Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Discipline Plan

People raise their children in a multitude of different ways. I only have 1 kid, but I bet those with several kids raise and discipline them differently. Each child is unique and each have their own set of challenges and blessings.

So PLEASE don't take this post as this is how it should be done to help raise your child - adopted or not. Heck, I don't even know if this is the right method for my child. But I'm attempting Plan #1,001.

My child is a good child. But like any child, she can have some difficultly in certain areas. I've been nearly pulling my hair out for the last several months as Ashton's meltdowns and not sleeping have been at it's height. It's been very taxing on us as parents.

I may have alluded to it a bit, but it is definitely a problem area for us right now. I want to be open an honest about the ups and downs and trials. We're all just trying to make the best of it and trying to do right by her. I try to mention this stuff in truth, but not harp on it to bring negativity to everything. It just is. It's part of the parenting package. Parenting is hard. And I do my best to manage it most days, or just get through it on others. This is just truth and documentation of what I'm trying to do in attempt to help with her emotional control and sleep.

I've been talking to Ashton's daycare teacher and she doesn't have the same challenges as I do at home. There, they do this red card/green card system. You check their clear plastic pen organizer everyday for these cards. Usually, it's a mix of red and green. You praise them and acknowledge them for all the good work they've done on the green cards and discuss the red cards on how to improve and why it was a wrong choice. As a bonus, those with all green cards for the day get to pick out a treat - graham crackers, sucker, chocolate, whatever there is for that day.

Ashton did really well the first couple of weeks in August when the card system was first deployed. However, since then it's been a struggle to get all green cards. However, the last couple weeks, all green cards. I'm not sure what the change is at daycare, but it seems to be working for her and she is always so proud and rushes me to see her cards for the day.


I've been messing with Ashton not sleeping through the night, which is an ongoing challenge since forever. This problem always ebbs and flows.

And recently, when you tell her not to do something, even in the most docile of tones, she slumps to the floor. If you tell her to get up she starts to have a tantrum. Something as simple as don't brush your hair with a fork full of mashed potatoes can become a nightmare in seconds.

I'm sensitive that she's sensitive. I don't want to crush her spirit. But at the same time when I tell her to go to the timeout chair and count to 20 for her slumps or turn of spirit, it escalates worse to the next phase. I don't want her kicking and screaming. It's like I told her instead that she have no play time, or she was grounded, rather than just sit in a chair and count. All I did was ask her to count and come back. Things escalate very quickly as she has trouble being in trouble, even if it's not that bad, and you just say, you forgot to close the fridge door. Sometimes it's "Ooops, okay." and she shuts it, others she slumps to the floor. I tell her to get up. Typically, she won't. So I tell her to go to the chair and count to 20. She won't. She's grunting and kicking and getting all upset over nothing. I tell her to go to her room. She starts to scream and slam doors and scream louder in her room. She can get so upset she pees herself.

So I've done the opposite. Where I just ignore her and let her be. But she stays in this mood or runs away and gets in a worse mood. Either way, it still gets worse, but just on a much slower pace. I just don't get it. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't

I share this not because we're proud of it or have answers. But to let other parents know they're not alone. No child is perfect. No parenting technique is perfect. Everything is trial and error. And we're trying to do right by her. We've tried being lenient, letting her cry it out. hugging, ignoring, talking, soldiering, let me tell you we've exhausted most obvious methods.

This time I'm going to not correct her or ignore her, but give her cards for everything she does. I'm going to try the approach (but tweaked) that daycare is doing. And instead of giving her a treat if she gets all green cards, I'm going to give everything a point value, which I'm calling rewards. At the end of the day we'll add up the red and green cards rewards points and with her total she can "buy" things.

Again, not for every child, may be not even mine, but trying something new. We tried a magnet board with smiley faces, but she can't read quite yet and the magnets would move and I wouldn't remember what went where. So this is what I came up with, tailored to my child specifically. Also, as this has never been tested or used, I may quickly, and I assume I will, change the rewards value depending on it regularity, appeal, etc.


