Thursday, May 19, 2011
so, at my daughter's last therapy session (she has been diagnosed as having adhd and odd), i was given ways to combat behavioral problems in our household and ideas on how to use punishment effectively. this was namely to help my daughter control her impulsive, often defiant behaviors, but it also ran over to aid overall in the way my husband and i care for our children).
one of our tasks was to create a list of what we dubbed "the rules", a short list of house rules that everyone, any time they are in the household, must obey at all times. everyone is every one...adults and children, family and friends. if a person cannot obey the rules then there is a consequence, depending on who the person is. if the person is an adult that lives in the home, then the children have a right to remind the adult of the rule(s) they broke. if the person is one of the children, then they lose a privledge for a single day. if the person is a guest in the home, then they will not be allowed back into the home for a specific amount of time.
so, everyone thought about rules they would like to see implemented, and once we did that, we took a vote on what we collectively felt were the best rules, and used them to create our rule list (the great thing about this was the fact that everyone thought about a great rule, so everyone has a rule on the rule list). from there, each child rewrote "the rules" on poster board and decorated it. the finished lists were then posted in each room of the house. this is so "the rules" will always be on display within the house, and can be referred back to if need be.
now, i have to admit that just the idea of the rule list got the girls' attention. once we sat down to discuss "the rules", they knew mommy and daddy were serious. once the lists were finished and hung, i think i heard a few gulps go around. there was definitely a difference in attitude once "the rules" were visible in every room.
just that action modified behaviors.
for about an hour.
obviously, nearly everyone forgot the rules...even me. i got upset and called one of my daughters silly acting, and had to remind myself of the rules. ecobaby started screaming (to which my husband loudly replied "someone turn that baby down!" before he reminded HER at 6 months old, that she was breaking a rule). my oldest daughter started to tease my second daughter, and she retaliated by yelling at her. two more rulebreakers. the only person that made it out of the battle of "the rules" without any wounds was my husband and our third oldest baby, broodybaby.
my consequence was that i had the guilt of namecalling on my mind, our oldest and second oldest girls had to forgo watching a movie before bedtime, and the baby had to go to sleep. my husband smirked at not breaking any rules, and watched the after dinner movie with broodybaby.
the oldest two went upstairs crying, and begging for forgiveness, to which i had the honor of shutting them down asap (another suggestion i was given in therapy is to not entertain pleas, parental no's mean NO and that's final).
it was hard for me NOT to entertain them, which lets me know that i usually entertain them.
but i followed through on it, told them that the decision was FINAL, "the rules" were broken and the movie was taken away from them. i reminded them that tomorrow is another day and they can make better decisions to have better outcomes for events (another suggestion given to me).
i already feel parentally worked in ways i haven't been in a long time. there must be something to what my therapist is saying, because it FEELS like this will be a good thing for us in the long run.
but please don't let that pretty, colorful, short and sweet lil ole rules list fool you. "the rules" are serious contenders in my household, and they have made their presence known, already affecting the lives of every person in this house.
i'm just hoping they dont jump off the paper and beat us into obedience.