Monday, November 16, 2009

Discipline and watching the wheels turn.

I have been at my wit's end on finding the right way to discipline Nathaniel.

He is very opinionated and likes to do things his way and doesn't like anyone telling him what he should/should not be doing.

Of course, that does not fly in our house. I'm the parent and that means what I say goes.

I have tried just about everything I can think of to work on getting Nathaniel to listen to instructions (the first time I ask, and without whining, although I'm just taking it step by step for now).

I tried time outs. That didn't work. I found that he was spending nearly an hour in time out a day and his behavior wasn't changing at all (because that is the goal of discipline, to change his behavior and teach him acceptable ways of acting). And much of the "time out" time was spent with me taking him back to time out while he laughed in my face. Ugh!

So, I tried spanking. He would get his verbal warning and then a spank if he continued. That didn't work either. He would still laugh in my face and actually started hitting me back. Double ugh!!

I tried a combination of time outs and spankings, but found myself just getting frustrated even more so, and he laughed even more (seriously, does this child not have any nerve endings in his bottom?!).

So, I sat down and thought about what else I could do. I started taking away our night time story time. It worked, but it was too abrupt. It was either all or nothing. So, I made a little chart. Each night Nathaniel gets four books read to him before bed. So, I made a picture chart with four books, three books, etc. and put a post it note on the picture with four books. When Nathaniel doesn't listen I give him his warning and then he loses a book for the evening.

The first night he lost his books within five minutes of having the chart. I think it was because he thought it was fun to move his star. Then he realized what the chart meant.

His behavior has been better. Sometimes all it takes is a warning before he does what he's supposed to or stops throwing a fit.

However, tonight we were at Disneyland and Nathaniel asked me, "Mommy, can we have popcorn?" I told him we could have some when we got home after Aaron went to bed if he listened well. Ten minutes later he was throwing a fit and not listening. I told him that we weren't going to have popcorn when we got home because of his behavior and he hit me on the arm saying, "I want popcorn!" I just ignored him at that point and we moved on.

As we were driving home I heard a sweet little voice from the backseat say, "Mommy, I'm sorry I hit you earlier." I told him, "I know you are honey, I forgive you and I love you."

Then he paused and said, "Can I have some popcorn now?"


1 comment:

Erika said...

Wow. It's amazing to see things from the other side because I know that I was the same way as a kid (as I'm sure you know!). I still remember one summer day when I got in trouble and Mom wouldn't take me to the pool with her and Ryan because she'd warned me to stop misbehaving. I jumped up and down in the garage, screaming and crying, while she pulled away and for at least 10 minutes after. It must be so frustrating to have to parent through that! (P.S. Will definitely call you later this week--phone was out of commission when you rang for my birthday. Hurrah for Sam!!)