Don’t get caught in a shit storm with your little when they’ve done something that’s obviously not okay. Setting consequences that work for kids takes some prepping. You wouldn’t drive without a destination, so why set disciplines without a plan?
Here’s the problem. You set the rules, and the little’s keep breaking it.
Time to get your consequence setting plan in motion, Lady! Consequences have proven to nip that little bad behavior in the booty quickly, and effectively. Read on to find out how to set consequences that work.
Well, I Could Just Smack That Bootay!
Well, yes. Yes you can mama. It’ll definitely get your little to stop whatever they were doing, Pronto! But what did it teach them?
To never to do what they were doing… in front of you.
Is that the kind of awesome parent – child relationship you’re striving for? I hope that answer was a fat, NO.
The thing is, I’m not against spanking. You gotta do, what you gotta do, when you gotta do… for your family and sanity. I’m all for mama keeping her sanity!
There’s a whole science, if anyone wants to call it that, to spanking correctly.
So, have I spanked it? Well, yes… Yes I have. I’m only human… I’ve been pushed to the point of absolute frustration and didn’t know what to do.
The Day I Spanked That Bare Butt
It was a summer weekend and we had just finished swimming around 7pm. My kids (3 and 2 at the time) had skipped their nap so I needed to get them to bed. But before that I had mommy duties. I had to shower them, get them dressed, cook for the family, feed the kids, clean up the table, brush their teeth, and put them to bed.
My son was tired. Mommies fault. He screamed and cried for 20 minutes refusing to bathe… he. was. tired. He tossed, and rolled, and kicked, and flailed…
I mean, how dare he? I just spent the whole day to make him happy!
So I snapped. I ripped off his clothes and spanked that booty. 3 times. Hard. Hasnd prints and all.
“No. No. No… No mommy”.
3 spanks, then I stopped.
My baby stopped also. He Stopped crying, kicking, flailing, rolling. He looked at me. His eyes wide. I remember those red, teary eyes looking at me in despair!!
He didn’t say anything and just walked into the shower. Didn’t look at me, never said a word. Took his shower, got out, dried up, ate, and got in bed with those cute little Ninja Turtle toddler jammies smelling like baby shampoo.
Have you ever felt your heart rip into a billion pieces just to have someone stomp on it?
UUGGGHHHH!! It was painful. Really, really painful. I would bet my life that the pain I felt was greater than the pain he felt. #selfish.
I got into bed with him. Lied down next to him. And then I cried. Just sobbing. I held him tight and I cried.
As I lay there next to him I said,
“I’m so sorry for hurting you baby… Mommy loves you so much, and I’m so sorry for hurting you. Mommy makes mistakes too”
I repeated these words as I stroked his hair and his face, smelling that yummy hair of his.
And then he said it was okay.
And that he loved me.
You know that heart of mine that’s been ripped into a billion pieces and stomped on? Well, now there was acid poured all over it. How can he forgive this ugly little beast so quickly? And what kind of a wussy sap am I that that would make me miserable?
A Mom! That’s the wussy sap I am. A Mom!
[box type=”success” align=”aligncenter” class=”” width=””]I’m not a perfect mom. I’m learning what’s right and wrong for my family every single day. I’m not against spanking, but it’s not for me. It’s not how I want to parent my child. I don’t want to leave scars in his heart, nor mine. I never again want to apologize for hurting my own child.[/box]
Benefits Of Consequences
Consequences are a “If you do this, then this is going to happen” scenario.
The word “If” gives your kid choices in his behavior. He can choose to put his panties on his head, or on his behind.
Okay, I can already hear ya’ll!
“I don’t want that crazy kid to have any choices… I just need him to do what I say”
Sounds nice. But parenting is about “raising” your kids. Not about having them listen to us like robots ’cause it’s convenient for us.
Unless… you’re trying to raise an adult that’s just an order taker?
If the answer was a Hell-No, then you gotta teach him to make choices, take responsibility for those decisions, and be comfortable in decision making processes.
Don’t worry about whether they’re making good or bad decisions. Even as adults we’re faced with having to make decisions on a daily basis, good or bad. And I can assure you adults make the dumbest freaking choices… and won’t take responsibility for them.
Let’s not raise those fools, yeah?
Making the wrong decision isn’t bad, it’s a natural part of life. Our littles actually desperately need to learn decision making skills.
It’s how they take responsibility for their decisions that make all the difference in the world.
Here’s what your kids will learn from consequences:
- By allowing kids to make their own choices, you’ll raise a more independent child
- Your kids will learn to take responsibility for their own actions
- It’ll strengthen their decision making skills… the more practice, the better
- Freedom to decide and take responsibility will make your kids confident in themselves
10 Easy Steps to Stop Naughty Behavior
Nothing’s worse than having to come up with consequences on the fly. Imagine you’re trying to get out the door and your kid is adamant that his underwear goes on his head. You’re out of time and you have to get out that door. Out of desperation you yell.
