Past Articles from Sandy McDaniel's column found every Sunday in the Accent section of the
Orange County Register


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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #11
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

MORE ON SIBLING RIVALRY:
My twelve year old daughter is mean to my eight year old son. A constant battle erupts. Please help.

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION: Your daughter is mean because she is allowed to be mean. There is no consequence that has caught her attention. If, every time she is mean, she needs to go sit in a "remembering" chair for 12 minutes (1 min for each year of her age), and fifteen minutes is taken off of her TV/Computer/Bed time -- she will stop. If you have a rule that you are kind to each other in your home, she is breaking the rule.

If this doesn't work, create a half-sheet of paper. When she is mean she needs to fill out the form, PROBLEM (I called my brother a name) RULE (we have a rule in our home that we are kind to each other) SOLUTION (I will be sitting in the remembering chair for 12 minutes. What I will be remembering is that it is not OK to be mean to anyone, especially my brother.) 

"If you hit, you sit."  You fill out the PROBLEM, RULE, SOLUTION form and then you sit.

Every time you hit, you sit for five more minutes than the last time.  Hitting each other is not acceptable.

Both children probably have a ton of resentment towards each other. If you want to get them to diffuse that anger, have each of them write each other a letter. They are to talk about what they are so angry about. They can say that they are angry, hurt or sad--or all three. No name calling, swearing or put-downs are allowed; just state your feelings and wants. You might read the letters when they are finished to be sure one of them didn't cheat and use put-downs. Have the child who cheated re-write the whole letter. When they are ready, have them sit across from each other --out of strike range--and SWITCH LETTERS! Reading the other persons letter out loud will insure that the targeted person is listening.  This is an extraordinary exercise for adults who have not talked to each other about hidden agenda, to clear the slate.

A child who has hidden agenda and unresolved anger is more likely to erupt into an angry reaction. This child will find it very difficult to shift into solving a problem without anger. Techniques such as PRS will alleviate the pain but will not cure the symptom. Teach your children how to diffuse anger.

Remember, anger begets anger; if you use anger as your parenting tool, your children will respond with anger. Isn’t it time we make a conscious effort to get the anger out of our homes? Less anger in our homes, less anger in the world. Makes sense to me.

 APPROPRIATELY DIFFUSING ANGER: I was raised in the “Yes, sir –no sir!”era where feelings were neither honored nor expressed. I learned to stuff my feelings.Years later, with a lot of therapy and personal commitment, I now feel my feelings and express them.

It is essential we teach our children to diffuse their anger. One way to do this is to have an angry child run. Yes, I said “R-U-N!”  Anger is best diffused by running –or some other energetic effort that resembles running.

A child has been increasingly wound all all morning. “Come with me. We are going to play a game.” (Opening the front door.) “See that tree? I am going to count to ten and you are going to run, touch that tree and be back here before I get to ten. One, two….”

Two children are fighting. “Come with me, you two.” (Open the front or back door.) “See that tree to the left, and that tree to the right….” You get the idea, don’t you?

Anger that is diffused does not fester, grow and become volcanic. A person with explosive anger is more likely to harm another person than someone who has learned to diffuse anger. The best way to diffuse anger is to run, ride a bicycle really fast, or roller blade really hard. Do you notice that these choices are for older children –or –for an adult? 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #12
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

EMBRACING THE FOURTH OF JULY:
Whether it is Christmas, Easter or the Fourth of July, large holidays bring with them a myriad of challenges for parents. Let’s

Take a look at some important facts to consider with the up-coming Fourth of July celebration:

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION: If you are gathering together with family to celebrate the Fourth, I remind you that family gatherings are very difficult for children of every age. Young children get really, really wound up, and are unable to come down –especially upon demand.  Older children get bored easily and will either get grumpy or misbehave.

Talk about the family gathering prior to it becoming a reality. If the children say that the grandparents are boring, remind them that people who are older don’t move as fast as younger people. And, they repeat what they say.  Teach the children to be respectful and polite. Teach them to say, “That’s cool, grandpa!”  or “What else, grandma?”

Have a word that everyone else won’t understand (hippopotamus or tyrannosaurus), which means, “Slow down a little, you are getting too hyper.”  That way you can coach your child without embarrassment.  If you embarrass your child, he or she will get even. Don’t’ go there!  Remember, it is a difficult day for your child, behavior-wise.

