We pride ourselves on having the friendliest
and most welcoming forums for moms and moms to be! Please take a moment
for free so you can be a part of our growing community of mothers.
If you have any problems registering please drop an email to email@example.com.
Our community is moderated by our moderation team so you won't see spam or offensive messages posted on our forums. Each of our message boards is hosted by JustMommies hosts, whose names are listed at the top each board. We hope you find our message boards friendly, helpful, and fun to be on!
My kids are 7, 6, and 3. It seems like every morning involves several instances of discipline for each child. My three year old, I understand, but the older two, it's the same ground being retread. Primarily, they're just not listening. I feel like I didn't even say whatever the comment or instruction was, despite consequences and explanations. Is this just a given, or am I doing something wrong?
Married to a wonderful man
Mommy to DD, DS1, & DS2
Well it would depend entirely on what it is you're trying, and what it is they're doing. However I am a firm believer that when one method stops working(or never did), you should start looking to alternative methods. Sometimes trying the same thing over and over is only going to frustrate everyone involved.
Me, I'm not into a physical discipline. Unless you would count physically removing a child from a situation and placing them somewhere else. That's about as physical as it gets for me.
I am quite fond of alternative punishments and discipline when necessary. Including anything I know the child doesn't like, if necessary. Writing a note/letter about what has been done, why it shouldn't be done and what I can do to help them make sure it doesn't happen again.
I'm also a firm believer in talking. I do that a lot. I sit down with them, and talk. Not just about what happened and why it shouldn't, but all sorts of things. My kids aren't those ages anymore(mine are older now), but this method has been pretty satisfactory for most minor issues.
If I need a minute to figure out what it is I intend to do, I separate myself from the child(ren), and the child(ren) from siblings, and take a few moments to think about it. This is especially helpful when you've said the same things over and over, yet the action(s) continue, and it frustrates you.
A mad parent is not an effective parent. You can't discipline when you're utterly frustrated. You need a clear mind. The child needs a clear mind to process whatever it is you have to say too. So, separation can help with that. If that means someone goes to the couch to sit and think, someone goes to the stairs and thinks, while you go into another room to think...that's what should happen. Then, you can sit down and discuss the problem.
Some kids are a lot more strong willed than others. Some may need repeated discipline for the same action before it stops. A lot of things, are just general ornery behavior and may even stem from pure boredom. That's not to say those parents don't provide for the kids. Even children with everything they could ever possibly want, get bored. But it's not all that hard to find you have too much time on your hands. For kids, they're not always the greatest at filling that time, so you'll have to do it for them until they can.
My kids have their ornery moments too. I don't think there are a whole lot of kids who don't, lol. Usually for my kids, it happens when they're bored-or seemingly bored anyway. So, I fill their time. If what they're doing is just minor, they'll get a talking to and suggestions of things they can do that will occupy them better. Then off they'll go. If it's not so minor, or it's a repeated offense of the same thing, they get a stern talking to, and it's not usually a short conversation either. Then, they'll end up with chores they wouldn't normally do(and perhaps some other consequence relevant to whatever it is they did/are doing). The chores aren't so much a punishment, just as a reminder that if they can't find better ways to deal with boredom, I will find better ways and they probably won't like them. The whole "are you really this bored, would you like me to find you something to do" and a stern look works great for my kids now, and has for quite a few years now. They usually get that line and look when they've been told, more than once, to knock something off and aren't listening. But then I've never had to count to three with any of my kids, despite when they act up. I never did decide what would happen when I got to three because I've only hit 2 a total of four times between all three kids, lmao. I probably would've been screwed if I'd ever gotten to three, since I really had no clue what the punishment would have been(since I don't believe in physical punishments).
I have had my kids sit down and apologize-and yes I know what most people think of "forcing" a child to apologize. It's not quite like that. It's more of a talking to, that involves them understanding what they did was wrong and why we need to apologize when we do something wrong. I haven't had to do one of those talks in years now though. My kids fully understand when an apology is necessary and how to go about it, without reminders now. But when they were younger, they did(like all kids) need reminders from time to time that apologies are a sign of good manners and intelligence. Realizing you did something you shouldn't, realizing why you shouldn't, and understanding that when you do something you shouldn't-rectifying it is the best solution.
For younger kids, that will mean sitting them down, and explaining why it is you don't like(whatever they did/are doing), and having them explain why they did/are doing it. When it's siblings involved, you'll need both/all of them for that discussion.