“You won’t put on that underwear?? I’m gonna take away your freaking iPad for ONE YEAR!!! Now, put on that god damn underwear over your booty and get out the door, NOW!”
Well, damn. I know you’re not gonna take away the iPad for a year. So you just lied and diminished your consequence setting power.
Set consequences that fit naughty behavior
Make sure the consequence is related to what your kid did. “Oh, really? You’re not finishing dinner? No worries. Cool, you’re not having cake with us for dinner.” BOOM! In yo’ face, kid!
Tell them the consequence beforehand
If you’re aware of recurring naughty behavior I’d tell them the consequence beforehand. By letting them know what they should expect if they misbehave you’re giving them an opportunity to make decisions.
This is what I’d say, “Look kid, if you don’t finish your dinner, you ain’t having any cake, got it?”
Or something along those lines.
Breathe and stay calm: 4-7-8
I know sometimes it’s hard to remember to do it, but it’s critical that you breathe. If you’ve never tried breathing to relax there’s a method to it. If your little just did something crazy and you’re super heated do the following:
- Close your eyes
- Take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold your breath for a count of 7
- Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8, as you breathe out loud
- Repeat 10 times
Get on your knees
Seriously. Get to eye level with them. Why? Because kids feel secure, loved, and connected when you do that. When this big giant thing is standing over them it gets a bit scary for the littles.
It’s actually basic psychology. Even as adults people feel a sense of power when they are looking down at another adult. The one being looked down upon feels inferior. Don’t make your little feel inferior. That’s the last thing you want to do.
Look ’em in the eyes
Nothing says I care, I’m here for you, I’m present with you more than doing this one thing. There are many benefits to making eye contact. Do this EVERY time you talk to your kid. Not just when you’re setting consequences.
If this is your first time making eye contact they might feel a bit weirded out by it. Don’t freak if they keep looking at the TV, phone, the floor, the wall, or even their undies.
They’re thinking, ‘Why is she staring at me like that? Jeez… what a weirdo.’
But don’t give up! It takes an adult an average of 66 days to form a habit. Let’s just call it, The Rule of 66. So for kids, it’s gonna take you having to do, say, or repeat something a minimum of 500 times before it becomes a habit for them.
Ok, I might be exaggerating but you know what I mean. It takes kids much longer to form a habit than an adult. So be patient.
Try saying the following:
- “Can you look at me, please? I want to make sure you hear me.”
- “I want to see you when I’m talking to you. Can you look in my eyes?”
- “I want to make sure you hear what I’m saying. Can you look at me for a moment, please?”
Keep your voice firm
I naturally have a loud voice so I always sound like I’m screaming. I’m Korean (South) and my husband tells me I sound like a North Korean when I talk. Whatever that means.
You don’t want to be yelling or screaming like a mad man. But don’t sound like Mrs. Doubtfire either. Nice and firm. Deep. In control. You want to get the point across that you mean business.
I know there are parents who have a hard time being firm with their kids. If you’re one of them practice in front of the mirror when you have free time. Practice different stern looks, voices, speed of speaking. Again, being prepared trumps all.
Delivering the consequence
This is where it is mamas!
When you deliver the consequence you have to say “Because you did XXX, you can’t do XXX.”
You gotta make it clear that they chose their behavior. “Because you chose to skip dinner you won’t be able to eat desert with us tonight.”
Nagging has its place. This ain’t it. Keep your words short and to the point.
Keep your word
Most of you are guilty of this. Hell, I’m guilty of this! But you gotta keep your word.
It gets tough sometimes. You’re in the restaurant. They’re crying ’cause everyone’s eating cake except for them. People are starting to stare at you. You want them to stop crying. Now YOU are faced with a choice:
1) Just give him cake. I’ll live up to my word next time.
2) You take your kid and leave the restaurant so his crying won’t bother other diners.
The right choice would be to get your crying little and remove him from the restaurant. If you said no desert, it’s no desert.
[box type=”success” align=”” class=”” width=””]TIP: You will have to be prepared to “give up” some activities that you enjoy. In the beginning your little will act out most of the time, especially if you have a spirited child. In these scenarios, you have to be willing to remove your child AND yourself from the situation. Even if it means leaving the birthday party.[/box]
Rinse and Repeat. Don’t set consequences once in a blue moon. If they have a habit of not finishing their dinner, make sure they don’t get that desert MOST of the time.
You gotta do it over and over for it to stick. Remember, Rule of 66? Yeah… kids need them 500 time.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]SANITY TIP: Did you notice that I said “Most” of the time? You’re not superwoman, nor am I. There will be times we just can’t, or just don’t have it in us to put up with the tantrum. It’s OK. Motherhood is full of ups and downs. You’re not a failure for it. You’re an amazing mom for trying. You ROCK![/box]
[Tweet “It’s our kids jobs to push against our limits, and it’s our job to set them.”]
Is there anything else that you’ve tried that works? We’d love to know! Share it in the comments please. In this journey of motherhood your shares, insights, and input will help another fellow mama.