Saturday, March 3, 2012

Put a Sock In It (Parents - That Means You!)

Had a lovely discussion with the psychologist this week regarding behavior modification and my need to do some 'tweaking.' So, the discussion included immediate rewards and immediate consequences. He knew well the cycle I have lapsed into which is giving Preston twelve chances at something (which means that I'm nagging about something twelve plus times). This gives both Preston and I the opportunity to reach an aggitated state which equals two people having melt-downs. This means I go back to steadfastly applying 1-2-3 Magic and after two warnings he goes to his bedroom to take eight (minutes). I did this later that day and he went to a time-out and read a book calmly while in there - no kicking and screaming, banging on the door or yacking.

I realized by my own wisdom how important that I ditch talking and lecturing and simply consequence or actually follow through with the '3' count. This is of equal importance with my step-son who I lecture about everything and it NEVER sinks in. I'm sure on some cellular level he is absorbing what he is being told to be accessed at some point in the future when he takes his magic pill like Bradley Cooper in Limitless, but for now it is a total waste of brainpower, energy and my amazing display of vocabulary. So, back to NO TALK, NO EMOTION. For my sanity, and for my kids'sanity. I pulled out my seventh grade journal the other night and was impressed by the fact that I too hated being told what to do, how to do it and that my parents were ruining my life with their stupid rules. Crazy eh? Who'd of thought? I do remember kicking against them at times but always knowing that they were right and there was wisdom in what they were doing. I just hated it. Hated how smart they were. Especially my dad. He rarely got worked up - he just left me notes with consequences on them if I didn't clean up my act. That was a good reminder for me that my step-son is going to hate our discipline and rules, but it is supposed to be that way.

And on that note, I found a fabulous quote from an article I found on http://www.attitudemag.org/ One mom would say to her child when the child said they hated her was: "Well, I love you enough for the both of us." And that was it. And with these kids that are so verbally nasty (and not everyone will understand that; there were SO MANY comments about how unacceptable it is that a child ever say such harsh things - they obviously don't have a child with ODD!), that's kind of all you can do. It's bait for these kids and they are gators in the water hoping you will jump in and fight them. As Jim Fay would say, "You can't argue with the ridiculous." We all love our kids. The other nugget of wisdom for today is that you will feed the problem (the child's behavior) with overly harsh or inconsistent discipline. Immediate, manageable consequences consistently.

Here's a toast to more good days than bad ones. And to us parents to keep our cool.

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