Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

try, try, again. And if you still don't succeed, come up with a new plan!

I personally feel that some parents give up too quickly on training their children. "Oh, that just seems like too much work", or "I don't want to hear her crying/whining so I'll just keep giving her what she wants", or "it's just a phase, I'm sure they'll outgrow it soon"...I think it's important to come up with a plan on how you want to go about solving certain behavior your children are demonstrating and then actually stick with it for at least 2 weeks to see if any changes occur. (remember to be only working on 3 or 4 things at a time, though...) I say at least 2 weeks since depending on your child's temperament change can take awhile for one to get adjusted to. Remember, too, that it does take 21 days to form a new habit and isn't that what you are trying to do with your children in some cases, form new habits?

So what happens after the 2 weeks and you aren't seeing any difference or worse, the behavior has actually gone in the opposite way you were wanting it to go. My first suggestion is to really pray about things to see maybe your approach is wrong or that maybe you should be focusing on it in a completely different way. Second, talk to a close friend that shares the same parenting philosophy as you do. Sometimes when you are in the middle of the issue, you are so close to the problem that you may actually be missing something completely obvious. Third, don't be legalistic or stubborn and say "well this is what I started out to do and under no circumstances am I going change my plans". And finally, think about what you're actually trying to accomplish. Maybe you are being unrealistic in what you are wanting to accomplish. Or maybe you are thinking something needs to be a certain way when maybe it really doesn't.

This all leads up to my story with Anna and wanting her to be quiet/no talking/no singing at night time. It was becoming a big battle between us. In a previous post I commented how we were now going to swat when we had told Anna to be quiet for bedtime. We planned to stop giving her warning after warning after warning, that first time it would be a swat. I knew she knew what it meant to be quiet and still and she knew the expectations of me wanting her to be quiet. But for at least two weeks, things were not getting better. It got to the point that she would actually start talking right as I was walking out of her room. So she would get her swat (which honestly, I don't like swatting before naptime/bedtime...). Then like 30 seconds later she would start talking again. I didn't want to swat her every time she talked, but we did tell her not to talk so since she was disobeying there had to be some consequence. So we then decided to close her door until she had self control and a happy heart, then we would open it. But again, as soon as the door was open, she would start talking or singing. What was I to do? Our evenings were getting so stressful...then I talked to a friend about it and she said "why does she have to be quiet? maybe it's okay for her to talk quietly or sing quietly to herself?" Then I remember something I heard from Carla Link that some kids actually need that down time before falling asleep. They need to sing to themselves or talk to themselves, it's their way of relaxing. Ah the light bulb went off!

So for the last couple of days now, we have allowed Anna to talk quietly or sing quietly to herself to help her relax and fall asleep. And I have to say, bedtime has been more enjoyable for us all! So, if at first your don't succeed, try, try again. If you still aren't succeeding...come up with a new plan!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Logical consequences are respectful, relevant, and realistic.

Respect is conveyed through words and nonverbal gestures.
* Use a normal tone of voice. Avoid sarcasm
* Speak directly and quietly to the student. Whenever possible, avoid calling across a room or raising your voice.
* Focus on the deed and not on the doer. Convey the message that it is the behavior you object to, not the student.
* Be clear and firm and don't negotiate.

"You need to leave the circle now," gives a precise direction. "You were talking and jabbing your pencil, etc. etc. etc" gives too much information, and opens the teacher up to argument: "I was not…He was too.."

A consequence needs to be logically related to the students' actions.
* It helps children see a cause and effect. (For example, when you talk, your work doesn't get done.)
* It references the rules. ("What do our rules say about name-calling?")
* It focuses on the specific problems created when rules are broken. ("When you tell me you're going to the bathroom and instead you fool around in the hall, what happens to our trust?")
* It focuses on individual responsibility and accountability for helping preserve a safe learning community. (A student ignores the signal for quiet and keeps on talking with a neighbor. The teacher points out that the signal is a way to make sure everyone can receive directions quickly. It keeps everyone safe. Thus this student needs to see that his or her behavior is not responsible. The teacher implements a short time-out period for the student to recover controls and observe the limits. Later, the teacher perhaps will arrange a practice time so the student can return to the group and show by hid or her actions the "signal" procedures.)

