My kids are not perfect! They are far from it actually. That is where the hope that the consequences for their actions, whether be natural or imposed, are actually teaching them something. I have read a fair share of parenting books and imposed more than a few consequence charts or schemes. Some have worked, some have only worked a little. But when the trouble comes and we have to “talk” they understand what they did wrong and what they need to do to make it better. That shows me that some of it is sinking in.
When they are doing the same thing to get in trouble every weekend no matter what is said after, then we have a problem. Yes, they say sorry but they are kids. No one is perfect. They can’t be. Punishing your kids can be hard and painful. Hard because sometimes you can’t think of a punishment that fits the crime. They say hurtful things because you are taking something away or making them work off their attitude. But not letting up and sticking to it shows them you are in charge and they can’t get away with their behavior.
My kid is usually in trouble for fighting with others, like he is right now. He has trouble controlling his emotions (that’s why we are in therapy), gets angry very fast and he’s 10. Kids don’t exactly talk to each other about their feelings. These are some things I do when the kids get in trouble.
No matter what the kids have done the first thing I do is listen with an empathetic ear. I need to find out what happened. I can not solve their problem and I can not rescue them. I can listen.
I explain that I know how their feelings must be hurting but I know they can deal/handle it in a better way.
I don’t treat him like the victim. I have made that mistake in the past and won’t do it again. He is not the victim, neither is anyone else. They all need to understand that and understand that it’s ok to mess up as long as you continue to learn from it.
Before I set a major punishment I ask what the kids think would be a fitting punishment. It might take them an hour to think of something but they are usually harder on themselves than I am.
Once a punishment is set, it is set! There is no negotiating to get something sooner (t.v, video games) or lessen the length of time. They don’t like it and you don’t like it either. It’s much easier to let them have fun and watch t.v or whatever it is. But then they know you don’t mean business and every time they get in trouble it won’t be taken seriously.
When the punishment is over we “talk” again. I ask if they remember why they were punished and how it made them feel.
These are all steps in parenting. They are hard steps but steps that have to be taken and done so seriously.
Right now my child is in trouble for fighting over video games, literally fighting with fists and wasting all of our gorilla tape. What that means for him is no video games of any kind. Tablet, I POD, Wii, XBOX-nothing. No friends over for a week. That is 7 days. Taking off every little piece of tape that was ever left on the walls in the house whether they be scotch tape, duct tape, packing tape. Writing a letter of apology that is meaningful and has at least 7 sentences. Full sentences.
Is he happy? NO
Does he hate me right now? YES
But will he learn something? I HOPE SO!
Good luck parents!