Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Seven: Discipline

My favorite line from a horrible movie I watched last night was, "having kids is like getting a tattoo on your face, you have to be fully committed." It really has nothing to do with what I'm about to write, but I loved that line. 

As noted in my recent blog about the boys' fighting, we've had some behavior issues around here lately.  I swear I am expecting to see Aiden roll out of his room soon with his arm wrapped around a girl, a pack of smokes rolled in his shirt sleeve, and a new skull tattoo on his arm.  He's even started lying.  Cole has perfected the art of the whine.  He can make up an injury of either physical or emotional nature at the drop of the hat and try to use it to work us. We're in a bad spot.

Thankfully, I have finally made progress on reading some of my latest child behavior book.  I have managed to find time in between breaking up fights and explaining Santa to study the latest in my string of behavior concept books.  I feel that we are at a critical point with the boys' behavior and we need to make a change. This happens every 6-9 months or so. We hit a point where one or both of the boys seem to be so out of control in their behavior that I buy a new behavior book, read it, attempt to implement all or most of what it says, feel totally overwhelmed by the implementation and somehow things get better anyway and we all go on about our business. 

But, I feel this time is different...which is how I usually feel, so we'll see, but I really like this book.  I spent most of the morning pouring over this book that has been recommended to me by multiple parents.  It is all about recognizing your child's feelings and making your children recognize what they are supposed to do by supporting their self esteem.  It completely speaks to the therapist I have always wanted to become...and completely challenges the easy to frustrate and get all crazy Mom I can be when my children are behaving poorly.  It is one of those parenting books that when I read it, I feel like I have been failing my children for the past 5 years.  I also feel a panic to change my discipline and the way I talk to my children.  So after briefing Alex on the general idea of the book (so far, I only got through 3 chapters, but I believe in implementing as I learn,) I decided to try out my new technique.

We were in the middle of a huge toy cleaning, trying to get rid of the excess my children view as normal before Santa brings more of it. Cole was asked to clean up the instruments from his dr.'s kit.  Cole refused and continued to play in his own world.  Because I was tyring so hard to focus on the steps outlined in the book it took Alex and me about 5 minutes to try to talk to Cole again.  (I only read three chapters and I can't even keep that information in my head.) As I was racking my brain for the next move in motivating my 3 year old to stop telling me it makes him feel sad when I ask him to clean up, it appears my child is already in touch with his inner emotions and it is working against me, I had to fight my desire to threaten him with a timeout and a spanking. We have now pathetically posted the steps we are supposed to try in discussions with our children in strategic locations in our house.  My brain has become so fuzzy that I become overwhelmed when trying to talk to my children about what needs to be done.  I need cue cards to train me how to speak to them.  This is ridiculous. 

I foresee my future discussions with my children interrupted by long pauses where I study these pieces of paper on the wall. If nothing else, perhaps my odd behavior will cause Aiden and Cole to startle into cooperation.  Perhaps they will feel so sorry for me in my confused state that they will try to help me rather than continue to ignore my requests.  Honestly, whatever works.  I can pretend to be confused for a long time...and I probably won't have to pretend very often.

I like this approach though.  I'm not comfortable spanking my children. One book I read describes spanking as an adult tantrum.  Several articles I've read talk about the affect of spanking on your child's future aggression or how they teach you to fear them rather than becoming capable of making rational decisions on their own.  I cling to these because I agree with them for no other reason than that's what I feel.  I have only spanked my kids when I am boiling or I feel desperate and that just doesn't work for me. The truth is, discipline is like sleep training, you can find a book that says whatever you want to hear.

So now I am off to read another chapter  and pray that my feeble brain can tackle at least one or two productive discussions with my 3 and 5 year old kids tomorrow with having to look at my notes.  If all else fails I still have that miniature elf sitting in my house that is apparently supposed to scare my children into behaving well for Santa for the next 30 days or so.  Too bad we had several instances where Aiden freaked out on Cole for misbehaving in front of the elf and Cole continued to threaten to beat the elf before it eats him.  We have a lot of work to do....me and the elf.

1 comment:

gracearthurr said...

the line from the horrible movie?eat,love, pray!!i so did not enjoy that movie and even worse i got the book as a christmas gift:-))