Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gems

Disciplining a five year old is one of those things that just gets... frustrating.

Everyone has an opinion about how you are doing it wrong. Everyone else does a better job, has a better child, or is just a better liar.

Everyone else can stick it.

The other day, I took to Google to see if there were better ways or better suggestions than threatening the whines, popping the hands, and losing the toys that stopped working when she passed from four-and-a-half to almost-five.

"Know your child- and discipline accordingly."

"Mary was running late and she scooped up Scott who pitched a screaming fit about leaving his toys without any preparation. Mary was in the wrong. She should have given Scott enough transition time from playing with the toys to moving him out the door."

Eh?

"Children should respect you. Not fear you. Having them obey out of fear does not accomplish the needed behavior."

Correct me if I am wrong, but .. um... yes it does accomplish the needed behavior. And, I don't know about you- but I was fearful of getting in trouble, hence the good behavior.

"You don't have to love your child. You have to respect your child."

What? Yes. Yes, I have to love my child. I have to also respect my child, but first- I have to love my child. She came from love, so she will (not should) be treated with love.

You get the picture- The Internet is no place to go for medical advice or parenting tips.

I talked to a friend who has children the same age as mine and was also a teacher in a previous life. She said that she is experiencing the same thing and has pulled an old trick out of her teacher hat.

Gems.

For several weeks, we have had two glasses on our counter- one with a bulldog that is bigger than the second one that has an etching of Husband's medical school. The bulldog glass is where the gems start. When LMC does something good- whether it is something she should do anyway or something that is above and beyond the call of duty, we tell her to take a gem out of the bulldog and put it in the other cup. When the cup is full, I take her to the store and she can buy whatever she wants.

Money Bags, I am not. We go to the Dollar Store.

Bad behavior has the same result. A gem comes out of the "good" cup and back into the bulldog. This can be met with screams, tears, and getting very, very upset about this simple act of moving a gem. An effective punishment without lifting a finger or a voice.

There are 77 gems in the cup, so it takes a while. But, it gives her a goal and reminds her to act like we expect her to act.

She still whines. A lot.
She still pitches fits, sticks her tongue out, and demands things that we disagree with.
But, she's trying. We're trying and, for now, the gems seem to be working.

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