I've read through some of the posts but truly can't take the time to read each one to see if this has been answered so sorry if repeating a question/topic : ) I'm struggling so much with habits w/ my two DD (5yo & 2yo). Not to whine or anything but rather to inform you so that maybe it will help you in giving me ideas...I'm divorced. This was not my choice so has made it tougher & their father is VERY minimally involved partially by my choice b/c he has some significant issues that I want to which I want to minimize them being exposed. I'm very drained emotionally, spiritually & at times, physically. I know b/c of this I haven't been the most consistent in my discipline & working on habits & have frequently overreacted when having an especially tough time emotionally thus making what I'm doing not the most effective. I am pretty much the sole financial support (another stressor) but luckily God blessed me with the ability to get a good education so that I can support us just working weekends & be with my children all week. All that said, I'm having particular difficulty with my 5yo (& see my 2yo picking up some of it) with being "mouthy" & making rude facial expressions & body movements (wiggling her head, sticking out tongue, etc.) at me if she doesn't like what I ask of her- ex. I ask her to please go open a door for her sister & she was playing so she starts telling me why she doesn't need to go do that & instead needs to keep playing. I tell her she needs to do what I said. She may argue some more (sometimes she does just comply) then I tell her to go to timeout. She either starts screaming "no, no, no" & flailing her arms around like I'd just threatened to do something horrible (nothing horrible has ever happened to her) or sticks her neck out while wiggling her head & says something like, "I don't even care what you say!" She will go to timeout & not stand like she's supposed to or make disrepectful sounds toward me. She also will make it so difficult to administer other discipline such as a spanking by flailing around, covering her bottom w/ feet, hands, however she can. It's BAD & makes me furious! The one thing I really expect of my children is obedience & respect. She always has consequences for this behavior, but as I said I've not been consistent in the consequence used (i.e. one time it earns a timeout, another time a spanking, another time no sitting with or rocking her before bed, etc.) so know this is part of the problem. I've read "Raising Godly Tomatoes" & parts of the CM books about habit training. I understand the RGT approach & have somewhat used it successfully but again, I'm completely worn down & don't have anyone else to step in so I can do anything (shower, go to the potty, cook, eat, etc.) so it's really hard to have them "staked" to me all the time (could do it but just very hard especially when feeling so frustrated with behaviors, tired & overwhelmed that I'm just going to be yelling at them for everything). I'm truly clueless about what you actually do to develop the habits..are there consequences or what for not being attentive, cleanly, respectful, etc. Maybe I'm completely confused & misunderstanding habits. Outside of the disrespect & disobedience, there are issues such as developing attentiveness. I know CM doesn't start formal schooling until 6, but I've just discovered this method & DD is still enrolled in an online public school (taking out at end of year) so am just trying to learn & slowly incorporate some CM methods but still have to meet the school's requirements. I will tell her I'm going to read something & she needs to pay close attention b/c I will not be repeating what I read & am going to have her tell me about it (trying to do narrating w/ some of the work she already has to do rather than as it is assigned). I read a paragraph then ask her to tell me about it. She says she has no clue! Now, I'd attribute that to her not comprehending, but her comprehension is just fine & she reads at about a 2nd or 3rd grade level & plenty of times can relate back to me about what she or I either one have read...she's just not paying attention. I realize that could be the fault of the material, but is it more? Is it a poor habit? How do I handle that? I read the post about the If-Then Chart & Vinegar. I have no problem w/ "outside the box" methods. All I want is to bring some peace to this home, some respect, some cheerful obedience even when they aren't happy about it necessarily. I know I'm to blame for the problems in that my poor children suffer b/c of the hurt, pain & struggle I've been through from my ex-husband so haven't been the best model. I've prayed for help until I've just given up believing (to some extent) that God even gives this kind of help. I NEED help desperately in coming up w/ a good plan for developing discipline/habits in my children that I can clearly relate to them & carry out without having to think to hard lol! I like the object lessons. I believe in logical consequences however, I can't always think of these. My 5yo is very strong-willed but don't know if this is her nature or something I have created in her or the result of some of what she has experienced due to her father's choices (he first left when she was not quite 2 months old, & I tried hard to save the marriage so he was in & out a few times over these 5 1/2 yrs). My mom said to me, "I thought you were strong-willed, but you were nowhere near this strong-willed" lol. So I listed a few things for a potential if-then chart... if- arguing/not doing what asked 1st time without an attitude (no then), if-using ugly words or tone with others (no then), if- making ugly faces, movements (no then). There are obviously other issues but think I need to focus on correcting this first. I know this is very long & am very thankful for any of you who respond. I know you can't tell me exactly what will work, but just to get good ideas, support & encouragement in carrying those out, etc. I'm considering getting Laying Down the Rails but am unsure if it gives clear ideas for today b/c the CM series much too difficult for me to sort through & implement...I have no gardner, nurse, cook or other to send her too when working on these things lol! Just me & the 2yo with my parents on the weekends while I work.
