and tiring at times really has paid off.  We constantly get compliments when we are out from strangers about their good behavior in stores and restaurants.  We constantly see improvement in areas we are working on.  And although our kids are not perfect and will make mistakes, they know we love them deeply!


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