So I started off with the green cards. In no particular order I did:
  • Sitting nicely at table = 1 reward: Ashton can't stay seated to save her life. She's always falling out, one leg on the floor, finding reasons to get out. I'd like her to sit with feet facing front and lady like.
  • Eating over plate = 1 reward: With not sitting properly, you can guess how messy eating can get if she's not careful. Either all over her or the table. 
  • Finish meal under 30 minutes = 1 reward: She is the slowest eater on the planet. She doesn't even always eat. She just sits there or gets distracted or something. Eating together as a family is always a battle. I'd like it to go easier.
  • Clean bedroom = 2 rewards: I don't know if it's keep clean for the day or clean when needed. I'm going to be flexible on this and see how it goes. But somehow there is always toys on the floor, papers, trash, food, who knows. Not like boom off messy, but still things that I'm always picking up and telling her why is this out or not straightened. And it takes an extra 5-10 minutes every day. She can so do this and taking things out of her room hasn't worked.
  • Make bed in morning = 1 reward: this comes and goes. She needs to start doing it regularly.
  • Clean playroom = 2 rewards: just like bedroom. She hates picking up and taking away bags of toys, she let's it happen and forgets about the toys. It doesn't help.
  • Clear table = 1 reward: She just has to clear her plate and things. But I have extra cards if she does more.
  • Set table = 1 reward: Now this does go for everyone. She loves passing out the napkins, but typically "forgets" to do everything else.
  • Listening/pay attention = 1 reward: Always encouraged
  • Keep hands to self = 1 reward: She loves to touch EVERYTHING. It's amazing how many times I say, "Is that yours? Then don't touch." Or just touching/aggravating the dogs. She love to get in their faces and rile them up to play or bark. Not the best way to approach them.
  • Bathroom etiquette - wipe, flush, wash. = 1 reward: Should be easy, but still steps get missed.
  • Helping around the house = 1 reward: She loves to do this on her ow terms, hopefully this will cause her to learn how to fully execute her help to actually help the situation.
  • Staying in bed = 2 rewards: Such a simple task, but surprisingly hardly ever done. This is stay in bed before falling asleep. She'll be up for hours. Bedtime is a grueling process. She hates to be alone. So she comes down for food, for a movie change, for her hurt foot, for a boo-boo check. It's awful. And we only have a couple precious hours before we ourselves are supposedly in bed. And sometimes those 2 hours are spent doing laundry, fixing something about the house, whatever.
  • Put clothes and shoes away = 1 reward: My daughter is notorious for me always telling her to put her shoes up and socks in the laundry. She somehow never does and then Kaida has them strewn all over the house. It's amazing how many socks disappear or shoes found in odd places.
  • Sleeping through the night = 2 rewards: Yes, please.
  • Positive/good mood all day = 2 rewards: I'm thinking 2 rewards for week nights after work, and 4 rewards for weekends since we're with her all day. This means no meltdown. Being good all day. Time outs and whatever are fine, if it's after something she really wasn't meant to do, as long as she isn't freaking out about it.
  • Behaves in public = 1 reward: I hate to gamble on her mood and typically I must always take her with me. But a "don't touch that" can result in a slumped girl pouting and upset.
  • Stays close to parents in public = 1 reward: She typically does, but there are those times where do goes in the opposite direction and I'm searching for her. I so wish she'd just sit in a cart, but she never has. Sitting is a challenge for my wiggly one.
  • Wear pajamas all night = 1 reward: I can't believe I'm saying this but my girl loves to sleep bare every night no matter what. I've put her in pjs and they come off throughout the night. She's just too hot, and this is with a ceiling fan constantly on and no covers. This is a real challenge.
  • Acts well during discipline = 2 rewards: If she messes up and I say no. I just want okay not a pout or slump. If I say sit over there and count to whatever, I want her to just do it and come back and resume where we left off, not an end of the world drama.



Now come the red cards, again in no particular order:

  • Interrupting = -1 reward: She's 5, it happens, but this may make her more aware than "Don't interrupt". 
  • Annoying noises = -1 reward: She makes car noises, pig noises, just loud annoying sounds that cause your brain to shutdown and stop thinking. Yet my girl then talks so softly. She has these thing backwards.
  • Meltdown = -2 rewards: Maybe worth higher, but still trying to see how this all plays out and is used.
  • Not sitting properly = -1 reward: The girl can't sit in a chair. It's always on her knees, feet sideways, one foot on the floor. I can't tell you how many times she's fallen on the floor out of her seat. She won't use a booster anymore, and she was rocking that thing around. This is a constant struggle.
  • No shoes or slippers on = -1 reward: We have pets. They go outside and in. The floors are constantly being mopped or vacuumed, but there' still constantly mud, snow, dirt, pet hair, a zillion little things and feet get dirty. And this time of year the tile and bare floors are cold. I don't care that Ashton loves going bare foot, but she need to wear something on those feet, even if it's just flop flops.
  • Bothering pets = -1 reward: Ashton knows not to go up to strange dogs, she knows pet etiquette. Outside of our house that is. At home, these are her siblings. She wants to play with them, chase them, hug them, and they're not always up for it, and they bark or get hyper and it gets old very fast. She can play with them, but only on their terms and that means with us watching and not busy doing a multitude of other things.
  • Clothes & shoes laying around = -1 reward: My daughter is notorious for me always telling her to put her shoes up and socks in the laundry. She somehow never does and then Kaida has them strewn all over the house. It's amazing how many socks disappear or shoes found in odd places. So on this one I have a green and red card to keep this in check.
  • Out of bed early = -2 rewards: Such a simple task, but surprisingly hardly ever done. This is stay in bed before falling asleep. She'll be up for hours. Bedtime is a grueling process. She hates to be alone. So she comes down for food, for a movie change, for her hurt foot, for a boo-boo check. It's awful. And we only have a couple precious hours before we ourselves are supposedly in bed. And sometimes those 2 hours are spent doing laundry, fixing something about the house, whatever. So on this one I have a green and red card to keep this in check.
  • Whining = -1 reward: And what's worse, I can't understand a word she says when she whines.
  • Ignoring = -1 reward: Making sure she does something the first time I request her to.
  • Throwing = -1 reward: The benefits during a meltdown.
  • Doesn't finish eating = -2 reward: For someone who loves to eat, it'a amazing how much her palette has shrinked over the last couple of years. If she's not in the mood it's hard to get her to finish. And holding back snacks later doesn't help. 
  • Bad in public = -2: I hate to gamble on her mood and typically I must always take her with me. But a "don't touch that" can result in a slumped girl pouting and upset. So on this one I have a green and red card to keep this in check.
  • Bad during time out = -2: keeping her emotions in check is important.
  • Bad during got o your room: = -2: No one like to get into trouble, but she can do so upset, just not throwing, slamming, kicking, screaming.
  • Say something rude: = -1: She rarely does this, but if she learns something is rude that day, she tends to dwell on it and bring it up constantly, trying to figure it all out. She just has to learn to know it wrong and ask why and that's the end of it.



