Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A disrepectful child

Another question and response...

How do you handle a disrespectful child?

A simple technique we employ is make the child try again! If the child says something disrespectful to say, “That was disrespectful, why don’t you try that again in one minute.” This timeout of sorts make the child reflect on a better way to address you while you carry on about your business. Also, tag team defense is the great way to handle this. If Melissa is having a conversation with one of our children and they are disrespectful to her, I will sometimes interject and say “Don’t treat my wife like that! If you can’t treat her with honor and respect in your words, you will show her by folding some laundry (or chose a chore/punishment).” Melissa likewise will interject for me. This shows the children that the marriage is central, solid, and the focal point of family harmony.

With older children, like a 9 year old, you can have them write some verses that explain their fault. When they treat you disrespectfully, you could use Proverbs 30:17, Proverbs 6:20-22, Proverbs 20:20 and Ephesians 6:1-3. Don’t forget the training mindset. Your children must not be allowed to disrespect you, because it is their sin. Confront it as such, and bring God into the conversation. Have them apologize to you and to God when the situation is resolved. Melissa and I recently removed some privileges from one of our children due to disrespectful behavior. She has apologized and made amends, but we haven’t removed the discipline yet. She will endure it until she has shown sustained progress in this area. With older children, disrespect is contagious and can spread to your younger children. Teach your children to model good behavior to their siblings. You may have them explain their wrong doing to their siblings if the disrespect happens in front of them. This way, the child can show what they have learned and show their sibling that it was not acceptable behavior, and you will prevent future recurrences or the perception that this behavior is acceptable.

Lastly, try to give your child a safe outlet to express gripes and complaints. Train them to do it respectfully, and you might be surprised to hear what they have to say. You could become the world’s greatest parent in no time!

Mike and Melissa


Here's another question and response...

4 yr old daughter has constant whining, how do you stop it?

Our experience with whininess has been EXTINSIVE and we have been quite successful at putting an end to it using the following technique. First of all, we believe stopping a whiny child starts with the changing the parents reaction. The primary reason children whine to their parents is that it is successful! Whininess is a learned behavior, and the child learns at a young age that making a high piercing offensive noise garners the care and attention to get their way. In order to stop the behavior, you need to change the rules of the game. The technique is very simple, four simple words. “I can’t understand you.” You choose not to understand anything said in a whiny and disrespectful way. Remember, you are training your child, so don’t reward them and train them to whine (i.e. give them what they want when they whine). Train them to be respectful! When they make their requests in a polite and respectful tone then you give them attention. You may not always give in to their respect, but you can give them the attention they want when they address you appropriately. Now they are learning to get attention is to be polite and respectful to mom and dad.

When you begin to use this technique, initially it will be very difficult. Your child has years of learned behavior to overcome, to finally find their whininess is not responded to will make them escalate. You must be committed to be patient and loving during this time. If the child steps up to a level of direct disobedience and defiance you need to take care of that in addition to the whininess. The best way to get a child with a tantrum under contol is isolation. Make sure to have them apologize to you and to God when they finally calm down before getting what they want. This could take hours at first, but the reward is worth the wait. Eventually, your child will be trained that when they whine, they don’t get what they want. Here’s a role play to help you understand.

You are in the store. “Mom, can I have a candy bar.” “I’m sorry, you didn’t say please.” *WHINY* “Mom, can I have a candy bar please” “I can’t understand you.” *WHINY* “I said please!” No response. *WHINY* “I said please!” no response. Correct tone, “Mom, can I have a candy bar please.” “No.” *WHINY* “WHY?” “I can’t understand you.”

On and on this will go until the child has learned the new behavior. Don’t be afraid to walk out of a store and sit in the car for a while if this escalates to a tantrum. Also, give them clear consequences for wasting your time if they do this. “This is not appropriate behavior for the store, if you don’t calm down we will go to the car (or other suitable place for isolation). If we go, you will pay me for my wasted time by doing some chores for me. Mommy’s time is valuable. What is your choice, calm down, or go to the car?”

This must be a credible threat, so don’t threaten with anything you can’t follow through with.

Mike and Melissa

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rules for the Star Chart

The Star Chart

This is an idea that came together with my teaching background and other parenting books that talk about positive discipline methods. In a nutshell, a child is rewarded with a star for positive behavior. Then they cash them in for earned privileges like staying up later, watching more TV, or earning extra money.

So the next question might be, how does a child earn a star? Well, I set up a list of chores that were age appropriate for my kids and explained to them that if they finished the job well and without complaining, they would earn a star. For our star chart, one star is worth less than ten minutes of work. (Note: This is not based on how long they actually take to do it, but how long you think it should take to be done correctly. A child can take a five minute task and turn it into thirty. Therefore, the task is still only worth one star.) An example would be sweeping the kitchen floor. Anything more than ten minutes of work, I give two stars. An example of this would be doing laundry. If they end up working hard helping you with something, feel free to give more. When our kids help out with yard work, cleaning the cars, spring cleaning or things similar to that, I will give them more stars. We just put those under a miscellaneous column.

Refer to the previous post for an example of how you might set up your own star chart. With our own, I use the star symbol for all of the children. However, they each have their own color. I’ll cover the “allowances” part later, but it is included on the chart for a purpose.

