I was a single Mom to one child for over ten years. He was well behaved, respectful and I thought it was due to my exceptional parenting.
*insert hysterical laughing here*
Now that I am married and the mom to not one, but four children…three who are under 9, I realize I was wrong. Not that I don’t think I’m a good parent, but I’ve learned that is only one piece of the puzzle. Having multiple children is so different than raising one. They feed off of one another. They blame one another. They teach the younger ones both good and bad habits. They fight. They fight a lot. And sometimes they cross the line.
For the past few weeks, my two middle children have been disobedient, disrespectful and really pushing their limits. In the past, a simple conversation or time out worked, but not anymore. They have even looked me in the eyes and defied me. These kids need to learn some respect, and I’m going to teach them. That is my job, after all. It is time for a parenting overhaul.
Tomorrow while they are at school I will be packing up all of their toys and games for safe keeping, and implementing a system for them to earn them back. I am going to use the traffic light system, because Kellen has ADHD and learns best with a visual reminder. If you are not familiar with the traffic light system, this is how it works…
Create a traffic light (I am using construction paper, but you can create it with buttons or Christmas balls…be creative!) that you can put at green (for everything is going well), yellow (your behaviour is heading in a negative direction, and the light serves as a warning) and red (it is time for a time out). Each child has their own stop light, and you can move back to green at any time, but you can not move from green to red without going through yellow first. If a child reaches 3 red lights in one day (When you have a child with ADHD, you need to allow more wiggle room…1 red light a day is going to happen for him, so I want it to be a goal he can achieve. You may want to set the goal as 1 red light a day.), I will mark a red mark for the day on the calendar. If there are fewer than 3 red lights in a day, a green mark is put on the calendar. At the end of each week we will tally up the green days, and they can get back one toy for each green light day they had.
Outside of the traffic light system, I am thinking up some reward systems to tackle some of the other challenges we have been having lately. Bedtime has become very challenging, and I got caught up in the whole “consequence” thing, when I know that rewards work better than consequences. I need to think up some fitting rewards for going to bed without incident. I was thinking about making pancakes on the mornings after a good night, but I’m not sure I want to commit to that every day and I’m not willing to make pancakes for one child and not another…and it’s possible they won’t all earn something on the same nights. See how having several children is more difficult? lol
Have you ever done a parenting overhaul?