Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behavior Modification

Discipline is stupid.  I hate it. 
I know I don’t do it right and no matter what course of action I take there is a high potential for failure.  So basically I’m screwing up my kids no matter what.  And I don’t think I’m alone…I just think I’m one of the few who are willing to publically admit it. 
Here’s a hint, fellow moms:  Misery Loves Company.  When your own kids are being horrible the last thing you need to hear about is how outstanding other people’s children are.   Knock it off with the “isn’t parenting a breeze” status updates!
“Little Suzie got on the honor roll for the 94th time!  Must be doing something right (hee hee, winky face!)”  or “So proud of my Johnny!  Hit his first home run in T-Ball, rescued a three legged Chihuahua from a burning building and still had time to crochet a blanket reading ‘I LOVE MOM’ (smiley face, exclamation point, heart, heart heart)”.
First of all, I don’t believe a word of that crap.  Your kids suck too.  Fess up. If your child is not currently naked from the waist down chasing his brother with a Lincoln Log attempting to use his head as a drum then I don’t want to hear from you. (True story.)
I don’t want to get any more notifications that Betty Johnson likes “Hit like if you love your kids!”  Please!

I’ve come to learn the difference between LIKE and LOVE.  You can LOVE your kids even when you don’t really LIKE them all that much. 
How ‘bout a button that says “Hit like if your kids terrorize your life on a daily basis but you love them anyway so you haven’t killed them…yet.”  I would hit that button proudly.
So that being said, I’m now on a mission to make my children behave better.  Mostly for my own sanity.  If I spend another morning screaming at the top of my lungs for hours on end then I’m going to have to commit myself.  So I started looking to the experts for help...

The problem is that most parenting books are, like, 400 pages long.  If you have time to sit down and read a 400 page book on how to raise a better child then you probably don’t even need that book in the first place. 
Dear Parenting Experts: Please speak to me through bullet points.
Alright, well first I'm going to try to stop yelling.  It stresses me out, it stresses them out, and I’m going to try not to do it as much. 
I read somewhere that you should whisper because it will force your kids to pay more attention to you.  But when there’s a toy siren going off, a dog barking and a kid screaming it’s really hard to be noticed while whispering. 

So I have to yell…to alert them to the fact that I’m whispering.  Yup. 
Next I read about how to stop a temper tantrum.  One expert says that when a kid is having a tantrum you should speak to them in short simple sentences, like baby talk almost, to calm them down.
I tried it this morning with Carter.
“Want snack.  I know.  Want snack.” (I felt like a moron).
But he did stop the tantrum… long enough to yell "MOM! WHY ARE YOU TALKING LIKE THAT???"  He apparently shared my thoughts on what I sounded like.  This technique is not for us. 
Ok, next up is the idea of identifying your child’s feelings and sympathizing with them. 
"You're frustrated because I said no more snacks, huh? I understand how that feels.  I know you really wanted a snack.”
I thought “Look at me!  I’m applying my new parental skills to a real life situation! Go me!” 
I was going to calmly and rationally deal with my three year old who was crumpled in a heap at my feet in full melt down mode.  I was going to be patient.  I was not going to give in and give him more of the organic white cheddar rice puffs that I had just purchased. 

(Oh yeah, I had also decided that we were going to start eating more organic food…although the gaping hole in my wallet has since cured me of that notion.)
Are you picturing this?  I’m using my nicest voice trying to rationalize with a screaming, thrashing child.  He couldn’t even hear me over his crying so I don’t know what good I was supposed to be doing. 
All of a sudden my husband came around the corner and informed me "If you keep shopping at Trader Joe's and talking to our son like that I'm going to divorce you."
Eh.  Well it was worth a shot.  “Carter, get off the damn floor right now!  Knock it off! GET IN TIME OUT!”
Aaaaahhhh!  That’s more like it!

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't possibly agree more. Hitting "like" for all this