Monday, December 03, 2007

Reader Question

I just noticed that Jena had asked me a question in a comment on my post about obedience. As I was writing my reply to here, I thought maybe others would be interested in my answer as well. Here it is:

I just noticed your comment on my blog, sorry it it's been a while since you asked your question! There are a couple of things we do to encourage first time obedience. One tactic I use regularly, and probably works best for grade school age and up, is that if the child doesn't respond cheerfully and right away to a request, a second job will be added. Pretty quickly the child learns that it would have been easier to just do the initial request in the first place. Doing the request immediately, but with a poor attitude also merits an extra job. We are also training them all to respond with, Yes, Mommy or Yes, Daddy (or something along those lines) when we call them. If they are in the middle of doing something it is entirely acceptable for a child to respond, Yes, Mommy, may I finish "X" first? I also try to be considerate about what and when I'm asking them to do things...unless, of course, it was an assigned chore which should have been completed already. For the younger ones, practice seems to work best. If I call a little boy and he doesn't respond (or responds in an inappropriate way), we practice responding. I call the little boy and he responds (appropriately), multiple times. My goal is to make disobedience as mind-numbingly dull as possible. Practicing going into his room and not slamming the door ten times is just not on the average 4 year old's list of fun activities. The door hasn't been slammed since. I have found that if I am inconsistant, neither of these tactics work. The children are willing to play the odds to see if I carry-out the consequences. If I make a point to enforce the consequences every single time, even when it is not convenient for me, the results are seen nearly immediately. Also, I try to dole out the consequences in my most "matter-of-fact" way. (This can be hard for me sometimes when I just want to stand and scream...and sadly I'm not always able to stop myself from giving into this sinful behavior.) But, by taking the emotion out of it, and acting as though this is just what happens, the children respond better and don't feel as though it is a personal attack.

Oh, and still no call...about anything related to adoption or Dong Nai province or Vietnam.

3 comments:

Jena said...

elizabeth-
I just wanted to drop you a note to say
THANK YOU!!!!!

We are hard at work trying to positively discipline while teaching our children to submit to our authority.

I tried the "doing something mudane to teach the point over and over again" last week with our oldest(4) and it was brilliant. I asked her to come up the steps and do something. She would not. I clearly explained to her that if she did not come cheerfully when I asked, we would have to practice what it looked like to obey mommy and come up the steps the first time 4 TIMES!!!!
And so we, walked up and back down the steps 4 times and she hated it, and she has obeyed me when I have asked her to come since. I have had to ask her a couple times if she wants to practice when she initially balked, but she has learned that I mean business and then turns her attitude right around and obeys with a mostly cheerful, "okay mommy".....

Do you have any tips for VERY spirited almost 3 year olds????? We hace seen the consistent application of time-outs has helped drastically- but it really doesn't seem to address the heart----

thecurryseven said...

Jena,

I'm so glad I could help...and I wish I could really take credit for the practicing idea, but I'm sure I borrowed it from someone else...just can't remember who.

As to spirited 3yos, I wish I could help. Consistancy really helps, but, at least for mine, turning 4 helps even more. If you come across any good tips, I'd be happy to take you up on them!

Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

We've been wondering what magic potions you cook up for your kids. Glad to hear the truth. Stefie is going to practice this on me, I'm sure.
Tad

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