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Follow Through. Expectations & Consequences

Last week, in "Follow Through, Realistic Expectations of Little Ones", we talked about being fair to little ones, now let's talk about being firm with them.

So long as you're sure you've set fair and realistic expectations of your child, don't be afraid to be firm with them.  If your clean up time is devolving into a gong show I hate to tell you, but.... they've got your number!  This isn't good.

Try this.  Before you begin a task tell them what you want them to do, ask them if they understand, and if they have any questions or input, then tell them what will happen if they don't do what you've asked. 

For example.  If they've been told to tidy up their toy room. "If either of you start arguing or not helping, you will spend the next half hour up in the kitchen, sitting in the corner, and then after that you'll have to come back down here and finish tidying up.  Mommy's not going to give you any warnings, this is your warning, if there is any trouble you're going straight to the kitchen and into the corner." 

And actually follow through.
No yelling.
No pleading.
No warnings. 
30 minutes on the timer, no negotiating.

When 30 minutes is up, take the naughty child back down to the toy room and calmly tell him, that now he will finish what he was told to do in the first place.  If he's still causing problems take him back to the corner.  30 minutes on the timer, then back down to the toy room. 

The first time you implement a new discipline they will test you.  You may have to go back and forth between the punishment and the task several times before the child actually realizes you mean business and your will is just as strong as theirs.  Don't make a drama out of it.  No yelling or whining at your child.  You are in control, you have the power.

At the beginning this is an exhausting process, stick with it.  The next time you sit them down and explain exactly what you want from them and what will happen if they don't co-operate, they will believe you.  They might test you again, but over time they will come to realize that it's just not worth it, and will learn to obey your requests without so much fuss.

Reader Comments (2)

Hey Shonna, I realized something about myself this week. An old wise man I know, :) said, "the first 6-7 years is discipline, then from 7ish-13 is teaching, then from 13ish on is friendship." Of course there are times when they overlap, but he was talking about the focus of parenting. And it made me understand a bit how much I wanted parenting to be the parts I liked, "teaching", or most certainly, "friendship". And though I would not have called it that as I know well enough that I am their mother and not their friend, I really did want to walk this life out beside them, as an encouragement and a teacher. This little statement gave me hope that these tough years are important. And if I can remain confident that this is a form of teaching, ie) setting expectations and following through, then these years will not be the forever ones. But for a time OH SO IMPORTANT ones.

Thanks Shonna, fave

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFavian

Your "wise old man" was exactly right, my "wise young Mother in law" basically told me the same thing. She said between about 7 - 11 you get a break where they're just lovely, and easy, then in the teens you go back to more discipline but in a much more gentle way or you will drive them away and into rebellion.

I really encourage you to use these young years for firm but loving discipline, it's tiring but it so, so pays off! By the time they reach their teens they will just know that your rules are the rules and hopefully respect the fact that you have their best interest at heart.

Big hugs to you my friend, keep up the good work, they're worth it!! :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShonna

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