I just read this article for some great new strategies in disciplining my kids.
After reading the article, I thought that letting the kids play cards with the dog was a really great idea of disciplining with techniques of both distraction and silliness. Let me know if your dog is as good as ours at playing spoons. It kind of runs in the Gold blood. Olive would love to get together with your dog for a card playing play date.
I typically am a go-to time out mom. I am a believer in time-out. We spanked Abigail, our oldest, for a while and found that it did not work for her at all. It just made her more aggressive. I am not saying that spanking won't work for some children, but for me it wasn't an option because I could not spank without anger. But, the older my children have got, the more frustrated I have become with the ineffectiveness of time-out. I have found myself trying to remember what my mom did with her seven kids when I have situations to resolve at hand.
My mom spanked so well without anger that it was a standing joke at our house growing up. There was usually much laughter accompanying our spankings, which were preferably given with a wooden spoon. It was much softer than her hand would have been. She's such a softie. Another good thing my mom did was make my siblings and I sit under the peach tree in the backyard whenever we fought. We had to stay there until we were willing to give each other a hug. How powerful and simple that technique was. I think she may have even used it on some of the neighbor kids from time to time. And, now that I am a mother, I realize how ingenious the idea was for her sanity too. She didn't have to worry or listen to any bickering once we were outside. She also remained neutral and made us work out our own solutions with this effective disciplining strategy.
I was really excited the other day when I had a good parenting stroke of genius. I think my mom would be pleased. The idea stemmed from her insistence that I write "I love my brother 100 times" at least 100 times in my life.
For the most part my kids behave great, but I have one pretty consistent struggle between my two bullheaded children. Abigail is 11 and wants to always tell 6 year old Bella how to do things. Bella resents it because she thinks she can be her own boss. They go at it pretty good from time to time, mostly just verbally, but sometimes they will push or hit.
Well, the other day, after one of these disagreements, and after Abigail's 11 minute time-out, that didn't work a bit, I gave her an assignment. She was to sit at the kitchen table and write down 10 things she likes about Bella. I was adamant that she would not leave the table until she got it done.
I was so impressed and completely surprised that Abigail cranked it out really quickly. She even threw in an extra compliment for good measure.
1. She cleans when asked.
2 She is kind to others. (not me)
3. She doesn't quit.
4. She likes cool music.
5. She leaves me alone when I ask, which is almost all the time.
6. She loves to play.
7. She is strong willed.
8. She dresses uniquely.
9. She takes charge in doubt.
10. She loves to take care of everything.
11. She is organized.
Later Abigail admitted to me that the way that she came up with the list was to think of all the things that she didn't like about Bella and turn them into a compliment. So, when it said, she dresses uniquely, that started out with she dresses awful. She likes cool music was really that Abigail hates her music, etc, etc.
At Abigail's admission, I could have been defeated, but I realized that even though Abigail thought she had the upper-hand, she didn't. I had just succeeded with a truly inspired exercise in cognitive therapy. I taught Abigail how to change the way she thinks. Isn't that what we all have to do to love our enemies?