Wednesdays are all about "family life" - I'll probably write about things like parenting, our adoption journey, marriage and my faith. Today I thought I'd share a recent strategy we've been using for discipline.
You may have noticed the recent additions to my reading list - Kid Cooperation, The No-Cry Discipline Solution and She's Gonna Blow! (That last one was for me.) I suddenly found myself dealing with a teenage attitude from my 6 1/2 year old and I didn't know how to handle it. Everything was suddenly "I don't care" and "I don't have to" and "So what." Then there was the yelling and the hitting and the kicking. Lexie became this little monster (not like herself) and I didn't know what to do. (Dave has been traveling a lot lately so I think that may have contributed to the behavior but it's still no excuse.)
Of course I never really had time to read the books but what I did read at least gave me comfort knowing that I wasn't alone. (I'll have you know, I took a quiz in one of the books to see what kind of parent I am. Turns out I'm a "Balanced Parent," the book even said "why are you reading this book?" That made me feel a whole lot better.) The books also reminded me of the importance of being consistent, something Dave and I always try to do but it's much harder when there is only one of us around.
Lexie has always done better with positive reenforcement than with punishing bad behavior. When we reward the good things she does she wants to do them more and I think she focuses more on being good. However, if we yell or take something away, it's like a downward spiral and the behavior stays the same or may even get worse.
With this in mind, I created a REWARD CHART for Lexie.
This is something we started a couple of years ago when we wanted Lexie to start helping around the house more - make her bed, clear her dishes, keep her room clean, etc. I updated the form and started using it about 3 weeks ago and it's already worked wonders. She doesn't get second chances, if she yells once, she doesn't get a sticker on that square; if she doesn't make her bed in the morning, she doesn't get a sticker; if she yells at me, she doesn't get a sticker. It works so well, I wish I'd started using it sooner. Now don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying Lexie's behavior has totally changed. (Just check out the first 3 behaviors - we've still got some work to do!) However, she knows that if she acts correctly she can earn daily and weekly rewards. (Click on the picture to get a closer look at her possible rewards.)
The first week she earned $1, the second week she got $1 plus she got to bake with me and the third week she earned $1, baking with mom plus a playdate! I'm really proud of her progress and the best part is I don't feel like I'm "gonna blow" anymore! :)