How I Do It: Disclipine Update

If y’all missed last week’s post, I announced that I’ll be starting back my How I Do It series.  I’ll still be referring back to my older posts, since they still may be helpful for you if your children are younger.  But with each topic that I’ve posted about before, I’ll be updating it based on where we are now, five years later.

One thing’s certain, it’s sure making me want to run again.  One post was all about the Behavior Chart here, which never worked for us.  If it’s worked for you, that’s awesome!  For us, I honestly just don’t have the time to write one up each week, and the kids never took to it well.  I guess it still could be an option later, but we’re okay without it for now.  On why these old posts have me wanting to be more consistent about my running?  The behavior chart post I found had my running stats and I seriously ran my three miles at least ten minutes faster than I do now.  TEN MINUTES!?  I’ve got to up my game.  Then again that was four years ago and I was running more consistently, but still…

Alright, back to the discipline topic.  I’m basically referring to an old post, but tweaking it a little based on the age of my children now.  To head back to the original post, check it out here.

How I Do It: Discipline

I’m strict. Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a laid back person, but I don’t put up with a lot of disobedience.  While I love and adore my kiddos, and we have the best time wherever we go, they know the rules.  And not following them can result in time-out or not receiving a treat that the others may enjoy later.  To be honest, my children are really sweet for the most part, but like most children they have their moments.

I feel like my teacher background has helped me with the discipline aspect of motherhood.  While I only taught for five years, I feel like I learned some things that have stayed with me as a parent.  At the beginning of the school year, I was pretty strict – moving clips/pulling cards whatever – but as the year went on I eased up.  But the class always knew what would happen if they misbehaved.  That’s pretty much what happens now too.  If you act up, there will be a consequence.  The most important thing to remember is you have to be consistent.  If you’re not, they know that they got away with it once, then they’ll probably do it again.  Which leads to my next topic…

Repetition and consistency is key.  If they know they’re being disobedient, hopefully they’ll correct themselves first, before being corrected by you…well, that’s the goal we’re going for here, right?  Just keep in mind that if you give them an inch, they’ll walk all over you.  Like I mentioned before,  if they see that they can get away with it, without being disciplined, then they’ll keep doing it.  But I know you’ve got to pick your battles, so I’d choose the ones that are the most important.

Threaten to take something away.  It usually works like a charm. I’ll tell them no tv show after dinner or a playdate or sitting out at the pool for an allotted time the next day, etc.  Just make sure that whatever you take away, it’s not something that will impact the other children.  If you say no pool time altogether, then that’s unfair to the others.  My main point is that you have to follow through with whatever consequence you give.  For instance, if you tell them that if they whine one more time, that they don’t get to to go to their friend’s party, well then you better stick to that.  In my opinion, I probably wouldn’t give such a severe consequence, but hey, if you think it’s effective, go with it.  One thing’s for sure, do what works for you and your children, and once you find the right discipline tactic stick with it.  It WILL work.  Even if you don’t think it will in the beginning, it just takes time.  I think I read somewhere that for something to become a routine you have to do it at least eight times.  The same goes for discipline strategies.  It’ll finally start working.  Trust me.

Here’s a simple example, and for me I know it’s not this easy any more, but here you go:  A few years ago, I think the girls were 5 and 4, I’d taken them to the pool and told them to get out because we needed to go home for naps.  I explained to Effie that if she didn’t get out she wouldn’t get a pack of “chewies” (fruit snacks pouch) when we got in the car.  She didn’t listen and kept playing.  When we finally got to the car, I passed out chewies to Wheeler and not Effie.  Effie started bawling and begging for her treat.  I simply explained that she didn’t listen to my direction and she wasn’t going to get rewarded.  Well, you better believe the next day when we left the pool, she was jumping out as soon as I said we had to go.  Seriously though, while this was a few years ago, I still use a similar discipline tactic now…even at the pool or wherever we are.  If you don’t listen, especially to a simple instruction, there will be a consequence or you’ll miss out on a reward.

Sharing.  This one has changed a lot since my previous post.  While my children are pretty good about sharing now, they don’t use the barter system like I used to do.  Pretty much every single toy in the house is all of theirs.  The girls have certain drawers in their rooms that they have their keepsakes and treasures they find, but that’s more so they can store it away without their brothers messing it up.  The girls have shared a room since they were little, so everything in there room is pretty much both of theirs.  I guess they have different dolls, but that’s about it.

Since all of my children are still around the same play stage level (4.5-9), they all play with the same things.  I mean sometimes the girls play with the trucks and dinosaurs with the boys, and some days the boys play house with the girls.  Not even kidding that yes, my now 9-year old still happily flies her pretend planes around the house, chasing after the boys’ planes.  I know a day will come when they have their own hobbies and the girls will tire of playing with the boys and their toys, but for now, I’m cherishing these moments.  That’s probably another reason I’m having a hard time purging toys lately.  I used to be really good about it, but it seems like lately they’ve been getting out the old toys I considered getting rid of.  Yesterday, Vaughn had out the little farm and farm animals Wheeler got when she was two.  And Logan still loves playing with my old doll house.  Granted, it’s filled with his dinosaurs and race cars, but he still loves invading the doll house with them.

1-2-3 works. It gives children a chance to collect their composure, or stop what they’re not supposed to be doing, before getting disciplined.  Like “I’m going to count to three and if you’re still crying/whining, you’ll have to go to time-out.”  I used to make them go to time-out for as old as they were, but nine minutes for Wheeler would be a long time and I don’t think it’s really effective for her.  Instead, I usually send her to her room to have some down time, and then I’ll go up and talk with her after she’s been there for a little while.

