Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teach Your Children: Regaining Control of Your Household

Between my attempting to work a little more and volunteering, Scott's traveling for work and hectic  schedule of long hours and the occasional night or weekend on call, Brendan's daily homework grind, and all the rest of our rat race, we've run into a bit of a discipline void.

Brendan, always my challenging boy, has been pushing every button I own and testing all the boundaries, which I will admit, are always a bit loose. As Alexandria over at Before the Baby Wakes put it, I subscribe to a Free to Be Us parenting style. I've tended to err too far on the side of not wanting to crush my child's spirit. Right up until the point where his spirit is really pissing me off and I blow up. Not good.

In thinking about how and why things have gotten so out of control, I see clearly that it has been my lack of consistency in disciplining and setting rules.

Because of Brendan's dyspraxia and all the associated frustrations he experienced before we had a diagnosis, I learned, as did he, that sometimes it's just easier for mommy to give in and perform the task at hand for the child. It can make things go a lot faster when you're trying to get out the door. Unfortunately, kids don't compartmentalize so well and now there are lots of things that my 8-year old should do for himself that he still wants or expects me to do and when I refuse, it turns into a huge power struggle.

We're also dealing with his smart mouth. I've tried reasoning with him on the issue, telling him it's unacceptable, rude, he hurts my feelings, etc. At my wits' end, I've been tempted to pull out the hot sauce or the soft soap and use them when he sasses, but instead, I'm regrouping.

Today, I made a list of our house rules and the consequences of not following those rules. I made it as a reminder for myself as much as I did as an instructional tool for the boys. I have a real problem with deciding in the heat of the moment what an acceptable punishment for a particular misbehavior should be. I figured if I define it for myself and let the kids know what will happen if they talk back or fail to pick up their toys when I ask, it will be easier for all of us and lead (I hope!) to a calmer, happier  household.

I'm also reading John Rosemond's Parent Power and hope to get some new insight from that.

I just hope it's not too late.

What discipline challenges have you faced?
How did you fix the problem?
Do you feel that you were successful?


Caren with a "C" said...

It is never too late, just maybe harder. My problem is being consistent also. It is hard. Also, I relate to your trying to come up with consequences that fit the problem in the heat of the moment. I think putting up a few basic rules is a good thing. Children need structure and to know where their limits are.

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wendywords said...

My first son was and still is a free-spirited young fellow! I, too, did not want to 'crush' his spirit and I let him run me ragged! The biggest breakthrough for me was setting boundries and wonder of wonders miracles happened! What you are doing is awesome and both you and your son will know what is expected before things get out of hand! Bravo!