Monday, June 25, 2007

Don't Dis Your Mama!

Yesterday's post spurred me on to write on another topic concerning my boys . . . and that is the matter of respect. There are times that I feel I do not get the respect I deserve from them and it is very frustrating to say the least. I very often will ask myself, Where did I go wrong? Are other mothers feeling this way too? Why does it seem like mine are the only children in the whole, entire universe not obeying their mother?????!!!!!!

There are days, many days, where I feel I'm getting the short end of the stick. Wayne intervenes whenever possible, but the boys conveniently behave better when their dad is around than when he's not. Go figure. In any case, I've developed a strategy that seems to be working.

We now have a "Bad Attitude Chair". This chair is in our dining room/living room area and has been specifically designated as the chair of discipline. As soon as the boys raise their voice to me, try to argue with me about senseless things, argue with each other, or are just basically not obeying, they have to sit in this chair. The first time Ty had to sit in the chair he managed to move it across the room from one end to the other, just by wrenching his body while in a state of despair. And I mean despair. He was so upset over the fact that I made him sit in this chair--he was on it for a very l-o-n-g time because he wouldn't calm down. Eventually he did calm down and once he carried out the criteria to leave the chair, he was a much happier, cooperative, agreeable boy.

The criteria required to leave the chair is as follows:

1. Calm down; regain control. Crying and carrying on will only lead to a longer time on the chair.
2. Depending on the offence, the time limit on the chair varies. I don't think the boys have realized this yet, but the sooner they cooperate with me and get on the chair and the sooner they are calm and quiet, the sooner they will exit the chair. (I do, however, have a minimum 5-minute time limit that I've set no matter how quickly they calm down).

3. Once they've calmed down and have had time to reflect on what just happened, they are allowed to call me over, explain to me why they were sent to the chair in the first place, and apologize for their behavior. Not that my kids are in total control of their lives (they're not--that's what parents are for), I think for their ages (6 and 7), but the fact that they determine the length of their stay on the chair pursuant to their behavior while on the chair is beneficial. They are actually being held responsible for how long their discipline lasts based on improved behavior.
4. This all ends in a huge hug and "I love you."

I'm no perfect parent. But since this is working for me, I thought there might be other moms out there who could benefit from my experience of using the "Bad Attitude Chair". Since implementing this strategy, Ty's been on the chair twice and Mitchell's been on it once. And believe it or not, the level of respect seems to have increased considerably. While the boys don't enjoy the chair, they seem to understand the importance of it and maybe have even begun to consider how to avoid sitting in it.


Barb said...

Oh goodness, Kimmy. I understand your frustration. This is, of course, a difficult age. I don't know if it's so much a matter of "respect" as it is, "I'm big and I'm ready to test some boundaries."

Good for you for setting some boundaries and letting them know that although you love them, some things are unacceptable.

For me, what worked was, "I can't hear you."

I raised two girls. No boys. So it might be a little different. But when they talked back to me, argued with me, gave me a hard time or even squabbled with each other, I went deaf. At first they didn't understand. Then I told them, I can't hear you when you're like this. I can hear you when you're respectful and not acting out.

It worked. Like a miracle. I seriously totally ignored them and they finally figured out how to get me to hear them. Good behavior.

Anyhoo! I didn't mean to get off on such a tangent but your post moved me.

Your name is in the hat for the wedding favor giveaway at my place. My word, so many people! I never thought so many people would even be interested, but it's up to almost 140. So we'll draw names and I hope yours is one of them.

And thank you for your sweet comment and for delurking. :-)

Lovella said...

Oh boy, those were fun years.

Good job for taking some positive steps in discipline. Your consistency will pay off.

I've seen those chairs move across the room too. Pretty funny looking back.

Becky said...

What I want to know is how many times Wayne has been on it?


Kimmy said...

Becky: Never. Ha! Ha!

e-Mom said...

You definitely need to hold your own, and win every big and little battle. They need to know you're stronger than they are, so they can feel secure. Like your sons, my son responded best to his father's discipline after a certain age. For me, it was a relief to know that Dad was in charge in the big issues, and I acted as a strong back-up. I don't know how single Moms maintain order with growing boys. It has to be really, really tough. :~)