Discipline for your middle kids - ever feel as if you're repeating yourself over and over and over again? Of course you do! You're a mom!
Except, I felt lately as if we just weren't making any headway on some certain character issues and behaviors, despite my repeating, and some of my repeating was LOUD. Ouch.
Way back when our oldest was a little guy in diapers, my mom would send me clippings of John Rosemond's syndicated column. We always discussed his advice and loved his no-nonsense, non-psycho-babble approach to parenting. Big on relationships, little on fluffy feelings.
Somewhere along the way I forgot Dr. Rosemond, but last year had my relaionships with our two oldest teens vastly improved after reading Teen-Proofing. It's good stuff, and I'll touch on it in my next post, but...
Back to the repeating and the behaviors. I was reading John Rosemond's newsletter recently in which he described a "ticket system". Essentially, the child gets three "tickets" per day and each time an infraction occurs, the child loses a ticket. Three tickets down and the child spends the rest of her or his day in their room or on their bed.
Tickets on our fridge
This has been working brilliantly here. Several things are accomplished:
1. When I tell the child to go get a ticket off the fridge and put it on my desk, they immediately stop and realize that they have just displayed that bit of ugliness we have been working on. It causes them to stop dead in their tracks and change what they are doing.
2. There is grace in 3 strikes. On the first day, I reminded them or said things like, "That would be a ticket. Just so you know."
3. Once the 3 tickets are gone, the consequence is a total bummer. When two sisters lost their tickets by 11 a.m., it was a long day on their beds.
4. The older two (ages 10 and 7) hardly make it to 2 tickets lately. One is enough to get them thinking about what is coming out of their mouths and how they are treating others.
5. A frustrating child who is out of control makes life miserable for everyone, including me. Once they are on their bed, peace returns. If they end up taking a nap, quiet returns, too. Win/win.
I like not repeating myself. And when the whole goal of my parenting is to walk alongside a child to help them be more like Jesus, a reminder system that does have consequences seems to nicely complement our goals.