You need to think about fireworks the same way you think about your child driving your car; (Now there’s a truly scary thought!) It is isn’t so much what your child will do that is of concern, but what other people will do.  I have seen a hyper teenager spontaneously throw a lighted sparkler into the air. I have seen a grown up shoot a ton of sparks into a crowd. There is a crowd mentality during large gatherings that can be dangerous; people can be thoughtless in the excitement of the moment.

A primal fear (meaning it is inside of each of without being learned,)  is  a sudden loud noise. Many people, especially children, have difficulty with the sounds that accompany fireworks.

As a parent, you can be social if there is a gathering for fireworks, and you need to have your mind (plus eyes) constantly on your children, especially small children.

Some children can handle all the noise and excitement of fireworks. Other children cannot. If your child, or another child is hovered over his/her knees, hands over ears, that child is probably on overwhelm. Remove the child from the scene.

The fun of a family or community gathering is quickly eradicated when a parent melts-down, or someone gets hurt. Carefully watching a child, giving children up-front information as to how to handle predictable situations, and heading off problems before they erupt, will allow everyone to have a happy Fourth of July.

ANIMALS ON THE FOURTH OF JULY: I realize this column is about parenting, so I’ll put these comment under the “you teach most by what you model” category. Pets, especially dogs and cats truly hate the Fourth of July. The fireworks frighten them.

If you are leaving your home to celebrate, put your animals inside, in a small space like the bathroom or a bedroom. Have plenty of water for the animal. If it isn’t going to be too hot, close the windows to diminish the sound.

When you get home, please take time to love the animal that is probably shaking with fear. Let the animal stay with you until the fireworks stop.

A member of your family is whatever animal you have brought into your home. The children will learn important lessons about responsibility and love because you have pets. One important lesson is that an animal does not have the ability to cope with sudden loud noises. Teach your children to learn to have compassion for their pets and they will learn to have compassion for humans as well.

Happy Fourth of July! 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS  #13
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

GET OUT OF THE GRANDPARENT NIGHTMARE:
Several grandparents have written me saying they are having trouble disciplining their grandchildren and as a result, they don’t want to take care of them.

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION: Whether you are a single parent, stepparent or grandparent, it is essential that you set up boundaries and consequences for your home. Certain behavior is not acceptable. Yes, there are consequences for your choices.

A frequently stated concern is that the grandparent doesn’t want to be “mean’ or create an unhappy situation for their grandchildren. To those grandparents I offer this reminder: Children feel safe when there are clearly defined and positively enforced boundaries. Children do not respect any adult who allows unruly or obnoxious behavior.

Ironically, children fight the boundaries that create safety and a feeling of belonging for them.

For children age four and older, use the minute drill. A child who chooses not to behave is put onto the minute drill. For every minute it takes the child to mind, fifteen minutes is taken off of something that they child likes to do.

In the case of a grandparent who has visiting grandchildren, set up something that the children will want to do: watch a certain video, go to the park, go swimming, play in the sprinklers, etc. Tell the children they will be able to do the fun activity at the end of their stay. Also tell the children how the minute drill works.

A child refuses to pick up his/her toys—start the minute drill. For every minute the child chooses not to pick up the toys, fifteen minutes comes off of that child’s special event time. If the special event is watching a video, the child does not get to watch fifteen or more minutes of the video.

The child chose the consequence, not you. If the child says, “You are mean,” you can reply, “You chose not to pick up your toys, so you chose this consequence.”

Children know which adults set and enforce boundaries. A child is very economical; when he/she decides that the adult in charge will hold the line, that child stops pushing the margin. Therefore, the question in children’s minds is, “Do you mean it?”

If you consistently say what you mean, mean what you say and follow through, your children will put far less energy into misbehaving.

While it is true that “Grandparents are created to spoil children, it is important  to realize that a grandparent is a part of the “village” it takes to raise a child. Children need the love and guidance of all adults within their realm.

GIVING CHILDREN GIFTS:  I usually save this spiel for the pre-Christmas season. It is a message for grandparents, parents and all adults: children do not need a lot of gifts given to them at one time.

Children do not need a traveling parent or a grandparent to give them a gift each time they get together.

Our society has a huge emphasis on gift giving as a measurement of love-- the bigger the gift; the more you are loved.  Many gifts mean you are really loved.

Children cannot take in more than two gifts. Frustrating isn’t it, to spend hours selecting a gift, spend too much money for the gift, and the child wants to play with the box!  Children (especially small children) do one thing at a time; too many gifts make too many choices.

Children want time with you. It is their number one choice for a gift. Time with you means doing something with you –not going somewhere with you while you are with other adults and the children are with each other. Give your children the gift of you. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS  #14
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO DIFFUSE THEIR ANGER

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION:  The best way to diffuse anger is to r-u-n! Another way to teach children to diffuse anger  is to have an “anger box” and some bean bags to throw.

