Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Parenting Crossroad

I think I have reached a parenting crossroad.  I've lost my effectiveness, probably because I've also lost my cool one too many times. I've noticed that yelling and screaming rarely elicits obedience.  But yelling and screaming is my first reaction when they are being deliberately disobedient.  I have to tell myself over and over again to remain calm, that screaming at them won't get me anywhere, that spanking them is even less effective, but I just can't seem to listen to myself.  Often, I let my emotions get the better of me and take control.

I need to be more effective.  I need to let my children reap the consequences of what they sow.  I think that part is hard for me.  If they do not clean up the room like I asked and I've given them a time limit and the consequence is getting something taken away, I need to take it away.  It's far too easy, for the reason of avoiding tears and further conflict, to just give them five more minutes.  But I need to be firm.

When my kids get home from school, they are supposed to empty their backpacks, so I can see any important paperwork, they can put away or throw away returned work, and they can clean out their lunchboxes so I have them ready for the next morning.  Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes yelling at them to do it.  They still didn't.  I finally realized that I need to let them sink or swim.  If they don't do the required task, they will reap the natural consequences.  If their lunchbox wasn't cleaned out the day before and they don't put their ice pack in the freezer, then they will have no ice pack and I will send them to school with trash in their lunch.  If they don't give me the papers they need signed or get their homework done, they will reap the consequences.  You want your child to be successful.  The thought that not turning in homework, something that you could make sure they get done, could affect their grade substantially, is quite painful.  It's hard to let go.

So today I make a commitment.  I commit to stop the yelling and screaming.  I commit to tell them once, perhaps give them one last warning, and then let them take the consequence.  Sometimes I will have no control over the consequence and that is what scares me, but I need to let go and let them learn in their own way.

Sometimes, it's tough to be a parent.

2 comments:

alli said...

i agree that, although it is not the easiest course of action, keeping cool and letting kids feel the consequences of their actions is a better way of parenting. I just wondered how you were doing with your commitment, now that it has been a few days. I've found myself making the same resolve many times (most recently after a bad day yesterday), and then messing up and getting frustrated with the kids. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope you are keeping up with your resolve, but if you have messed up a bit, to not give up! I hope things are going great! One other question is what have you done to help you with this resolve to change? Any incentive programs or anything? Just gathing ideas that might help over here also :)

Royalbird said...

I feel like I'm doing pretty well keeping up with my resolve, although I have messed up a couple times. But I'm still trying.

I've been trying to use our "Obedience Jar" where I put a fuzzball in the jar (marbles would work too--just couldn't find any when I went to the store for this) every time they obey. When the jar is full, we'll do something fun together.

I'm also putting together some personal charts for each child that include their daily routines for morning, after school, and evening (you know, make bed, say prayers, practice piano, do homework, whatever chores they have, brush teeth, etc.) and having them mark off what they do as they go. That can be really motivating for some kids, so we're going to try it. With the piano practicing, one thing I struggle with getting them to do, they mark off on their practice chart if they do it and then at the lesson (I teach them now) I will see how many days they have practiced and reward them accordingly.

And mostly, I just try to give them a consequence without getting upset. "Well, if you don't come in when I call you, then you can go straight to bed after dinner without your story time with us" or something along those lines.

It's a work in progress. But I feel like I've been yelling less these last few weeks.

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