Clueless about habit forming(17 posts) (10 voices)
Welcome, Betsy! Sorry for all you've been through....I'm sure it's very stressful. I just prayed for you to have peace and guidance, I know it must be overwhelming at times. I don't have much advice....except the If/Then chart sounds like a good idea. If you can write out the main offenses with a consequence right there so you don't have to think about it when it arises, I think that would help. I would put character training above school work at this age. It will make future years much easier, and she's already a fine reader. I would also try to get the grandparents on board w/your consequences, so it's consistent. This forum is a great place to come to, glad you're here! Blessings, Gina
Thanks Gina! I agree...the clear If-Then Chart (just to come up w/ good 'thens' lol), focusing on character training over school work & getting my parents on-board (my mom is willing just haven't been able to get a good, clear plan to give her, my dad is just a dad of that generation & not opposed to things but not super involved unless they make him crazy lol) will help. She's quite bright & would totally get the chart I think. I guess I've just been too overwhelmed & maybe unfocused & lazy at times to put one together before b/c I have had the thought : ) Again, thanks for your input & prayers!
Yeah, the 'thens' can be difficult. And I struggle w/consistency myself...too often catch myself saying, 'if you do it again....'
When I'm focused, my kids get it pretty quickly when the consequence matches the 'crime' somewhat. Like if they complain about doing something, give them more to do. If they don't throw garbage away, leave shoes out...must walk item to proper place their age (9 yo walks back and forth 9 times to garbage can or whatever). Good luck with your chart! :)Gina
I just want to come over and give you and your daughter some great big hugs. You have been through some major stress and need to find your place in the world again. For both of your sakes, you need to make sure you are doing what you can to take care of yourself, as well as trying to help your daughter.
It is very common in situations like yours for a child to act out as she is trying to gain control over her world, since things have been uncertain and out of control. She needs to know that you can take care of things and take control of your life and hers. I believe that will come from two angles. First, she needs as much extra comfort and understanding as you can give. I would spend plenty of time just loving on her, spending positive time together, etc. She needs to feel secure in your love. Make that the priority first. Then she will be more ready to also accept the other side of things, which is the discipline. If she isn't sure of you, then she isn't sure that you are going to set boundaries in her world so that she feels safe. That is when the behaviour problems come out - she is testing the limits to see if you are in control.
Of course, you can't separate the two sides of things, but make sure the emphasis is on showing her as much affection as possible. For every time you need to enforce a consequence, you need to take the time to build the positive as well. That is true for all children, but especially in times of stress and confusion.
Welcome, Betsy. I feel for you and your situation. I am the original poster of the if-then chart post. I am still trying to figure things out really. It is a long process that takes time. Be sure to match a Scripture up with each topic on your if-then chart. I bought mine from doorpost.com but you could easily make your own. It helps to know to go to the chart at times when you might be tired or stressed and not sure what to do. You can then share the Scripture with your children as well.
I would like to state that I don't recommend the vinegar as a consequence or punishment. We discussed Scripture about the words from our mouths/tongues. There are so many Scriptures you could choose to share with your children on this topic. Since they know how bitter vinegar is compared to how sweet sugar is, we can talk about how their words are compared to these; if their words/tone are sweet like sugar or bitter like vinegar. We also talk about the Proverbs about building our home up or tearing it down with our own hands. We talk about wise vs. foolish and how their behavior was and why and if it pleases the Lord or not. In the morning after breakfast, I read aloud some of Proverbs so they are familiar with them. When they are not kind, I remind them to treat others with honor and respect. I have them say 2-4 (based on age) nice things in place of the not nice thing they said. I will tell them to not speak to me until they can speak to me with honor and respect using kind words. I have to watch my tone that it is encouraging and not nagging, as Sonya's books say. I am starting to see improvements.
Just another thought: how much media exposure do your kids have? Could there be a bad influance on tv/book/computer? Is she spending time with an older child who has a bad attitude? If you can identify a negative influance, you could minimize her exposure to it. In contrast, if there is a character with good behavior from a favorite book you could remind her of that and read more of those stories to her.
I just got a book called Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids. It was recommended by another SCM member. I can't wait to see what it's about.