I left a few blank rows so that once a row is filled up, you can use another row rather than having to recreate the chart. Also, you’ll use numbers under the stars. I put the date under them to help me remember if I have rewarded the child for each task they have completed. Plus, this allows the child to keep tabs too. Once the star is cashed in, it is circled. A star chart can be used for several months if made large enough. Now you have a way of keeping track of how efficient they are being with their chores.

You can alter the chart to have anything on it. Our main categories were dishes, floor (for the kitchen), trash, cat box, table (for the kitchen), special (anything that is not covered by the other categories - shoveling snow, weeding the garden, etc.), laundry, and recycling. You may have other chores that you do on a regular basis. Include those too. If done regularly, like on a weekly basis, I would give it it’s own category. When you have exhausted that category, start a new row with one of the original empty ones.

When using the “special” category, you can also decide what they can earn for their stars. They may be helpful in the kitchen and you want to reward them for not having to be asked. You may see them doing a thorough job without having to be reminded of what is expected of them. You can reward them by doubling the stars if they do their chores without complaining. However, be careful to use these infrequently as to surprise them and so they do not expect a reward every time they do what is normally required of them.

The idea is for you to adapt a chart to meet your family needs. Be flexible and creative when designing it. Make it colorful with markers, stickers, glitter glue etc. Let the kids help you make it. It should look more kid friendly than professionally made. Have the kids pick out what color should represent them. This should be something that represents the kids in the family in a fun way.

The most important thing is to be consistent with it. If a child does not see you honoring your word by giving them the stars or if you fail to take them when they have cashed them in, the system will not work. When they ask to cash in stars, have them watch you circle them. When you give them stars, have them watch you put them on the star chart. This lets them know you mean what you say. In addition, count their stars often so they can see the fluctuation of cashing in and earning the stars.

Here are some guidelines I have with our star chart. The child needs to be at least five years old to use this. It is hard for a smaller child to understand delayed gratification with cashing in the stars. They do not understand the concept of working hard during the week so they can stay up a little extra on the weekend. Plus, you can use the delayed privilege method to work on building trust to carry out the responsibilities on the chart. Use anticipation to help them be eager about being added to the star chart on their fifth birthday. If you build it up, they will be excited to do their chores once they have obtained the privilege to do so.

On the other extreme, a child is too mature for the star chart when they become a teenager. By the age of thirteen, you will have an ample supply of rewards and punishments to use with them. The rewards they will now receive will be earned with your trust which cannot be calculated with stars and cashed in for extra money or privileges.

Now that you know how to set a star chart up, I want to share some rules we use with ours:

-Stars are not given for sloppy work.

-Chores are given a plentiful time limit, but once outside that time limit, the star is no longer given. At that point I give them the star, but immediately circle it. It is logged that they did the chore and cashed in because they took too long.

-If a child hurts a sibling or their belongings, they can use stars to pay retribution. For this, I use the offended child’s pen to circle the offender’s star and put the offended child’s mark on top ready for cash in. This also allows for you to see if there is a pattern in offensive behavior.

-Chores can be changed from child to child, especially as they earn the privilege to do more chores. The different colors or symbols keep track of who had the last turn.

-Sometimes our children have to do chores for each other. The child who was supposed to initially do the chore still receives the star.

-We require that our kids keep at least a ten star balance when they cash in their stars. This ensures that they have enough to pay for privileges or offenses before they have the opportunity to earn more.

-If a child runs out of stars, they cannot pay for their privileges and therefore cannot use them. This is where consistency is key. Only let them have what they have truly earned. In addition, if they are out of stars, but have an offense, they must now pay with their money one quarter for every star they do not have.

Again, this chart can be adapted and changed in any way to meet the needs of your family. It does not have to be exactly like this. The only MUST is consistency with whatever system you use.

More discipline techniques to follow... Amen! ; )

Mike and Melissa

Star Chart

We recieved several requests about our star chart. Here was our reply.

Dear Friends,

This is the version of the star chart we currently use in the house, but you can create anything you like and customize it to your house.

The keys are to associate the star with "freedoms". It's what your children want and has real life applicability with money. The nice thing about stars is that they cost you no money and can be very useful to pay "fines". For example, pay your brother two stars when you are mean, you owe mom two stars for being rude, etc... Also, stars can be used for reward. If you catch your kid doing something good, you have real credible value by saying "great job, I'm giving you three stars! I'm so proud of you!"

Please note: This only works if you honor the value of the stars, and if you keep up with it. Don't give them freedoms they haven't earned without stars. Many nights one child who has no stars goes to be an hour earlier than everyone else because they didn't have any due to punishment or lack of work. Be strong, and you will set your kids up for success!

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

Mike and Melissa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PWOC Conference in Edelweiss

Mike and I had a wonderful time this weekend at the PWOC conference in Edelweiss. We were blessed with the opportunity to teach our first parenting/adoption class together and it was fun! We met alot of great women and are eager to answer the questions we received. So look for updates as we get to them one by one.

In the meantime, feel free to write more questions as they come up. We may not have all the answers, but at least we can pray for you or direct you in the right direction.

Thanks also to Paulette and Tanya and their families for watching our kids for us. We got back to several issues that need to be taken care of discipline-wise. Our jobs are never done! Thank God though, because that would mean my kids don't need a mom anymore. So as you walk in frustration about how to handle your kids, know that we are walking right along side you. We constantly pray for the wisdom (and the patience, and the self-control, and the peace, etc.) to train our children in the way they should go.

In Him,