I've heard of kids who stop misbehavior with just a cross look or a stern word. Or who are eager to please adults.
This is not my kid. No one discipline plan has ever consistently worked, which is why I use 26 different tools to guide behavior (boy was that a surprise when I actually wrote them all out!) He adapts quickly to whatever I throw at him and then tests in a different way. That's actually quite smart, I think!
Also, with Brady, it seems that if he comes to the conclusion that good behavior is in his best interest, it is more likely to stick. The more creative I am, the better he responds.
The thing is, I cannot actually make him do something. But there I things I can control his access to that might influence or motivate him, and hopefully - ultimately - teach him.
But one thing that has been consistent is the idea of his "currency." Here is how Dr. Phil defines a child's currency in this article:
Define Your Child's Currency.
Find out what your child values — it could be a toy, a particular activity, or even a privilege like getting to stay awake to a particular hour. Dr Phil explains: "If you control the currency, you control the behavior that currency depends on." Once you understand what your child values, you can withdraw positive things (taking away the toy) or introduce negative things (making them take a time-out) as a form of discipline.
Here are some examples of Brady's currencies over the years:
- For a time, it was actual currency! He had a period where he adored money, not in a "love of money" sort of way but because he could count it and play around with the numbers it represented and watch as it accumulated. He could not stand if he lost any bit of his allowance.
- Sometimes only certain shows, "treat" shows like Sponge-Bob. When he loses TV privileges, he gets educational TV back first and has to earn the others later.
- Computer time.
- Nintendo DS.
- A later bed time.
- Sweet treats or treat foods like chips.
- At times, a special toy, though he has never been one to get attached to many toys.
- Peanut butter. Weird, I know, but it is his FAVORITE food and he will do a lot to get it back.
- A particular activity - movie or pool trip.
- Even the frivolity of our day. We spend a lot of time just him and I. I tell him if he wants us to have a fun, relaxed time together, he needs to earn it. If he misbehaves or disobeys, then I will have to be more serious and structured.
- Free play - if he continues a behavior, he will need to spend time in his room. If he refuses, then I begin removing other currencies.
- Access to The Prize Store. This is a last resort because we both love it so much, but if we're having a rough week, he will have to earn it back for the following week. I have also raised prices for awhile on the items, LOL.
If you drive carelessly, you'll get a ticket and you might lose your driving privileges.
We all have our currencies, don't we? The things that motivate us to do better, to do well, or the things we really want to avoid. It makes such good sense to me to figure it out for a kid too. That way you acknowledge that they may be individuals who make their own choices, but they don't have control over everything. None of us do. And there are consequences for poor choices.
Wow, this learning stuff in life is pretty tough, isn't it?