Also check this out on SCM's sister site: http://intentionalparents.com/2005/03/01/discipline-102/
and on SCM:
Hugs and prayers,
I can't recommend enough this wonderful book of insight and wisdom for moms....
Welcome to our forum. Prayers of peace and blessings to you and your family!
I also think that she is trying to feel secure, and one way is by pushing how far you will let her go. The thought occured to me that perhaps she has watched your relationship with daddy - how he came and went for a while, presumably with some anger and hard words mixed in with the better stuff, and just perhaps - she is testing to see if you will "send her away". Remember that would be from her perspective - she won't understand all the underlying and more relevant to you reasons - he is gone. Just a thought, and I am not pointing fingers at anyone.
Ditto on the above advice - I too think that your chart based on your beliefs/realistic follow-thrus will be invaluable. I have noticed that my most strong willed children seem to "melt" when I physically touch them (with kindness - a hug, running my fingers up and down their arms, rubbing their back) and almost always forget to be so angry or irritable. It doesn't always work, but it does help me overcome my anger as well in order to deal with the situation.
Just wanted to echo a lot of the sentiments echoed above, especially what Joanne said. I am a child of divorced parents and so can attest to the fact that more than ever she needs that extra sense of reassurance that you are there and you love her.
We use a variation on the if-then chart in our house and have found it very helpful and effective in motivating me to be consistent in carrying out appropriate consequences, so I whole heartedly agree with that suggestion as well.
I personally didn't care for the Raising Godly Tomatoes approach (although I know a lot of people so like it and have used it successfully in their home), but I really appreciated Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart. My aunt gave it to me last summer and it has made a lot of positive difference in the way we handle discipline and habit formation in our home. He focuses on looking past the behavior and addressing the heart issues that drive that behavior. I am currently reading another book "Don't Make Me Count to 3" by Ginger Plowman which comes from a similar philosophy as Shepherding..., but is shorter and very, very practical....might be a good starting place for you if you don't have a ton of time or energy to invest in reading parenting books right now. Wish I had read both of these books earlier in my parenting journey. I also really, really love the book that simple home linked to above for insight and encouragement to keep on going even on those hard days.
Blessings, and welcome to the Forum!
Yes, I agree with each of you. There were definitely times of anger to which she was exposed unfortunately. I desperately wanted to not have my daughters be in a divorced, broken home, but their father is lost & pursuing his addictions (not drugs/alcohol) as any addict does so could care less the impact on anyone. So, yes, I've been quite angry, & at times was not good about preventing them from being exposed to the arguments. Don't worry...I don't take offense or feel blamed by anything you may say as I can tell you are only offering help, insight & encouragement. Believe it or not, I'm a professional counselor, but all of this with my ex has really been like suffering a mini-trauma so I'm not as able to stop, analyze & respond from the place of the knowledge I have. Everything is like a big mush of stuff...I can get a plan together and work on one, two, maybe three things (household chores, schooling, discipline, my outside the home job, paying bills, etc.), but feel overwhelmed trying to do it all so things fall apart (ex. house stays clean- ok, not the WHOLE house lol, meals are prepared, we bathe but DD isn't getting taught, forget to pay some bills, etc.). My friend is going to bring me "1-2-3 Magic" tonight. The "Don't Make Me Count to 3" sounds good... I need quick & practical for sure. Anyone use Love & Logic? I love to read but swear I've not read but maybe 1 book a year (including parenting books) since 5yo was born. I know it can sound like my kids are out-of-control, but they really aren't. They are generally good, well-behaved girls but this attitude on my 5yo is unacceptable...I just need to find a calm, more loving way to handle it especially since going through all this with my ex has had the impact of making me less compassionate, patient, etc. Any method that is very strict (not sure the right term) will tend to lead me to be a bit cold in my approach. I really appreciate all your feedback. I'm going to get stuff together for the If-Then Chart & hopefully get it filled in with some ideas from here & the recommended books!
