Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Adding to the Toolbox

Lately, I feel like I've been in a bit of a parenting rut. I'll tell the kids to do something, they ignore me or disobey, and then I yell and threaten a [deleted for personal safety]. Then I feel like a crabby, angry mommy, and not the calm, loving one I'd LIKE to be.

Aaron always tells me that I have to take away privileges. The only problem is, a lot of those "privileges" for the kids are what make MY day easier, too. Take away TV time? Or a playdate? Or a MOMS Club activity? No thank you, my friend.

Time-outs, similarly, usually only inconvenience me. I can't exactly assign a time-out when Leah is dawdling getting ready to go in the morning. Time-outs work for fit-throwing, or sibling in-fighting. Run-of-the-mill disobedience? Not so much.

So. I am trying something new.

Yesterday when leaving the library, I specifically told the kids not to walk through the snow. They were wearing boots, so the temptation was great. However, I didn't want snow to be tracked into the van and possibly damage the books. The kids, Leah first of course, walked through the snow. And then didn't get out when scolded. GRRR.

My line of action was to say, "Well, I'm not reading you any books before lunch because you disobeyed me." Usually after a library visit, we read several of the selections before eating - not yesterday, though.

And then, last night, I told them to start cleaning up to get ready for baths. They ignored me, and after several reminders, I informed them that they would not be getting toys in their bath that night.

The trick for me, it appears, is thinking of the immediate next task at hand, and then remove whatever little fun thing the kids usually do for it. It may end up being no music in the van, or not getting to choose their own breakfast cereal (which could easily bite me back in the form of a refusal to eat).

Or, as I threatened at bedtime when I was again being ignored in my request for them to stop jumping on Leah's bed and brush their teeth, no book before bed. Leah is getting the idea of this quickly - she said, "Ooh, that's a good one!" as she hopped off her bed and headed into the bathroom.

I don't even feel the need to warn ahead of time. Hopefully the kids will learn that whether or not they've had a second chance, something bad could happen, so it's best to listen to Mom the first time. Today at church I didn't even have anything in mind, but when Leah was showing signs of not listening, I just said, "Are you not obeying me?" and gave her my best Mommy look. She shaped up pretty quickly.

Anything that helps me keep my emotional outbursts at a minimum is a good tool to have.


Aaron said...

Leah is smart as a whip, isn't she?

Lyz said...

Pretty much, dear brother. And trust me, parenting a smart child is NOT a piece of cake. How our parents managed with FOUR of them, I'll never know.:)

AJ said...

Thanks for caring about doing it right. Reading it sounds funny, but I know it isn't so much when they ignore us. Hopefully we can find some ways to discipline and still not feel like we are angry all the time.

Noel said...

Look out in the southwestern sky this evening and, if it's clear, you'll see your "Good and Innovative Mom of the Day" star.

* Please note that The Star Awarder reserves the right to substitute planets for stars and that the star or planet you receive on a given day may also be given to others on your planet for deeds they have done.

JJ and EJ said...

Keep the parenting tips coming!! : ) I need all the help I can get! Our little naughty thing was kicking the doctor again at my appointment yesterday! She was trying to do the doppler (sp??) and couldn't get a reading for a while because baby girl J kept kick, kick, kicking the baton! Oh, and I have to note that AJ's comment was sweet! Awww!

Noel said...

Good point on AJ's comment. His Star Award should currently be in the southern sky and about 8.3 light years away.

Suzi said...

We'll I'll try more of this too because I have the same problem. But it seems that for Lincoln, when he is really in a mood, the only thing that works is threatening taking away tv, in which we both suffer then. But that's only when we get to the point that he is being very naughty. When it's these little things I can see how it might work well.

Maybe we could all get together and practice our mommy "looks" together, or see who has the scariest mommy look!

Lyz said...

Thanks for all the encouragement, especially AJ, of course. I agree, he's pretty great.

Suzi, my "look" has been perfected in the classroom - I may be a top contendor.:)

AJ said...

Is that like matador? Just had to go back to being a stinker so nobody thought I was losing my edge. =)