So...I should have known to try something out before posting it on the blog...yet another lesson learned and I am okay with it. The sparkle chart was pretty much a flop. I was skeptical going in feeling like rewarding them for good behaviors only felt like bribing and I wondered if it would truly last. I really didn't want the kids to expect getting something each time they obeyed. But I wanted to give it a shot anyway and see what happened. It didn't take long before Reece could have cared less about a sticker. While I do still think it's important to praise them a little when they are good, rewards are short lived motivators.
In the meantime, I had been praying about how to parent. And as always, God's timing is impecable. On my way home from the hosptial at 5:30am (see story here ), I heard an interview with the author of the book "The Well-Behaved Child" by John Rosemond. He seemed to address every issue I was having in parenting. Later that morning, I ordered the book and read it in less than a week's time. I highly recommend the book and it is has already left my house and entered the home of different friend's house in a short amount of time. What were some of my take aways from the book?
When a child misbehaves, it creates a problem. But who's problem is it really? Most parents take on the problem themselves and try to solve it, which results in frustration (since we are unable to solve the problem for the child). We as parents need to put the problem back on the child so that they will want to solve it. How do we do this? By enforcing what John calls "The agony principle"...a punishment that they will never forget and never want to happen again. This causes them to feel the problem and want to solve it so they never have to suffer the consequences again. His main punishment in the book is confinement to their room for the rest of the day - the room being stripped of it's fun and only left to it's bare essentials. Now this is going back to basics, right? Side note: He's no nonsense and takes us back to the basics of parenting - instead of using all this psychology stuff we have had shoved into our heads over the past few decades. Not that that stuff totally doesn't make sense, but that we as parents in the 21st century have way too much information, causing us to be confused and unsure of ourselves as parents.
We are currrently using one of his strategies from his book and it is working well so far (been doing this for a week). The system is called "Tickets". Basically, I was to ponder the misbehaviors of my child and narrow in on 1 to 3 of them that were the biggest and most frustrating of "her" problems. Write them down on a sheet. Create 3 to 5 tickets and attach them to the sheet. Each day she starts out with the 5 tickets. If she does one of the misbehaviors on the list, a ticket is removed. No constant warnings, yelling, threatning...just say "Okay, you did blank, so I'm taking a ticket"...no if's, and's, or but's. When all the tickets are gone for the day (no matter what time it is), she immediatley must be confined to her room for the remainder of the day...only being aloud to leave for bathroom and meals (and if you must run an errand). The likelihood that the child would be confined to the room at say, 10:00am would be rare and if it did happen, it would only happen once...what a long day for the child and they would not wish that on themselves again. So basically, there may be some difficult days, but not as many as there currently have on the "yelling" system. He also says, by focusing in on 1 to 3 of their misbehaviors, you should see the other smaller behaviors diminish as you use the system so don't get too caught up on which ones to put on the list, and don't put them all.
Reece has done very well on the ticket system and has not be confined to her room once. It has also prevented me from yelling and being frustrated. If she does a misbehavior on the list, I simply remove a ticket. John says if they are doing well on the system, you should lower the number of tickets as to put the pressure on a little for the times they do misbehave. Since Reece has been really good and not losing but one or so ticket a day, I am going to decrease the number of tickets. We also listed other misbehaviors she has and indicated what punishments would be specific to that misbehavior (like I had indicated on my prior post). The misbehaviors that equal a loss of a ticket are (currently): Not listening (not obeying when I ask her to do something or not to do something - the first time), Not asking permission (she takes our stuff a lot without asking), interrupting (when I am talking to daddy or anyone). Behaviors that do not result in a loss of ticket but another punishment is immediately enforced are: Being destructive (breaking/ripping things), Defiance (saying no to me or being disrespectful), Taking off her clothes (teaching her to do dress up over her clothes and to wear clothes around the house - yes this is a problem for us), and difficulty at bedtime.
I lamenated her tickets and put velcro on the back of them. They stick to the misbehavior chart. I'll keep you posted on how this is going. If you are interested in the book, let me know and I'll lend it to you!