I feel for your situation. It will get better. The bitterness subsides especially when you find a caring, loving person. I think all of the advice above is good. I might add that I beleive she is also picking up behaviors from a source. I beleive Sara mentioned media. I also agree. It may be a the littlest things but mouthiness and disrespect is a big thing on TV and in commercials. I have found that even with the limited TV that we have in our house if they go to Grandparents, neighbors, ect.. They can pick up something in a matter of seconds. The hair flipping and attitude sounds like something from a kids movie. We limit our kids to family videos. Mostly ones that were around in the 50's and 60's and 70's. LOL...:) We make it special by having a movie night with popcorn or chips and pizza ect... We do not have cable or public TV. It is so stressful when we go somewhere and someone has it on. I think about all of the stuff our children are being exposed to. The Maxwell's have some good theories about some of the things they don't expose their kids too. I like their CD's and S.M. Davis has some really good videos about Family Problems. I also like the Love and Logic program. However, It sometimes is a to much to think about program. I did pick up several things that I use on the spur of the moment and shock even myself. :) A really good one for your younger ones is "Raising a Thinking Child by Mirna Shure. It has some really good logical thinking for the kids. They have workbooks that are great for little ones. I Really like "NO Greater Joy" by the pearls. It tells you what to do about disiplining children. and what things to do, and the logic behind it. They talk about what others beleive, about what G-d says, how to discipline, and why the others theories don't work. A very educational way to discipline. The 1,2,3, Magic worked for my son when he was younger but then I was listening to others with the logic of "They should obey the first time" This is true. Do we set them up to not listen to by giving them several times to listen? A good story that was told was one of a man telling his son to drop, crawl, and run to him. If he wouldn't have done exactly what he had said, when he had said, the boy would have been attacked by the snake that was in the tree. So, you see if your child has to be stubborn till the count of three then he/she would have been dead. I also think that if our kids were to go to war are they going to learn a command the first time? If not then they could end up dead. This is just my thoughts on the whole thing. You can get "NO Greater Joy" on cassettes also so there is no reading. :) I understand about you being wore out. I feel that way sometimes and just have to retreat to download. I have been doing the If--Then chart and I use mouthiness to seperate my child from us. I send him to his room. I tell him we are seperated from G-d by our sin. I find that it is effective. Every child is different though. If 1,2,3, magic works and you are exhausted then try it. You may have to unteach it though if you find that it is better to learn to listen the first time. Good luck and I hope you will find a way that works for both of you ... Blessings
I know she could have picked something up from TV, but generally doubt it b/c of what I know she watches. I let my parents know what is & isn't ok b/c sometimes they just see a cartoon & think it is ok as these are modern cartoons that they have no clue about (like Sponge Bob). Of course I never know for sure & sometimes we as adults don't notice/pick up on things the same as children. I have considered completely cutting out tv, but not there yet (actually did it probably a year & half ago but long story). Now...picking up from others is a possibility as she does have interaction with kids that I don't observe such as church & related activities & was in a mom's morning out/preschool type program for a few hours a week until this year.
I'm definitely looking at a variety of ways to handle this & not stuck on 1,2,3 Magic. I was thinking the same thing about it...obeying the first time. I had thought I might could modify it by doing to 3 then telling them only until 2 then down to 1 over a period of time...small steps. What little I use of it (never read the book just know the basic concept) seems pretty effective, but I definitely want & expect obedience the first time. Hopefully I can find some of these books at the library or at least cheap online. Thanks again!
I have never heard of 1,2,3 Magic. But I can tell you that I picked up on the counting to 3 thing from my cousin who used it for her son; not a good reason, I know. But I regret it. Sure it works pretty good because they had better get it done before I get to 3, or else. Or else what? I don't know since I rarely get to that. Usually it is to take away whatever it is they are doing that is causing them to delay. Why can't I just take it away for lack of obedience the first time I asked? But I have talked with my kids about why I don't want to count to 3 any more. My kids seem to understand; although taken by surprise when I didn't count to 3, lol. I even said that "delayed obedience is hardly worth having". Either Charlotte Mason or Sonya Shafer has said something like that. I think I picked it up on the Laying Down the Rails dvd. I do have the book, but I think I got more out of the dvd and have watched it several times. It focuses on the top 3: attention, obedience, and telling the truth (the whole truth and nothing but the truth). It is good to have both the dvd and book. I watched the dvd while on my exercise machine (multi-tasking). You can look in the book at the section of habit training you are working on and don't have to read the whole book. It is more of a resource. You can use it along side some of the other books mentioned.
I am sure the divorce has affected her some, too. I am an adult child of divorced parents (they divorced after I was grown up and married) and I have issues from it, I know. It is good advice to give her lots of love and attention and build up a good relationship of trust.
Here is an already make if/then chart that you could look at and modify as needed. http://www.raisingarrows.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/If-Then-Chart.pdf
Wise words for moms, by Ginger Plowman who wrote Don't Make Me Count to Three, is simmilar, but has heart probing-to walk your child through their behavior and scripture for encouragement as well as reproof. http://www.gingerplowman.com/
Ruth, the If-Then Chart on that site looks good. I'm just not sure what to do for "chastisement"...I found an explanation that it basically means the worst punishment you have, but I then have to find a severe punishment. I can think of a few but not necessarily anything I think is the best to use. What types of things do any of you use for "chastisement" just so I have a starting place.
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