Disciplining the Un-disciplinible child:

discipline It seems like discipline is a taboo word lately. Like somehow teaching your kid the consequences for inappropriate behavior isn’t trendy anymore. I’m all for rewarding kids for good behavior, but I also firmly believe that there have to be boundaries, within limit of course. I vowed a while back that I wouldn’t spank my kids unless the situation warranted it (playing with matches, running into the road) and even then I’d use my judgment. I don’t have anything against appropriate spanking, I just don’t like the way I feel doing it.

 I have two very strong-headed girls. Great qualities for when they get older and are battling for a position in the world. Not so great when I’m trying to give them instructions. I hate being the “mean mom” and disciplining them but I’ve seen how my children behave when they get to slide too much. So I’ve made a few adjustments.

 My favorite part is when I try to give them a consequence and they argue. And argue and argue. It’s frustrating. When I’m consistent with discipline the kids behave better and are slightly less likely to argue when they get busted.

 This is how I made it easier for me to be consistent:

Create a discipline jar: I took an old pickle jar and labeled it the “no-no” jar. Inside are popsicle/craft sticks. On each stick is written a different consequence. The consequences vary from no TV, no playing outside to cleaning off the front of the fridge and writing sentences. I sat down with my kids and talked to them about some ideas and created a few of my own. There is also a “freebie” stick. When they do something that requires discipline, I let them draw their own consequence out of the jar.

Use a rewards jar too: We created a second jar full of rewards (dance party with mom, movie night and ice cream trips). When the kids are very well behaved or have a few days without drawing a consequence they get to choose an award.

The jars work well because you don’t have to come up with a consequence on the fly. The procedure also helps negate some of the whining and bargaining your kids are likely to start tossing around when you dish out the punishment. When you introduce the jar do it when they aren’t in trouble. Tell them how the jar works and let them know that they will be responsible for randomly selecting a consequence if they misbehave.

If you take a few minutes to introduce the jar before you use it, all arguments can be nipped with some form of, “We talked about this already. You know that when you misbehave you have to choose a consequence.”

I ’m not one to start dishing out consequences the first time my kids make a mistake. But, if I’ve asked them to clean their room three or four times or they start arguing with me (again), it’s time for a consequence.

What are some creative ways you deal with discipline?

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