Sometimes a starting place is the hardest thing to find, especially when kids enter a new phase and behave in ways you’ve never had to deal with before. After struggles, new systems, and lots of household tension, I think we finally have something that works.The new system has take some getting used to, but it has also eliminated heaps of frustration. I know this system will continue to evolve over time, but I hope this can help you.
Background: Over the last year, J’s behavior has gone through a roller coaster, and our attempts to guide him have followed right along. On the good days, a simple warning with maybe a timeout would work wonders. On the bad days, losing privileges, multiple timeouts, and all the lectures in the world got us nowhere. We developed a ticket system where chores earned tickets and bad behavior lost them. It worked great for a while, but the new year brought new behavior issues. Turning seven has meant big changes for J. He’s wild. He’s loud. He is openly defiant. It’s tricky.
I am aware that an important part of his development is learning to stand up for himself and to learn to articulate his feelings and to be able to let us know when he disagrees…but I also know that I can’t stand for disrespect. It’s not the person I want him to be. I believe that listening to directions and showing respect to his parents are important lessons that will last him a lifetime.
Still, I was at a loss. I’d reached the end of my proverbial rope and I had no clues on what to do next.
Step One: Research.
Here are a few of the sites I found that helped me get a starting point.
First, I realized what was making me angry. I need and want J to think about his actions. If he does something I don’t like, I want him to be able to tell me why he made that decision. I know this isn’t a skill set he has yet, and so my starting point was one question:
How do I teach J to understand WHY he’s getting in trouble?
Here’s what I came up with.
1. We modified the ticket system.
-J starts every day with nothing. No toys. No TV. No video games. Now he has to earn those privileges with good behavior and chores.
2. Handling Emotions
– J is past the timeout stage, but sometimes, we all need a break to keep the situation form getting out of control. Inspired by this Pin, I created a poster to let J know some acceptable ways to handle being sad or frustrated. (Feel free to use any of these PDFs!)
What did i do wrong (PDF)
Each time J receives a warning, he fills out one of these cards. This serves several purposes: >One, it helps J identify WHY he’s getting in trouble and what to do better next time. >It also helps me. I realized that I had gotten into the habit of giving several warnings with no consequences. This gives me a tangible reminder. >Perhaps most importantly, it helps me separate expected (but no less annoying) behaviors that require patient reminders from the behaviors that fall into disciplinary territory.
Let me know how you handle discipline and what you think of the new system!