Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What I did about the blueberries.

Okay, so a lot of you have asked "what DID you do?"
On Saturday morning I had washed a few blueberries and left them in the strainer on the counter. It wasn't long before Sarah grabbed the strainer and pulled it down. She's done that before, but for some reason, this time, she spilled the blueberries. I said, "Oops, let's pick those up." She said, "no" and left the room. My first thought was to make her come back and do it, but I've been trying something new. I want her to be the one who decides to obey. I know that's what we all want from our children. So, I told Kannon, "we don't do anything for her until she picks up the blueberries." I was in the kitchen working so I had to do a lot of tip-toeing. After a few hours, I'd had enough. I'd run out of patience waiting. So, I took her to the kitchen and told her to pick them up. She just stood there. She did get spanked. I probably got a little too loud. If I took her hand and took it to the blueberry, she'd pick it up. But, as soon as I let go of her, she would just drop her hand. Finally, I blocked the kitchen doorway and left the room. She ended up with a poopy diaper along the way. I told her we'd change it when she'd picked up the blueberries. She still refused. Eventually, she said, "it hurts." And that's when I was about to give in. But, I said one more time, "I'll change you as soon as you pick up the blueberries." AND SHE DID! So, I got the end result, but at what cost? I'm still not sure that's the right way to do this. I know that for us, right now, time outs just aren't working. I'm too cranky to be patient enough to put her back every second - she won't stay there. Ben hits and kicks when I try to use the naughty spot, so we take away his tv/computer/wii minutes. That works for him - but she's not ready for that. So, I'm still open to suggestions. And I hope you don't think I'm an awful mother for making her wear her dirty diaper for awhile.
This has worked for me other times. Like this morning. She wanted me to make breakfast, but I'd asked her to put away her dirty clothes. So, I told her I would make breakfast when she took care of the clothes. It didn't take very long before she did that all on her own. My mom suggested taking the time to talk to her and find out why she doesn't want to do things - let her know why I need her to do them, and offer to help. My mom often reminds me to do what the Savior would do, and that has really helped me a lot in the discipline area. No one said being a mother was easy - but then, I never heard anyone say how hard it is, either!


Nancy said...

Ok. Maybe Dave and I are a little strict with Tyler, but he gets in trouble if he says "no" to us when we tell him to do something. It happens a lot but he gets a warning and then its time out. I think the key is to make sure you are telling her "this is what you need to do", or "this is what we are going to do", rather than asking her to do it or suggesting. 2 year olds just aren't capable of making the decision to do the right thing all the time. You could also throw a very simple explanation of why she needs to do it, even before she says no. If she still refuses there has to be some kind of immediate consequence. If you can't make her stay in time out, maybe you could stick her in her room or on her bed (but only if its actually a punishment for her). Whatever you do, you have to stick with it and now is the time to get it into action. It may take awhile for her behavior to improve, but it will happen.

Also, I have found that when I am getting really angry with Tyler, if I start whispering to him it not only gets his attention, it also calms me down. And I think its really important to teach them what the right thing to do is, rather than telling them "don't do this". It seems to stick with him better.

Margaret said...

I love what you did. Sarah knows right and wrong and she understands the consequence of her actions. She wanted something (a clean diaper, breakfast) and learned that sometimes obedience will get you what you want in the long run. Think about the Savior and us. We all want something (ultimately His love) yet we make bad choices and don't want to obey. Sometimes we are allowed to sit in our bad choices until we make the move to correct the problem. Sometimes the Savior takes us by the hand and helps us with each and every blueberry. And when we ask for the help He will pick up the pieces for us but we still have to be willing to help in the process. I think you can use this as a great teaching tool. Right and wrong and obedience are sinking in. Each time Sarah wants something and you want her to do something first, she will think and she will remember. Good luck with everything.

Teri said...

Parenting isn't easy and it is hard to know what is the best way to discipline. What I have learned is #1) NEVER GET ANGRY!!! I'm not perfect in this category, but I know it is the least effective of all techniques. It's lasting effects are lower self-esteem and fear. If the child does not comply to a direction, empathize with her. Ex: "Oh no, you didn't pick up the blueberries. That is so sad, now you don't get to eat any of them (or other consequence). This keeps you from having a power struggle and becoming the bad guy. She made the bad choice and now she suffers the consequence instead of you didn't do what Mom said so now she is mad and she will yell at you, spank you, and punish you. #2) Never tell the child to do something unless you are willing to inforce it immediately. You should only tell them once and then if they don't comply, carry through with a consequence. A natural consequence is best. For example: If two children are fighting over a toy, take the toy away. Say, "Oh no, you are fighting over the toy. Now you loose it." #3) Never threaten a consequence that you are not willing to go through with. This just makes a lier out of you. #4) Use enforceable statements. You did this when you said, "I will change your diaper when you pick up the blueberries." It is very hard to make her pick up the berries, but easy not to do what she wants until she does comply. #5) Give her a choice to begin with (implied consent). Say, "Do you want to pick the blueberries up with one hand or two hands?" It's amazing how well this works on little children. Or, "Do you want to pick the blueberries up now or in two minutes." Then it is not a power struggle. She gets to make a choice.

These are just some techniques I have found effective with my own children. I learned a lot of them in a course called "Love and Logic". The main thing is if your child is out of control or not behaving as you would like (I'm not saying yours is - I haven't watched you parent), CHANGE YOUR PARENTING STYLE. It really bugs me when a parent complains about how their children act but is not willing to learn better discipline techniques (again I'm not saying that is you).

I hope this helps and doesn't come across as preaching. It's just what works for me. Good luck.