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!

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