A consequence should be something the teacher and student can follow through on.
* There is a reasonable follow-through action expected by the student. (A student who is not looking where he or she is going spills paint all over the floor. The student will help clean it up, but is not expected to mop the entire class, the hall, and the lunchroom as well.)
* There is a clear time frame that is appropriate to the developmental age of the student and the behaviors of the student. (A two-minute time out might or might not give a student time to recover controls. If the student returns to the group before he or she has truly regulated the behavior or while he or she is still pouting and angry, it is likely the misbehaviors will quickly resume.)
* Time frame makes sense -- it is not too long and thus harsh, or too short and thus ineffective. (A student sent on an errand gets caught playing with the water fountain in the hall. The student loses the privileges of running errands for a few days or the rest of the week -- depending on the behavior, prior experience, and so on -- but not for a month or forever!) Remember, children need on-going opportunities to learn from their mistakes, develop their self-controls, and regain trust.
* The teacher is prepared to follow-through and implement. (Told that homework that isn't handed in has to be made up after school or before school begins, teachers need to check the homework and reinforce expectations, as well as be realistic about their own time availability and parent communication. No empty threats!)

In sum, logical consequences applied with respect, relevancy, and realistic guidelines help children understand the consequences of their own choices and, hopefully, help them learn from their mistakes.

This was taken from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/charney/charney006.shtml -- a resource for teachers in the classroom.

Go to your room...(that includes you mom!)

I typically put a show on for the kids while I go upstairs to take my shower. I leave the bathroom door open so for the most part I can hear what is going on while I shower. Yesterday, I came downstairs after my shower to see and hear the kids quickly running out of the kitchen, jumping on the sofa, and quietly giggling. I knew they were up to something. As I came around the corner, their little checks were filled with something. I asked Owen what was in his mouth and before he could answer, Anna said in a giddy excited voice "chocolate!" While in my shower the kids had moved one of the dining room chairs into the kitchen and helped themselves to the Hershey Kisses that were sitting on the kitchen counter (they did manage to grab some grapes as well!). Anyway, needless to say, I was a bit frustrated since they know when I'm taking my shower they are suppose to be either playing nicely or watching their show. They aren't to be in Mommy's kitchen without first asking me. So what was I to do? I took a deep breath and told Owen in a calm and controlled voice to go to his room. (Back to my previous post, we need to show our kids self control and even though I wanted to yell and scream that yet once again they've managed to do something I've told them not to do...we need to be the example. Also, remind me to tell you the analogy about the traffic cop if you haven't already heard it!) Anyway, Owen went straight to his room without complaining or whining and sat on his red stool by the door waiting for me to come talk to him. Anna went to her room as well. So what was I going to do? In my opinion the best consequence was a logical consequence so I went into Owen's room and we talked about why Mommy sent him to his room. I told him that because he did something that he shouldn't have done - pushing the dining room chair into the kitchen to get chocolates off the counter - that he would not be getting any treats today (I'll write more about this later when I talk about picky eaters and why this was a logical consequence...). To me this was the best logical consequence that I could think of that was tied to what just happened. Here are some thoughts to consider when it comes to logical consequences:
* A logical consequence is a way for a parent to "redirect a child's thinking and behavior, which is logically associated with the offense" (GKGW).
* To help you remember, there are three R's to logical consequences: Respectful, Relevant, and Realistic. See my next post on more details from a website I found regarding the three R's of logical consequences.
* You don't have to tell your child right away what the logical consequence is, but it should be determined while the child is sitting in a reflective time out. In other words, if you need time to think of an appropriate logical consequence, it's okay to tell your child to go sit in his room (this is not play time!) while you determine what the logical consequence will be (yes, you can go to your room too to think about it and pray for guidance!) This allowed me some time to cool down and to think clearly and then I was able to calmly go talk to Owen about his choices he had made and the consequences for those choices.
* Once you lay out a logical consequence, by all means, make sure you follow through with it! If not, then your kids will quickly realize that you don't mean what you say. Don't give in no matter how much whining and complaining and begging your child tries on you to get back whatever logical consequence you are enforcing. In those situations it's best to have your child go sit on his/her bed (or wherever your time out area is) until they are ready to have a happy heart - in other words that they are ready to stop complaining, whining or begging you.

How have you seen logical consequences work in your home? Do you have some issues that have come up that you need help determining logical consequence for? Maybe we'd be able to help!