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How do you discipline?

I don't know what to do with my kids anymore...I started having anxiety a year ago and I hate to say it but I think it is from the kids. I have a 5 year old, and 8 year old and a 20 month old and the 20 month old listens better than the other 2. I don't have anyone to give me a break other than dh but he works A LOT so usually I don't EVER get me time unless they are in school my 5 year old is in preschool half a day. But I tell them to clean their room or whatever it takes me 4-5 Times to get them to do it and my 5 year old won't help.

My girls fight NONE STOP and my 8 year o l d is miss bossy. I do corners, time outs, sending them to their room, spankings (if needed but haven't in a while since it doesn't seem to work) I take things away, and grounding nothing works. If they ask for something and I tell them no then they ask every 5 minutes. My 5 year old is on the couch as we speak and she is sitting here making noises and gets half up and says look mom I am up. She is my most challenging. She is sooooo bad you tell her something she just sits there and stairs at you. I don't know what to do anymore.

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Asked by Anonymous at 3:15 PM on Apr. 13, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (8)
  • I send mine to their room, not for 3 mins or 5 mins but for however long it takes for them to be ready to share toys, play nicely, etc. And they only have beds and clothes in their room so it's not a fun place.
    I don't tell them something more than once. I don't yell or nag. If I have to tell them something a 2nd time, they get 10 mins off their bedtime for each time I have to remind them.
    For the repeated asking, they obviously think you are going to give in. Stick to your guns.

    Answer by missanc at 3:43 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • Get the book 1-2-3 Magic. Hang in there. Next fall they will both be off to school all day. You just have to get through the summer :(

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 4:35 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • I approach discipline in a connection-oriented or relationship-focused way. In contrast to a behavioral focus that relies on the use of punishment/rewards to leverage kids into changing their behavior. The idea is to respond to problematic behaviors in ways that help to address the reasons for the behaviors. This is about recognizing that all behaviors (positive & negative) express feelings & needs, and responding with this awareness in mind. So your focus isn't solely on the behavior (stopping it) but on addressing the underlying issues that it signals (behavior is essentially a symptom.)

    One rule of thumb is to respond with empathy & validation rather than resistance/negativity. Or, "connect before correct." (Many times, the "correct" part doesn't even need to happen because kids get off track not because they don't KNOW not to hit, etc., but because they're impulsive and too dysregulated to think well & do what they know.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:00 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • So, I respond to problematic behavior with empathy & validation, conveying understanding for why something is happening. I also set limits with warmth, not anger, so the kids have a limit to "bump up against" when they have a lot of upset feelings (disappointment, disconnect, hurt, sadness, helplessness, frustration, anger) that are clearly driving off-track behavior. The limit is something they can react to, and the warmth provides safety & makes space for their emotions (versus punishing them.) They get those feelings out & then are noticeably more resilient, flexible & cooperative. When parenting supports (rather than undermines or erodes) relationship, it actively encourages their natural cooperation.
    Positive modeling is a big part of it. Empathizing & validating actually models the behavior you want from them. Reflective listening is one of the KEY tools.
    With repeated asking, my main job is to stay regulated, myself!

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:01 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • Take 1 child and stand over them if necessary to ensure they do the chore assigned and to not let up.
    Move on to the second one.
    Good things only happen when there is cooperation.
    I am not above giving one child a treat and exclude another. I reward the good.
    That includes tv, five minutes later to bed, craft time, bath bubbles, etc.
    It also includes removal of toys, 15 minutes earlier bed time, no snacks etc.
    You are in charge. You need to know that you are in charge and project that.
    No giving in because you are tired or whatever.
    BTW do nt send a child to their room if it is flled with toys and the phone and tv and......

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:39 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • Have you tried enlisting the help of the older ones? Get your eight-year-old to help your five-year-old wit coloring or reading. Get the older two to entertain the baby some, so they feel grown up. Also, catch them in the act of being good and make a big deal out of praising them when you do.

    I try to keep the consequences as closely related to the crime as possible. Fighting means the toy being fought over is taken away. (Putting toys in timeout often works better than putting kids there.) If your five-year-old gets up or stares at you, make her face the corner, and timeout starts over every time she talks or stands up.

    Answer by Ballad at 7:07 PM on Apr. 13, 2013

  • The book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (by Faber & Mazlish, who also wrote a book on sibling issues called Siblings Without Rivalry) lays out a lot of positive principles for communicating in ways that help situations, rather than ways that lead to escalation, resentment & resistance. You can increase cooperation by making the sorts of changes they describe, because communicating better directly (positively) affects relationship.
    Those books are old classics & pretty easy to find in public libraries, as well as on
    Tom Gordon's "Parent Effectiveness Training" (P.E.T.) presents this material even more thoroughly & thoughtfully.

    The reflective listening I mentioned in my post above (Gordon calls it active listening) is a powerful tool because it gives a way of responding constructively to stuff you don't like hearing, so you have another choice besides engaging it & entering a struggle.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:17 AM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • i do natural consequences, mine are 4 (almost 5) and 2. natural consequences are based on the "crime" if i ask my oldest to pick up her dirty clothes and she doesnt, well then those clothes dont get washed. she always has plenty to wear, but her favorite shirt is probably gonna stay dirty. natural consequences keep you from having to be the bad guy all the time...the punishments are just what happens when they dont listen.

    i use time outs as a cool down more than a punishment. if they are screaming they go to their room until they calm down. its nice for both them and me (so i dont have to hear the tantrum haha), but they get to decide when they can come out. now i bet this only works b/c its been the way we did it since they were pretty young. any new discipline is gonna take awhile for your oldest 2. i also take time outs for myself when im on the verge of losing it. it shows them that everyone gets angry sometimes.

    Answer by okmanders at 7:25 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

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