Sometimes kids, like adults, need their space. They get cranky, they get agitated, they get fussy, they get tired, they get bored, they're not feeling well...whatever have you, they just need space. They'll act out to get it too, if they know you'll send them to their room(or some other action that separates them from others). I don't recommend sending a child to their room(with all their toys and gadgets) unless you can clearly tell whatever they're doing is because they need space(for whatever reason). Might sound like odd behavior, but it's really not. It's instinctual. Even adults do this. Kids just may not fully understand that this is exactly why they're acting up. Sometimes they might just need more one on one time with mom/dad/other family member. That's not always an easy thing to do when you have more than one child, adding more children just complicates that process(not a bad thing, so please don't think that I'm blaming the parents). That's when it's your turn to discipline yourself. One on one time with a child during just school time, won't cut it, and no child is going to see that as "quality" time, even if they love school when all you do is school work together. It really won't. In those instances somehow, some way, you need to figure out how to spend at least an hour or two with each child, alone, at the very least, a few times a week. Not always easy, but I do think all parents can, and should(barring any circumstance which makes this impossible. I had a few years when one child would be with me in the hospital so a lot of one on one time with the older sibling just was NOT in the cards).
When mine get agitated with each other, or start fighting over really stupid stuff and telling them to knock it off doesn't work, I separate them. Sometimes that means all three go to a separate area in the house, or even outside. It's not really a huge offense, more of an annoyance than anything, and they always pick the worst times possible to do it too. But usually, it's because one, or more, need some space(sometimes for completely different reasons).
For the most part my kids get along really well, but, they have their moments. They are far fewer now than they were when they were younger, though. I guess they've figured out how to occupy their time better, or get their own space when they clearly need it. But they've been through a lot together and they have moments, incidents and such that helped them form a bond a lot of kids may not have with their siblings. That probably contributes to them getting along better than a lot of siblings might. That's not to discount the bond between other kids and their siblings. They've just had some really rough years, mostly due to medical issues. So valuing time spent together would easily overshadow the general ornery behavior all kids do have now and then.(heck even all adults have, lol)
So really, I guess it depends on what it is they're doing, why they're doing it, and what method(s) you've used to put a stop to it so far.
Well it is a lot of sibling fighting, arguing with me (or more debating), and random little things like sitting on top of the sofa (it's in the middle of the room and I don't want it to tip). And constantly being wild and noisy. It has been rainy here recently, but seriously. I just don't remember them ever getting like this before.
We don't have a program in place, unless I'm misunderstanding your meaning for that. I use a big mix of things from time out to exercises (mountain climbers) to spanking to logical consequences. Outright defiance and disrespect receives mountain climbers. Refusal to do that receives a spanking (except the 3 year old is only spanked). Time outs are for sibling issues and wildness. It's to illustrate the relational distance they put between each other when they treat others poorly. Logical consequences are for whenever they seem most appropriate. You pay for things you break, fix your mistakes, etc. Work before you eat and choose to eat what's provided or wait until the next offer of food. I will own that my response time is not always tight, but I don't think I've been that lax recently.
A few recurrent issues are my 7 year old usurping my role with the younger two after several lengthy explanations of why she can't do that and how she can approach the situation properly (she can't issue commands, she CAN kindly remind them of what I've said or what have you).
My 6 year old refuses to stay off the top of the couch. If I said, get off, he'll get off immediately, but an hour later he's up there again. If I say "stay off" then he might stay off until the next day. Again, I explain why I don't want that happening and that I'm never going to be ok with them doing that. Still happens at least once a day. This week I've just been issuing a set of mountain climbers whenever I see him up there. He is strong willed and he does not take gentle redirection. It has to be "No." Not "let's not" or "please don't." He just doesn't register it. idk why.
And again, my 7 year old, arguing, but in a legal kind of way. She uses precedent. "But you said..." "But yesterday we..." It's always little stuff that I'd like to keep fluid (it's not like my ground rules change). It's whether or not I heat their sandwiches or let them eat a muffin over seat work. I've explained at least twice that those are contingency type deals where I reserve the freedom to decide each day how we'll do things. If they want a heated sandwich, they can use the microwave. I'm just not going to microwave four sandwiches every single day just because I did it one day.
You do have a point about the one on one time. And no, I don't count school. Our "school" would take 45 minutes tops if they didn't waste time. I record all of their activities, though. But I'm potty training the 3 year old and chores alone take up a lot of time (especially with all this in the background). And Christmas, of course. One on one time isn't happening much at all. I also have a hard time shelving the background noise in my mind.
But then we've also been very spotty the past month with our routine. So maybe they're bucking the system, now that I'm trying to reestablish it. Or maybe I'm doing something wrong. Too much or not enough of something.
haha. Did that answer anyone's question at all?? I'm just throwing things out there and I hope it makes some sort of sense.
Married to a wonderful man
Mommy to DD, DS1, & DS2