Restarting the day.  If they’ve started the morning off on a bad note, ex. the girls are fighting, fussy, etc., a lot of times I’ll have them stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and we’ll talk about how we’re going to start the day over, and this time we’ll be more happy, helpful, obedient, etc. It actually works most of the time!  Honestly, I haven’t used this tactic in a long time, and may start using it again.  Some mornings before school the girls would be tired and ornery.  Clearly that’s not going to start the day well.  Most times I’d just try and get them to smile which in turn would leave to laughter and that helped, but I may try this “restarting the day” idea again soon.

Eye contact.  Whatever you do, when communicating with your child, maintain eye contact with them.  That way you know they’re listening to you, and it shows that you’re giving them your undivided attention.  This is huge.  It’s so easy to yell from downstairs to stop doing something or whatever else it is they’re not supposed to be doing, but you’ve got to be more productive.  Walk up there/into the next room/wherever they are and assess the situation.  That way you know firsthand what’s going on, and you can look at them and let them know your thoughts, feelings, etc. and what you’re going to do about it.  Trust me, this impacts them in more ways than one.

Tough Love.  Many of you have asked about this.  So even if I can be strict and delegate consequences, making them go to “time-out,” taking something away, etc. I always come back to them and reassure them that I love them with a hug and kiss, and just explain that they have to be better about following directions and obeying me.  I love my children more than anything in the world, and hate to discipline them at all, but if it’s going to make them behave better toward us and to others, then it has to happen.

Positive reinforcement will be saved for a later post.  Just be sure and equal out the disciplining with rewarding.  If you discipline too much, they’ll start figuring out that that’s how to get your attention, and they’ll misbehave more.  Trust me, I’ve not only witnessed it in my classroom when I used to teach, but in my home as well.  All children are smarter than you think!

My hope is that these tips give you some fresh disciplining techniques!  Please feel free to give me some of your tactics, that work for you and your family.  I’d love to hear them, and get some new ideas to try!  Also, do you remember the first time you had to discipline your child?  Would love to hear!  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Wheeler wasn’t doing anything too bad, but when we’d tell her no, Lanier and I would turn away and start cracking up laughing.  Disciplining our child was obviously new to us.  I think it’s pretty natural now.  I’ve only heard the teenage years are the most trying.  Not going to think about those years just yet…haha.

I posted this pic yesterday of our matching watermelon tanks.  The girls tanks are only $14.50 and my tank is $16.50.  Unfortunately, they sold out pretty quickly and only a few sizes are left.  But I’m loving everything watermelon for summer.  Head here for more cute watermelon suits and accessories!  I had a few of you ask if we were going to the Watermelon Festival in Hampton.  That would’ve been perfect, but we were heading to the beach yesterday.  It rained for most of the day yesterday, but I think it’s going to clear up the rest of the week.  For those wondering, we’re staying at Ocean Isle Beach.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing lots of 4th of July picks, so you’ll still have time to order them before the holiday weekend!  Below is a sneak peek of my favorite jewelry I picked up.  Isn’t it all so cute and festive?

Necklace // Starburst Earrings // Red Tassels // Aqua Circle

I hope y’all had an awesome weekend!  Ours was pretty low key, but we enjoyed it.  It’s nice to have those kind of weekends every once in awhile.  I’ve been trying to organize a few things around the house, but summer just always gets the best of me and I end up putting it off.  Do y’all ever feel like that?  Like it’s hard to be productive this time of year.  After lots of thought I finally decided that most of my “to do” list isn’t going to get accomplished until the kids start back to school in August, and I’m okay with that.  One huge accomplishment is that I finally finished folding and putting away like ten loads of laundry that I’ve been putting off.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but what a relief!

Hope y’all have a great start to your week!

For more recent outfits, check them out here.

4 thoughts on “How I Do It: Disclipine Update

  1. Just a little encouragement- My kids are 21 (boy), 19 (girl) and 15 (girl) and I found the teenage years to be wonderful for the most part. I feel like if you do the hard work of consistent discipline balanced by love and communication when they are younger, it’s much easier when they get older. Not to say that there weren’t challenges during the teenage years, but everything was done with communication and respect and I can honestly say that I really enjoy my kids. My son was (still is) very strong willed and was a serious disciplinary challenge until about 12. I’m honestly not sure what changed then but he was finally able to be reasoned with at that point. He will be a senior in college and I am so proud of the person he has become. So to all you Momma’s in the trenches- hang in there! It’s worth it!!!

  2. I agree with Kelly. One thing that I did in middle school and high school is I would have them write a paper on their poor behavior. They were grounded, except for Mass, school, and work, until it was completed and approved. Obviously this was saved for a serious infraction or a negative behavior pattern. Worked like a charm on so many levels. The paper had to include a description of the wrong behavior, long term consequences of their bad behavior, who else they were hurting with the behavior, how it was impacting their character development and behavior that would have been a better way of handling things. Really helped them with writing, school in general and communication! And they were in total control of their punishment – a lesson in itself!

  3. I can relate to so much of what you write. I have four children a step behind you (7y, 4.5y, 3.5y, 21mo). Your discipline post is a huge encouragement! Sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing is really working, but hearing you on the other side helps. My oldest is getting to the point where he’s testing my consistency in new ways, and it’s harder to discipline him since he and his brother share a room.

  4. LOVE this post! It’s so refreshing to hear a Mama say that she’s not going to put up with a lot of disobedience. I think (as a former teacher and now SAHM myself) that it’s important to give our kiddos the boundaries they need and to stay consistent with the consequences of challenging those boundaries. Cheers to you, Mama! I’ve only got one, but you make having four look pretty darn awesome. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series!

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