Now for the fun gold rewards cards

  • Bedtime movie = 2 rewards: Ashton always watches movies now when going to bed. It's the only way to minimize the getting out of bed and sleeping on her own. I don't want her to feel entitled to these movies, but earn them through doing good deeds.

  • Board game = 1 reward: Family time is important and these can be typically educational for her, so only 1 point. But fun times, and she gets to pick the activity.

  • Computer time of 5 minutes = 2 reward: She loves to get on the computer and watch YouTube videos. She can buy up to 4 of these so 20 minutes total.

  • Mario Kart 1 game = 2 rewards: We have only 2 video games she can play. We bought an original Wii for her for $20 and the original Mario Kart game. She loves it. Something the whole family can play. 1 game I think is 3 turns on a course. 

  • Infinity 1 game = 2 rewards: My husband has the original xbox and with it we got infinity to play with Ashton. She loves all the characters and we play in a toy box world where you can just have fun. She loves it. Only 2 players, but it works out.

  • 1 Coke = 2 rewards: Now this doesn't mean 1 coke bottle. This means those mini coke bottles that she can't finish in one setting. So if she drinks 1/3 of it and is done, that is her coke price. It's whatever she can assume at that time for a meal or snack. And when it's back in the fridge she has to pay another gold card to earn it.

  • 1 chocolate = 3 rewards: We have a few mini dove chocolate bars. We typically use them to bribe her to do something. How we are putting it into this reward system.

  • $1.00 dollar = 5 rewards: I don't know how motivating the money will be, but if she wants to buy a toy o an ice cream, here's her chance.



So I was very anxious to try out this new system and see how it plays out. We got home and Ashton wanted to play in the snow. But after I sat her down and explained the system best I could. She emptied her DC Superheroes traders cards from her pencil case and decided to use it to collect her gold rewards cards.

I decided to put all her red and green cards in her fox cookie jar. We will tally up the cards every night before getting ready for bed. And she can pick out her rewards if she has enough points for the day.

We then ate dinner and Ashton worked her hardest to sit properly and eat over her plate, though she needed reminding. She even put on slippers after she took off her wet boots from the snow to earn rewards to not have bare feet. They did end up somewhere on the couch and she was barefoot for a time, until I called her out. But overall, seemed to be working.

So I have an alarm on my phone, when it went off we checked what she had done that day.

Sitting nicely at table = 1
Eating over plate = 1
Clear table = 1
Listening/pay attention = 1
Put clothes & shoes away = 1
Bathroom etiquette = 1
No shoes or slippers on = -1

So she ended up with 5 reward points.


She bought 1 board game, 1 bedtime movie, and 1 coke. She wanted her bedtime movie right away and her coke for breakfast. Not the best choice, but her reward, so we said okay.


Well, from there it went downhill. She had her one movie and came downstairs when it was over. She was upset. She din't want to be alone. She wanted another movie. WE told her she bought only one and that was her decision. But as this was new, we were willing to trade her coke in for a movie as they were worth worth 2. She kept saying she wanted both, but I think the concept of either or sunk in and she opted for another movie.

During that movie she fell asleep, I think. But soon came down again after it was over, this time saying she fell out of bed. As she was rattled, I let her have a freebie movie to get her to sleep. But she was up and upset and took time to calm down until about 1am.

She did sleep through the night, and in pajamas all night long, I'll give her that. I'm very proud at the efforts for the pjs and eating dinner, but getting her down to sleep, wore us out. I'm hoping that she'll get more rewards to buy more movies, else this system may not work or we'll have to refine it.

This morning she was a total pill. She was tired, grumpy, threw her stuff, and would not flush or wash her hands. She's started her day off with negative points because of all this. I'm just shaking my head, praying that she'll be better later on tonight so that she'll have an increase in reward points.

Hope I'm doing right by her. I'm am trying.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a totally fair system. It's exhausting when our kids are being rotten. The list of perfect kids in the world is very very short.....like non existent except in their own parents pretend world.

    Hang in there. Ashton seems like a great kid, and you'll get through this.

    B

    ReplyDelete

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