Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Ever since my beautiful new spice joined us in September, I've been a stay-at-home mom of 3 boys.  It's been pretty fabulous, very busy, and a tad crazy.  Along with all of the fun field trips to the zoo, the Mall of America, daddy's work and all the delicious treats we seem to whip up almost daily, comes the tantrums, the talking back, and thus, the discipline.  I loathe discipline.  It was my downfall as an educator, and is my downfall as a parent.  Certainly I do discipline, and I always look for new ways to be effective in it, but those ways wear off.

My older boys have taken their turns (thank goodness) in going through their behavioral transitions in adding a new member to our family.  The oldest, was and has been the most difficult.  I felt and continue to feel that I am always "on" him about one thing or another.   It's probably been the most difficult with him because he's always been so easy, never one to tantrum, never a negative word.  It hurt to raise my voice at him or to discipline him with anything more than redirection.  So, I devised a plan that utilized my learning.

I bought a 24 piece puzzle of one of his favorite characters from the movie Cars.  With each GOOD choice he made, he earned a piece of the puzzle. The number of pieces he could earn in a day were endless and it reinforced the POSITIVE behaviors rather than taking away due to the NEGATIVE.  He could never lose a piece of the puzzle, as we were focusing on the positive.  In the end when he earned all the pieces HE chose the reward, which the first time was a trip with Grandpa to Cabela's.  He was thrilled to choose his reward and proudly proclaimed, "I chose it".  It was great to see such a triumphant smile on his face!

It was a great choice!  It worked! And it worked WELL!  He was so driven to earn the puzzle pieces and the negative behaviors quickly dwindled to few or none in a day.  Which in turn made my consistency dwindle as well.  As soon as the behaviors were gone, I forgot to keep going, keep reinforcing the great behavior I was seeing.  And although the old behaviors are quickly making a reappearance, I have realized he needs that positive reinforcement and I need to continue working on being CONSISTENT.  Following the plan for a length of time longer than only 2 puzzles. 

So, I'm back at it!  Giving away puzzle pieces, rewarding the positive behaviors I see. 
And of course, working on my consistency.


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