Part book review... part life change!
Dr. Kevin Leman writes some GOOD books, people. He is a psychologist, and he has written books on birth order and personality, but this is the first I have seen from him in the area of parenting. I would highly recommend his book Have a New Kid by Friday to anyone and everyone... and I have!!
The basis of the book is this: "How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior and Character in 5 Days" and it is amazing!!! It works!!!!
It has required a lot of hard work and consistency on our part, but the payoff (well-behaved kids... most of the time) is WELL worth the extra work. Here are the main points of the book, but I would recommend actually reading it to get real-life examples of how all of these theories work in action. In fact, MOST of his book is spent in question/answer format dealing with specific issues that many parents deal with. Here is what I learned.
Things your children learn from you, both good and bad:
Things you should show your children:
*The Keys are Consistency and Follow-Through.* (easier said than done, no?)
Rules to Learn During the "School" Week:
1. Say it once. Turn your back. Walk away.
2. Let reality be the teacher.
3. Respond, don't react.
4. B doesn't happen until A is completed.
The Top 10 Countdown to Having a New Kid by Friday
10. Be 100% consistent in your behavior.
9. Always follow through on what you say you will do.
8. Respond, don't react.
7. Count to 10 and ask yourself, "What would my old self do in this situation? What should the new me do?"
6. Never threaten your kids.
5. Never get angry. (When you do get angry, apologize quickly.)
4. Don't give any warnings. (If you warn your child, you're saying, "You're so stupid, I have to tell you twice.")
3. Ask yourself, "Whose problem is this?" (Don't own what isn't yours."
2. Don't think the misbehavior will go away on its own.
1. Keep a happy face on, even when you want to do... something else.
--- Excerpt from pg. 289, Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
Here are our experiences with the program so far.
The issues we wanted to work on were:
bedtime -- our routine took about 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes more if Mike fell asleep while rubbing their backs, and included reading, singing, back rubbing, holding, and a song and dance routine... literally, there was one book that we "sang" and they danced around the room... and then inevitably, one or the other of them would be out of their room after we left, saying they needed to go potty, or a drink, or whatever, you name the excuse...
listening -- they heard us, but they didn't listen to what we were saying... and they sure didn't respond immediately to what we said
obeying the first time -- kind of the same thing as listening, but should we really have to repeat ourselves 20 times, or count to 3, or threaten with a spanking, or put them in time-out, or sit them on our knee and give them a lecture, or... whatever, you name it, we'd probably tried it... before they would actually (rather grudgingly, with nothing close to a cheerful spirit) obey us...
behavior while out of the house -- those of you who know us know EXACTLY what I'm talking about... enough said
hitting/kicking/pushing/insert rough behavior here -- it was getting out of control, and I felt like I spent all day dealing with not only the bad behavior itself, but also with the tattling that resulted from it
And here is where we are now:
bedtime/naptime -- we have established a routine that includes
1. they take their shirts off and leave them where they can find them
2. they get their drinks
3. we go with them to their room and wait until they are in bed (naptime, when they are reluctant to go upstairs)
3. they go upstairs to their rooms and get into their beds (bedtime)
4. we wait 5 minutes and then go upstairs... they get "smiles or swats" depending on if they are in their beds being quiet or jumping around and being noisy... (we are still working on this one... we started out saying "after you have been quiet for 5 minutes, one of us will come tuck you in," but we have found that they just lay there and talk, or jump around and talk, or walk around and talk AND jump around... and we have to wait around until they have been quiet for a few minutes, which puts bedtime on their terms, not ours.. that is changing)
5. they go to sleep -- whole routine usually takes about 10 minutes, maximum
listening -- they listen and usually respond after we tell them something once... sometimes it takes a little while before they respond, but if they don't respond at all, I wait until they ask me for something, and then inform them that they will not be getting the desired thing (snack, Play-Doh time, computer time, outside time (a big deal around here), or, only if it is an extreme occasion, lunch) because they did not obey me earlier. This has happened many times, and they caught on QUICK. Mommy is just full of surprises these days!
obeying the first time -- this is going MUCH better. I am finding that I don't have to tell them more than once to do most things. If it is something that has to be done NOW, then I don't follow Dr. Leman's advice to the letter, but only because Sammy IS only 2 (and a half!) years old, and he doesn't have the comprehension/understanding/follow-through awareness that Griffin does. Sammy doesn't get the whole "delayed punishment" thing quite yet. But soon he will. Oh yes. His behavior has changed a lot already. I think it is because I expect him to obey. I turn around after telling him what he needs to do and give him the choice to obey or disobey. When he realizes that I am not going to stand around or lean over him and hover until he has done what I told him to do, he usually chooses to just get it done and come find me.
behavior outside of the house -- This method has been working very well when we are out of the house. I can tell him to sit down in his chair at a restaurant, and then I turn around and continue a conversation with another adult at the table. When he realizes that he is not going to get any more of my attention until he has done what he was told to do (and then most of the time he gets praise), he shapes up real fast. He was even very good at Grandma's (Mike's mom's) house a couple of evenings ago. He got tired toward the end, and was loaded up on sugar, so he was fussy, but still not nearly to the degree that he would have been before we started changing our expectations of the kids.
hitting/kicking/pushing -- I have noticed a change here too. I have implemented a new rule. The person who tattles sits in time-out with the person they tattled on. Unless, of course, the tattling was justified. If the other person was in danger because of what they themselves were doing, or if one of the boys was seriously hurting another of the boys, I take it a lot more seriously than the standard "He LOOKED at me and I saw his tongue and he didn't stick it out at me but I saw it and I didn't like it and I am so offended" kind of tattling that often goes on around here.
So to sum it all up, we love this new way of parenting. It may not be new to many of you out there who have had a lot more time to figure out the whole parenting thing, but it helps me as a parent to have a list of "rules" for ME to follow that are changing my childrens' behavior as well. And I am finding that I can use the rules in dealing with anyone, not just my kids! I'm learning to respond, not react. And that I DO always need to follow through on what I say, or I will not be respected... by anyone, not just my kids. And that I need to be 100% consistent in my behavior. And that I can ask myself "Whose problem is this?" when presented with any situation, and it helps me to stay calm when someone is "making me mad."
Well, it is 6:45am, and Sammy just came out of his room. I am going to make pancakes for breakfast this morning.
Oh! Before I forget... we had a deer right behind our backyard fence yesterday. She was little, but we didn't see any other deer around. Normally there are 5 or 6 walking around together. I got out my camera, put on the big zoom lens, and got all ready to take the picture... and the camera battery wasn't charged. 90 minutes later, when it was fully charged, the deer was long gone. But I'll watch for her to come back, and see if I can get some good pictures. She was SO CUTE!!