Becoming a new parent is really a crazy experience. Then figuring out how you are going to discipline your kids is a whole other experience! My husband and I had a rough game plan when it came to parenting/discipline. All we really had to go off of was a handful of things our parents did that we didn’t want to repeat. But that’s about it! Taking a parenting class was the best thing we have done for our ” parenting game plan”. All we can do is try our best. And we decided seeking the help of a professional that would give us some tools to go to along the was the best way to go. Kids need consistency, they need structure, and they want you to be the boss. If you aren’t going to follow through and be the parent, they will take that on for themselves. And now you’re really dealing with a mini you on your hands. A mini you that’s desperate for you to be a parent and give them direction.
The biggest and most important thing we learned during this class is ” only say it once”. And I want to scream it to the roof tops so every parent can hear! When you’re in the middle of doing dishes and suddenly your parched three-year old need water NOW NOW NOW MOMMY NOW. I have tools to use so I don’t tell him to hold on 50 times then finally explode and scream at him to stop until I’m done. Now you’re mad and he’s upset. All over a stupid glass of water. Lets redo this scenario.
Only say it once!
You’re doing dishes and your three-year olds needs a drink.
” hold on honey, when I’m done doing dishes, I will get you your drink.”
“mommy I need a drink, I need a drink now!” melts to the floor. That’s a time out. They need to know you mean what you say the first time. So you walk your little one to your time out place of choice. Set a 1-2 minute timer and when the timer goes off, they get another chance. Repeat this over and over until they learn.
This way you aren’t livid because you told them a million times to wait while they cry at your feet. You took control of the situation immediately.
Another issue I brought up was the kids ( my 3-year-old twins) love to sit on/at the counter and watch me cook. I’m ok with this, but the struggle is ” you can sit up here, but don’t touch everything on the counter, don’t throw It across the room, don’t stick it in your brothers ear”. You get what I’m saying. And no matter how many pep talks I give before setting them on the counter, one twins hand is in a cup of water sitting on the counter. They get 2 chances in this situation. First time it’s a time out, second time that privilege is taken away.
” We tried to let you sit on the counter and watch mommy cook but you didn’t listen to Mommy. We can try it again tomorrow”
Another thing she told us, ” if you aren’t willing to follow through with what you say, don’t say it” don’t give empty threats. IF YOU SAY SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH!
You can’t say, ” if you don’t stop beating the wall with that bat I’m getting up and taking it away” 15 times. You ask them to stop once. “Only saying it once” and “mean what you say” makes parenting that much harder! You can’t be lazy. You have to get up and do it because you said you would. If you don’t, don’t expect your kids to ever listen to you and give you any kind of authority.
We also learned about development and age related issues. You can’t tell your three-year old to go clean his room and expect to go in there and have it clean. You need to guide them. Walk into their room and help them pick up the first few and stay there while they do it. At this point them cleaning their room is not about once less chore for you to do and worry about, it’s about teaching them how to do it.
One complaint I had was I feel like all I do is clean up after the kids all day. I go from cleaning up their legos, putting away the puzzle, to picking up the basket of shoes they dumped out while I was doing the first two. She said its important kids learn to clean up after themselves before they move onto the next. She said it takes time to implement at first, but if they have their legos spread across the floor, they aren’t allowed to get their trucks out until the legos are cleaned up. She said if you can stay consistent with this you will have a tidy person for life.
Another one of my favorites. Make eye contact and get on their level!
Don’t scream at them to do something from across the room. Ask them for their attention.
” I want you to look at mommy” and then say what you need to say.
Make them look at you when they are in trouble. It’s uncomfortable to look at someone who is confronting you about something you know you shouldn’t have done. Don’t let them look somewhere else or pretend like they can’t hear you. Having them make eye contact with you makes the disciplinary talk that much more effective.
1. Only say it once.
2. Don’t give empty threats.
3. Guided learning
4. Make them make eye contact.
Implementing these into our ” parenting game plan” has made such a difference! I wish we would have taken our first parenting class before discipline became a thing ( like before they were born).
My advice is to sit down with your spouse and come up with some issues you want resolved. Find a good therapist that’s well versed in parenting. Go to your first class. They will give you the tools you need and try them out for a month. Go back and have a follow-up appointment at the end of that month and you can reevaluate or tweak your original plan if certain things aren’t working like you thought. It’s all a learning curve!
You got this Mama, don’t go another day without having a disciplinary game plan. It will take so much stress out of your life and make you feel confident in your parenting!