Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Sticker Chart

Disciplining a child sucked. It wasn't fun. It often didn't actually work and just frustrated everyone involved. I was a firm believer that discipline was a form of teaching and didn't have to always be negative. Unfortunately, Ada entered a stage where she didn't want to do anything we said. Every other word from her mouth was "No!". And it was often screamed from the top of her lungs while she was flailing her arms in a windmill motion and kicking her legs in a desperate attempt to hurt me for trying to reason with her. Not knowing how to deal with her, I started throwing tantrums of my own and putting her in "time out" just so I would have three minutes to calm myself down instead of punching holes in our walls or throwing things.

Tired of yelling and fighting and counting to three and doling out "time outs", I moved on to the sticker chart. Ada got a sticker for anything that she did well. She got ignored for anything she didn't do well. I still tried the counting and the "time outs", but I also tried the "If you do this for me, you can earn a sticker. Remember, if you earn ten stickers, you get some ice cream." It has worked so far. Now I just had to figure out how to keep doing it. She earned her first ice cream cone last night, and then threw so many tantrums that she wasn't allowed to redeem it. Maybe redeeming it can be the goal for today.

Moral of the story: There are many ways to discipline children. Finding a method that works for you and your child, and making time to reinforce it is key. Don't expect a miracle overnight.

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