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My Discipline Reminder

I am writing this down so I can refer to it in the future. This is not a how-to on parenting nor a model for everyone. I'm merely writing this because in the heat of the moment, I forget what I'm supposed to be doing as a parent and, hopefully, this will remind me.

Step One: name the undesirable or naughty behavior.
- My fourteen-month-old keeps spilling his bottle on the floor when he's done.
- My seven-year-old talks back to me.
- My five-year-old says yes, she'll do what I ask, and then she forgets.
- Children are fighting on the way home from school.

Step Two: identify the desired behavior. (Be sure expectations are age appropriate.)
- I want my baby to put his bottle on his tray when he's done.
- I want my seven-year-old to say, "Yes, Mommy," when I give a command or "May I ask a question?"
- I want my five-year-old to do what I ask right away so she doesn't forget to do it later.
- I would like a peaceful ride home where everyone shares the talking time.

Step Three: know why you wish this behavior.
- In our house, we try to keep things tidy.
- Stevens' children are respectful to adults.
- I will not exhaust myself nagging my children. I expect them to obey right away.
- I would like our family to value peace over being right.

Step Four: have the consequences in mind. (Again be sure consequences are age and personality appropriate. The more memorable the consequence is to the child, the less likely, you'll have to give it again and again.)
- Baby gets a "No," and flick on the hand whenever he throws his bottle down.
- Seven-year-old gets one chance to try answering respectfully again or will get hot sauce on the tongue.
- Five-year-old may obey immediately or accumulate an additional chore before dinner.
- I will have kind words in the car or no talking at all while I BLAST classical music!

If having trouble coming up with consequences, write a list of all privileges and then remind yourself (and later the child) that these are privileges for those who obey your rules. Such privileges can/will be revoked when children do not obey. For example: choice of a snack, sitting at the table to eat with everyone, choosing what show to watch, choosing outfit for school, sitting on chairs, playing with toys, listening to music of choice, sleeping on a bed, sleeping with favorite blanket or animal, freedom of time, etc.

Step Five: inform child of expected behavior and consequences if he or she chooses to disobey.

Step Six: FOLLOW THROUGH EVERY TIME. Tweak consequences to ensure they are memorable enough to instigate change.

Step Seven: Take the time to renew relationship and remind child of love after each consequence.


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