You teach most by what you model. When you get angry, say, “Oh, I am getting really angry here; come with me.” Go to the angry box and model throwing beanbags into it to diffuse your anger. Be sure to say, “Notice, I am throwing the bean bags into the box, not into the room, off the wall or at the light. The bean bag goes into the box.”

I covered a large box with red shelf paper (red for anger); the beanbags were made out of rice and cloth.

Some child educators believe it is inappropriate to teach children to appropriately hit something when they are angry. I have not found a solution that works as well, so I still offer it as an option.

We had a plastic toy that had sand in the bottom of it. When a child hit it, it fell backwards, then returned to its upright position. The job of this toy was to take our anger and turn it into love.

Eventually, we hung a black bag in the garage and put a plastic bat beneath it.  Scott would come in from school all lathered up about something, “Scott, you need to go out into the garage and hit the bag ten times.” If he chose to argue with me, the number of hits increased by five for each time he argued.

More than once, I picked up the plastic bat and took a few swings at it,  to diffuse my anger. I chose to hit a bag instead of turning into a human volcano, spewing lava all over my children.

Every day, the news is filled with more accountings of people who have gotten out of control with their anger. If we do not teach our children to diffuse their anger, the amount of violence in the world will continue to escalate. Less anger in our homes, less anger in our world –makes sense to me!

BUYING CHILDREN “STUFF” AT THE MARKET: I was in the market the other day and chose to get behind a mother who was clearly frazzed from her marketing adventure with her two children.

The children were whining and approaching “melt-down”. The mother was counting to ten for the hundredth time. Then one child asked to buy a candy bar. The mother said no, and got busy putting groceries on to the counter. The child persisted. The mother ignored the child. The child started to cry, then to scream.

Only take children to the market if you have a short list of items to buy. Otherwise, trade with another mother; ""I go to the market, you take my children—you go to the market, I take your children.

Take children to the market as a pleasurable outing. Going to the market  is much cheaper than going to Disneyland! Children love the market! There is so much to see, touch and learn at the market.

Not realistic? Ok, then have some concrete rules:

(1) We never buy candy at the market,

(2) We never buy toys at the market,

(3) We only buy the food that is on my list, and

(4) Should you choose to throw a fit in the market, you will be on the “minute drill”. (See prior column,  “Getting Children to Mind” )

Remember, behavior that is rewarded continues; behavior that is not rewarded stops.

Stop unreasonable behavior while at the market. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #15
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

GETTING CHILDREN TO MIND:
I read your June 17th column on the “minute drill” and it worked the first time on my very stubborn child. Please tell us more!”

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION:  As a reminder, the key to the “minute drill” is to have something the child wants to do (computer, TV, something specific). Every time the child chooses not to mind, time is taken off of a favorite activity.

You have taken your children to the beach. It is time to go home. Children do not change channels quickly; give them a five-minute warning, “We are going to be leaving the beach in five minutes, so play really hard.”

 When it is time to leave, call the children. If one of them stalls or fails to come say, “Ok, you are on the minute drill!” What that means to the child is that for every minute it takes for him/her to comply, fifteen minutes comes off of something that child likes to do. If you go to the beach often, you can ask the child to sit in the “remembering spot”

for (fifteen minutes) the next time you are at the beach. What the child is remembering is to come when he/she is called.

The child does not want to get out of the bathtub. Give the child a five-minute warning.

Then the child is on the “minute drill”; stand and look at your watch and say, “You are on the minute drill.”  For every minute it takes the child to mind, you will take fifteen minutes off of something the child wants to do. If bath time pre-cedes bedtime, you can take fifteen minutes off of that night’s story time.

The child asks you to for something. You say no. The child moves in to “melt-down”. Look at your watch and say, “Ok, you are on the minute drill.”  If the child ignores you, put him/her in his/her bedroom with instructions to come out when that child has calmed down –not before.

One child steals something from another child and runs. Instead of running after the child, turn your wrist over, look at your watch and say, “You are on the minute drill!’ When the item is returned, you can settle the problem at hand.

Use the world “choice” often. “Anne, you have two choices right now. Either hand me the toy or you are on the minute drill.” Be very sure that the child understands the “minute drill” is a result of the child’s choice. Use the word choice. “James, you may choose to get out of the water right now, or you are on the minute drill.”

