For some reason I like to make my life difficult. I rebel against organization without even realizing it, and in doing so complicate my life.
I’ve been trying to keep a journal on my kids so I can see patterns of behavior in myself and them. This allows me to assess what works and what doesn’t. I have noticed unwanted behavior in both myself and my kids and wanted to eliminate it. That got me thinking about rules and behavior charts.
I’ve decided we are going to be that family that has the rules posted up on a huge poster. It will clearly state the rules and the consequences when they are broken.
Does this sound strict? Maybe. Without this chart, however, the consequences may vary more than I realize depending on the stresses of the day. Inconsistency, breeds confusion for the child. A behavior that might be mildly irritating at the start of the day,can bring down the wrath of mama at days close. After a full day of kids fighting, yelling, romping, nursing, diapers, cleaning messes, being spit upon etc, it is easy to see how a mom or dad might not be of sound mind any more.
Having a behavior chart eliminates the guess work. When unwanted behavior occurs you don’t have to run through all the discipline options. You have it written out in black and white. There are no cries of you being unfair (in theory) and you are not relying on emotion, which often is clouded in one way or another. The rules and consequences have been clearly explained to the child so they know what to expect every time.
The child knows, for example, that if I say ugly things to my brother or sister, then I will have to come up with five nice things to say to that person. That is just an example you can pick whatever consequence you deem best. There is no more yelling and screaming ( again in theory ) because you are not scrambling for the right way to handle a problem while your brain is deep fried. Of course there are exceptions. There will be things that come up that you do not have on your chart, but for the everyday annoying battles you have a plan.
I do believe that most yelling and screaming and other negative behavior comes from feeling out of control, at least that is so in my case. When your kids are misbehaving and you are tired and stressed your brain cannot think rationally. Trust me if you don’t have a plan you are setting yourself up for failure because kids are smart enough to know where you are weakest.
A behavior chart also gives you the chance to see what is working and what is not. If you have your consequence to a problem on the chart and are still seeing the unwanted behavior a lot, it might be time to change the consequence. Since you have the chart to follow you can rule out inconsistency as a reason for the continuing behavior. ( assuming you are being consistent about your chart)
I think this will take a lot of the guess work out for both parent and child, which leads to a calmer house for both. I am all about calmer so I will let you know how this works for our family.