No More T.V. – For a While

Today I did something my kids still can’t believe – I took away their daily t.v. time for an undetermined amount of time. Let me explain why.

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Logan and Lila have been getting more and more familiar with me. Anytime I ask either of them to do anything, they have a reason why they can’t obey, or an excuse, or an outright “no”. I find I’m repeating myself too many times a day, trying to get them to obey.

What’s worse, they will obey daddy wonderfully, will clean up their toys when he asks, come when he calls, etc., well, most of the time. They even told me that they would only obey daddy. That got me mad and on more than one occasion, I had to get Glad to talk to them about needing to obey me too.

We’ve tried many different discipline methods, but the only thing they seem to respond to is loss of privileges, mainly t.v. and movies. We’ve used this many times in the past, mostly to get a lesson to sink in, and it seems to work, at least for a while. During the time when they know they are missing their favorite shows, Logan will ask me why he’s missing it and we talk about what he needs to change to get to see them again.

But after today, I think it will be awhile before they get their shows back.

See, I asked them to do something they have to do every day: tidy up their bedroom. I got the dinner done early, since it is better to go out a little later when it is cooler, and they spent that time playing.  Once I was done, I asked them to pick up the mess so we could go out. No response. I asked again. Told them we needed to go outside. Nothing.

Then it started raining. Not too much, we still could have gone with raincoats, but by now they were both saying they didn’t want to clean up. No, they wouldn’t do it. Logan went as far as to tell me to never ask him to clean up again!! This stinker is not even 6 yet. That is something I expect from a teen, not him.

I’d had it at that point. Not just because they wouldn’t clean up this time, but because of all the times lately that they have not listened to me at all. I just said there would be no more daily t.v. time until they learn to obey me. That did it! The tears! No, we want to obey. Oh, really? I’ve heard that one before.

I held my ground and left the room to wash dishes so as to not yell at them any more. We didn’t go out, they played around a bit, and cried more when they realized I was serious. Then daddy came home. Of course he had to hear the tale and of course he agreed with my decision. I actually heard them talking before he came, hoping he would say something different and change the punishment or drop it. Such stinkers!

In the end, Scarlett cleaned most of the mess, while Logan and Lila did a little. Then they sat for dinner with daddy and he talked to them about obeying me. Before bed, I again had to make it clear that it was up to them how long this t.v. ban would last. I know I’ll have to discuss it again tomorrow. And probably all of next week.

I’m actually curious to see how long it will take for them to get that I mean business. I know there won’t be an overnight change, since they are in the habit of not obeying the first time, ignoring me, arguing about having to obey, etc. It’s going to take me reminding them every time I ask them to do something and they don’t do it right away. I know this is going to be rough for me as well as them, but the hope is that in the end, they will be more obedient.

How do you handle disobedience with your children? Any tips or suggestions are welcome.

 

Update: November 2, 2013 – after one week I tried letting them have t.v. time back. Logan lost it again on the first day when he freaked out over Lila doing some small thing he didn’t like and biting her so hard he almost cut her skin. The girls aren’t into the t.v. as much as he is, so on those days when Logan wasn’t allowed it, I only put it on if they asked. Mostly they would just play and be happy on their own.

After 2 weeks, Logan is doing much better. He is listening to me more, obeying more, and he has yet to bite again. I consider this a success. So yes, they are again allowed to watch their shows. Hopefully they will remember this one for a while.

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"He’s a Bad Boy!"

That’s what my son told me when picked him up from school today. One of his classmates had pinched him and he was very upset. Logan is by no means innocent of pinching. No, he pinches just as hard and often as the next kid, but hates being on the receiving end. Of course!

What got me was how quckly he labled his classmate as a bad person. Remember we are talking about kindergardeners here. I asked Logan why he was saying that, and apparently he had heard his teacher call the other boy bad when he did stuff like hit and pinch.

So I took some time to explain to Logan the difference between doing something that is bad and actually being a bad person, and I began to recall something I had read years ago in regards to discipline – never lable your child or they will end up living up to it. Since it is such a habit for me, I wrongly assumed other adults were aware of it too, which is why Logan’s statement about his teacher surprised me so much.

We often forget that children, especially between the ages of 2 and 5, are just learning which actions are acceptable and which are not. Children lash out and hurt each other because they don’t know how else to react when a friend or classmate does something they don’t like. Hurting each other is like a built-in self-defense mechanisim.

Children will only learn other methods of working out problems from us, their parents and teachers, and it is imperative that we explain and demonstrate the behavior we want them to learn in a calm manner. Yelling at them to stop hitting is usually counterproductive. I know because I’ve tried it. Like any mother, I will get frustrated with their meanness to each other and I will yell and threaten, but I shouldn’t because I know better. When I do stop to talk to them and I handle it calmly, they are more likely to sort out their differences and get along better.

Here are some tips to remember when you are faced with hurtful behavior from your child.

– Never call your child bad. Do that often enough and your child will see themselves as bad and they will wonder why they should even try to be good.

– When your child does something that hurts someone else, first let them know that it is the action that is bad. Say, “Pinching the baby was a bad thing to do.” Never say, “You are a bad boy for pinching the baby.”

– Next, explain why what they are doing is bad, and why they shouldn’t do it. Ie. “Pinching is bad because it hurts and we shouldn’t hurt people.”

– A further step would be to show them how they should act instead. You could say, “We touch people gently” while taking their hand and showing them what a gentle touch is. Show your child how to gently pat or stroke the child they hurt on the arm or hand.

– After that, it is good to teach them to apologise. For a toddler who isn’t verbal yet, you can teach them an action that they can do when they hurt someone. Maybe they could pat the person or give a kiss. At first you will have to walk them through the action while saying “I’m sorry.” That way they connect the action with the words. A child who can talk can learn to say “I’m sorry” and maybe they could do something nice for the person they hurt.

This kind of training doesn’t belittle the child; instead it helps them see that they are capable of acting in a good way, plus it gives them a life skill that they will be able to use in the future. We all want our children to be good, but it is the way we say it that will encourage or discourage them.

Do you have a story or tips you would like to share along these lines? Please do so in the comments.

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