The “minute drill” works from age three through the teen years. Can you imagine how fast a teenager might complete a chore if time to use your car is at stake? “For every minute it takes you beyond fifteen minutes, to pick up that mess, you are on the minute drill.”  I can hear the teenagers groaning now!

The “minute drill” will work as long as it is consistently enforced. It is most effective when enforced without anger. The behavior stops –and no one is harmed in the process.

POTTY TRAINING: I get lots of email from parents who are pulling out their hair, trying to get their child potty-trained. Every expert I’ve ever read, including Dr. Terry Brazelton, says to let the child decide when he or she is ready.

Some children are ready to pay attention to their body signals earlier than others. Some children are so intense that they don’t read the body messages.

Peer pressure is waiting around the corner. More maturity occurs every day.  You can prompt the child to go to the bathroom. You can bribe the child to go to the bathroom. You can pull your hair out at the roots because your child isn’t potty trained--or you can leave it alone and let the child decide. 

By the way, if your child WAS potty trained and is now (excuse the pun) losing it, just go back into diapers saying, “When you are ready to be out of diapers, let me know.”

Children are pressured into learning this, doing that, behaving in a certain way. Being a child isn’t easy. Give a little, take a little; decide what is really important to you, and relax in other less important areas.

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #16
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN:
Thanks to the television, most children and adults have a six-second attention span. That means that they have been trained to see a new frame (different picture) every six seconds.

Many children have trouble reading because the sequences are moving too slowly for their trained brain. School becomes boring because a teacher is just standing there talking. A lecture from a parent or even a normal conversation becomes boring after a few seconds.

A parent may choose to accommodate this need for change, or train a child to slow down and use his/her creativity and intelligence. There are a thousand games to play while you are in the car: Moving through the alphabet, name an animal that starts with each letter. Look for each letter in the alphabet in sequence on license plates. Sing!

Talk to each other. Learn about things that you are seeing along the way.

With children nine years old through the teen years, you can have them create silly reasons that towns, cities, and states got their name. "Did you know that Bend, Oregon is the retirement city for all divers who swam to the surface too quickly?"  (You can get the bends if you rise to the surface too quickly while diving under water.)  Yes, I know, it is silly. That’s the point. If the kids call themselves the "McDaniel Historical Society", and have someone to send this relevant information to, it becomes a fun thing to do, helps to pass time, and invites the children to be creative.

Videos and computer games have their place in a long car ride. However, taking children somewhere is an opportunity for you, as a family to enjoy each other and bond together.

The "Broken Record" is a tool I teach to say no when you want to say no. It may also be used for the question that begins as you leave the driveway of your home, "How long before we get there?"  Find a group of words, rather wordy, and repeat them exactly, (except for the suggestion of what to do), every time you get the question, "It seems like we’ve been in the car a long time doesn’t it. We will get there when we get there. Why don’t you count how many white cars you see in the next five minutes." 

Maybe I’m just jealous that we didn’t have all these gadgets to entertain the troops during a road trip. And, I watch my adult children manage relationships and social situations with great ease; perhaps creating places where we constantly interacted had something to do with that. Maybe we were lucky we didn’t have so much "stuff" for children in the "good ol days!"

BEING YOUR CHILDREN’S BUDDY: So often, when I am working with a parent, the deciding factor in successfully disciplining a child is a willingness not to be that child’s buddy. 

Having worked with "at risk" students for many years, I assure you that a child does not respect a parent who lets their child get away with making inappropriate choices.

Too many parents seem to be so concerned that their children like them, that they will alter their behavior to win back the child’s love.

Ironically, a child may threaten to take his/her love away when that child is angry, yet the child feels safer when boundaries are set and enforced. When a child says, "I hate you!" tell the child, "Saying you don’t like my choice or that you are angry is acceptable.

You are very angry right now. That’s ok. What I want you to understand is that no matter what you say or do, you are not going to (have a cookie before dinner). "  If You use the "broken record" and repeat that whole long paragraph every time the child repeats, "I hate you!’, the child will stop. Why? Because it is boring.

Another tactic for heading off "I hate you!" comments is to put a child on the minute drill. (Check last week’s column or the column, "Getting Children to Mind You" for information on the minute drill.) "For each minute you choose to say that statement, fifteen minutes comes off of your (computer, TV) time. Go for it!"

