Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If you don't read this post, you're going in time out

There are so many books on raising kids, and the best way to "motivate" your child to listen, behave and basically do what you ask them to do.

I've tried many different things from positive discipline, rewards and sticker charts to time outs and just plain losing my temper and yelling. Especially when I have to tell my daughter to do something for the umpteenth time. That was my Mom's favorite phrase by the way, "for the umpteenth time". Good Lord, I'm turning into my Mother. I have admit that I seem to fall back on threats and bribery most of the time. I'm getting tired of hearing myself say things like, "if you don't be quiet and go to sleep, I am going to take one of your doggies" or "if you put your shoes on right now, I'll give you a special treat". I don't think these are the best parenting methods, and I can see that the effectiveness of these methods is only going to last so long.

I need some new ideas.

I've found that I get the best advice from friends who are parents, and have real life examples of what has worked for them. For example, a good friend once told me that it takes one day to make a habit and three days to break a habit. I've found this to be true, and remembering this has gotten me through the few days it usually takes to get my kids out of bad habits. Another good friend once said, if your kids are doing something that drives you crazy, don't worry - it won't last; and if they are doing something you really like, enjoy it - because it won't last! That has always helped remind me to enjoy the good stuff while it lasts, and not sweat the tough stuff, because it will pass.

So, I'm asking you, my friends, for your advice on this topic. What are your best motivation methods and parenting techniques?

p.s. I'm also guest posting today over on Andrea's blog - email me if you need the link at heartatpreschool (at) gmail (dot) com


MarvelousMOM said...

I didn't know about the one day-three day habit rule. And at this hour I can't even begin to think what I have found that works for our kids.

Mary Freaking Poppins said...

I would never begin to know the answers to that... but will attentively wait for the experts to chime in! :)

Rachel said...

Your kids are the perfect age for the "let's see who can clean up their toys/get their jammies on/finish their dinner first" contests! Maybe it's wrong to create that kind of competition between siblings, but it gets mine moving!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I haven't really figured this out either... So I will be back to read suggestions from other more knowledgable mommies!

Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you find out the secret. The other day, I told Noah that if he didn't pick up his Legos, I'd throw them all away. His reply? "That's okay, I'll just get new ones."

Maybe I need to have a long talk with his grandmother's about the spoiling.

bernthis said...

one thing I do with my kid is I tell her that "I can't do it" is not something that is said in my home. I tell her you have to try, at least a few times and then if you don't like it, okay. I did that with the piano and now she loves it and now I tell her: you know that feeling you have when you play the piano? How good you feel inside? that is b/c you didn't give up and you listened and you tried. I always get a big smile and she now can't stop playing.

Devoted Mom To B... said...

well, i have a child who ONLY responds to threats. i was told that time-outs aren't so good for 5-year-olds, better for the 2s and 3s. B's "currency" is cars and dessert. when he is bad, i give him one chance (or sometimes several!) to correct the behavior or he loses a car or dessert. I generally tell him that he can earn whatever is lost back by being better throughout the day. i don't know if it's the best way to go but there are some kids who need a bit more of an incentive to be good. B happens to be horribly stubborn and i've found that reasoning just doesn't always work. you are in good company, for sure!

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

I have NO IDEA. If you figure out what really works, please let me know :) My children are driving me insane!

Lish said...

I tried to tell you it's easier to just adopt adults.

LeftCoastLobstah said...

The phrase you have under your title would be a lot more poignant if you left out the word "around". It's got promise for a saying you could copyright actually.

LeftCoastLobstah said...

Oh yes, forgot to finish ... the only thing that has ever stayed true for all kids is consistency. If you threaten something, you MUST follow up on it even if you really don't want to. If you promise something, follow up on it. And also - kids learn by example - act in ways you would like your children to act. :)

Lucy said...

I am by no means an expert but from reading most comments, I seem to be the old lady of the group. I'm 43 and my son is 20 and daughter 17. Both are relatively well behaved kids. No drugs, alcohol or school problems. Not to say they did not have their fair share of groundings and 'moments'.
Follow through is the most important thing in parenting. PERIOD. Kids know if a threat is outrageous or something you won't do at the moment.
On top of that you have to be willing to be the parent,not the friend. It is not always fun to be the parent. My kids talk openly about parents who like to be cool and friends and exactly what those kids are up to. Think looong and hard about what you want in the long run because it starts early.
Last, to the mother who said " I will throw the legos away." and the child answered flippantly. I would have thrown the Legos away and for sure not bought new ones. You have to establish rules quickly, sorry, or later kids won't do anything asked.
My kids did the same thing, I packed all the toys up, gave them to the poor and we did not replace one item. My children picked up everytime after that when asked and to this day they talk about that lesson.
Put it all in perspective, it was just toys. A want, not a need. They learned a valuable lesson and I gave it to the poor. They were warned several times to pick up, they had to take my warning seriously or it would never work.
Good Luck.
So sorry for the long response.

septembermom said...

I've been a mom for 12 years and I still feel like a rookie when it comes to getting my children to cooperate on some days. Every once in a while, I get them to do something if I make it a kind of competition. Who can get the cars in the case the fastest? The boys get into competitive mode fast. My only problem is if the "loser" doesn't like the outcome. Then a battle may be brewing. I think kids are tougher today because they want to "outwit" us all the time. When we were kids, we just did what mom said. Now kids want to negotiate or argue over everything. Kids are wise guys who think they know best. We have to out think them now. Sorry that I don't have any clear cut suggestion. Lovely blog, by the way.

Kari said...

Thanks for the great comments. I knew I could count on you guys to express your opinions.

Rachel and SeptemberMom, I like the idea disguising things as a game - kids are ALWAYS up for a good game!

Bernthis, LOVE that. I'm totally going to use that.

Devoted Mom to B, it's so refreshing to know that other good Moms use whatever "currency" works. I guess that's the general idea, do what WORKS, right?

Lucy, you are not an old lady here mama...I'm 40 too, my kids are just younger than yours. I can see that you are SO right about the follow-through being so important. That's where I get stuck I think...I don't want to act on my threat, so I give them too many chances - like counting to three, over and over again. I also think you are right about being their parent, and not thier friend. It's good to know that you've done that, and your kids like and respect you as they've gotten older!

I think LeftCoastLobstah's comment sums it up best...whatever you choose - the most important part is being CONSISTENT!

More comments welcome, if you have anything to add!!!

Or, if you just want to give me a hard time for overusing exclamation points. I know. I can't help it! I get really passionate about things... And let's not even start with my use of "...". Sometimes I just don't want my sentences to end... See, I did it again.

anymommy said...

I am in that same phase - where I have to repeat requests or instructions 5,000,000 times. Drives me insane. Threats, rewards, yelling, nothing works consistently. I got a suggestion from a mom I adore who is also a teacher. She said say it once and then show it.

Soooo, a few days ago I told my son to put his shoes on because we were leaving for the store. He didn't. I didn't say it again, although it almost killed me. When the other kids were ready, I loaded them in the car. He was in his wet socks (it's nasty here right now). He cried all the way there and then I said he had to ride in the cart because he had no shoes.

Um, it was embarrassing and kind of a pain for me. He was horrified. Buuuuttttt, he is putting his shoes on immediately this week. I have mixed feelings, I wouldn't go this route with everything, but I like having this tool.

Sorry! Book! It's just interesting because I've been really struggling with this lately.

Kari said...

Anymommy - I love that story! That is some good advice. I mean, when we say it a million times, and bribe or threaten them into doing something, they probably don't remember afterwards. But, when they experience the consequences of not doing something for themselves...they get it! Makes sense.


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