Kids and guilt
I have lots of meetings with other fellow mothers and fathers and often the topic of conversation is guilt after a situation has got a bit out of hand. This could be acting out of character, going just ape over something small, disciplining exactly how we thought was best at the time or just feeling yuck because we had to discipline. The guilt I think comes when we see our child/children asleep in bed later, or they went to their other parent’s house, a friend’s or relative’s house. I feel most parents at some stage would have had this feeling. The best thing we can do is prepare for the next time. And by prepare I mean talk to other parents for ideas to see what they might have done. Secondly, write down alternatives to yelling or saying something you will regret. Have a list on the fridge:
Parental tactics: try and given a warning and then take a privilege away –
* take an activity away for a short period e.g. 20 minutes as the first step. (tv, internet, craft fun etc)
* If a particular treat was happening..warn it will be affected, for example if you are going bowling…take away the soft drink treat.
* major privilege taken away for a whole day e.g.. mobile phone internet, a friend visiting, a party.
Now, I know some of the above ideas seem like small things to take away. However, to a child this is what is happening in their life and if it is important to them, it will make them think about how they can keep their privilege. So therefore catching children when things are starting to look a bit out of sorts is the best option. This means hopefully taking away the small privilege is enough of a jolt for them to act appropriately again. If the behaviour is not curbed by an initial tactic, the parent may be forced to take whole privileges away.
Of course age appropriate discipline is also the key. I am a fan of timeout and I think one minute per the child’s age is a good guide (eg. an 8-year-old has 8 minutes in timeout). Like anything persistence is the key. I have read so many books on children and behaviour over the years and I can’t suggest just one, so I think take half and hour to go to your local library, sit on the floor near the section on ‘children and behaviour’, and see what you can find!
Behavioural charts are also a good idea. I think these generally work for a while but like anything with kids variety is important to keep their curiosity and interest current.
|Morning chores||Manners||Homework complete||Respectful|
* Have a goal after so many ticks the child gets to choose the evening’s meal, a board game with you, internet or game time, cooking, or a small purchase at the shop.