Your job is to teach your child to have the personal skills to walk safely and successfully in the world. Teaching those skills may not put you on the "I just love and adore at this moment!" list with a child. Too bad! If the choice is to raise dysfunctional human beings or be adored by your children, choose to be their teacher. In the long run, you will earn their respect and love by being consistent, fair and firm. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #17
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel 

Supporting Your Teenager:
I work with “at risk” students in the schools. Many teenagers have told me how isolated they feel.  Being different (or feeling different) is a terrible burden to them. Saying or doing something and feeling stupid seems to be an endless plight. Not fitting in is a curse.

What the individual teenager does not realize is that he or she is not alone in those feelings.

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

Here are some thoughts to share with your child who is battling through those incredibly difficult years:

1.   Many kids anesthetize themselves so they don’t feel the pain of trying to fit in and get along during this difficult time. Three ways to do this are with alcohol or drugs, by over-eating or by not eating.  It is easy to run away from pain. The problem is that running becomes a pattern. Running does not solve the problem. The fear will continually wait for you to conquer it.  Lots of people run rather than facing their feelings; I respect your choice to be the exception.

“This time will end. It will mercifully be over. I wish I could tell you the exact day and date that that will happen. I cannot do that. And, I promise you, this is a time that will end. Meanwhile, think of your life as a fire walk. There are people who will walk across a bed of hot coals. They convince themselves they will not be burned, and they are not burned. You are at a fire walk. Keep going. Don’t stop. See if you can sort out the truth from fiction, and don’t give up on you.”

2.   Get off of the idea that everyone will like you. You are broccoli. People either love that vegetable or they have no use for it. Stay true to you. Wait for someone to come along who likes broccoli. It will happen. Forget the crowd; they are using one brain for many people; choose not to be one of them.”

So often, when we don’t know what to do, we choose to do nothing. Doing nothing to emotionally support your teenager deepens that child’s feelings of loneliness. It is wise to talk to your child in a firm, understanding way. Verbalize your morals and values. Threatening and putting a lot of “shoulds” on a teenage, pushes that child away.

Even when a teenage acts disinterested and ungrateful, talk to him or her; that child’s life may depend upon it.

POTTY TRAINING: I get lots of email from parents who are pulling out their hair, trying to get their child potty-trained. Every expert I’ve ever read, including Dr. Terry Brazelton, says to let the child decide when he or she is ready.

Some children are ready to pay attention to their body signals earlier than others. Some children are so immersed in what they are doing that they don’t read their body messages.

Peer pressure is waiting around the corner. More maturity occurs every day.  You can prompt the child to go to the bathroom. You can bribe the child to go to the bathroom. You can pull your hair out at the roots because your child isn’t potty trained--or you can leave it alone and let the child decide. 

By the way, if your child WAS potty trained and is now (excuse the pun) losing it, just go back into diapers saying, “When you are ready to be out of diapers, let me know.”

Children are pressured into learning this, doing that, behaving in a certain way. Being a child isn’t easy. Give a little, take a little; decide what is really important to you, and relax in other less important areas. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #18
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

CRITICISM KILLS A CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

Many adults have feel that their best is never good enough. We learned that from our parents. Criticism erodes a child’s sense of self. Criticism builds distrust.

Teach teaching, not correcting. Endless criticism gives the message, “You are never good enough!”  Were you given that message by your parents? If yes, do not pass it forward.

Teach a child how to do something. Failure is certain if the child does not know how to do the skill. Make no assumptions. Teach H-O-W.

If a child doesn’t do the skill well, do not do it over for him or her. The message you are sending is, “Not good enough.”  Children give up when they can’t do anything “good enough.” The next day, teach the skill again. Remember to give high fives for effort.

Set the child up for success. If the child always puts the fork on the right side of the plate while setting the table, give the child a high five for effort. The next night put the knife and spoon on the tablemats. Ask the child the put the fork in the place that is left, and give that child a rousing high five when the task is accomplished. The child will put the fork on the left the next time because success is a better teacher than failure. 

If a child is asked to pick up the mess in their room, be specific about what you want to be accomplished, “Please put all the toys away, take anything that is growing to the kitchen, and put your dirty clothes in a hamper.”  Your idea of a clean room will never be the same as your child’s. Have you noticed that to be true? Be specific.

Ask the child to repeat your instructions, “Sometimes, I’m not as clear as I would like to be; please tell me what you are going to do.” If the child says that he/she heard you, say, “There is a long and short way to do this; the short way is to repeat what you are going to do. Choose.”  If the child chooses the long way, slowly repeat the whole chore list again, and then ask the child to repeat what he/she is to do.

Boredom is your endless ally. Children can combat anger; they will not choose to keep something going if it is boring. Use boredom over anger.

BEING CRITICAL IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE:  Part of choosing not to be critical all the time requires a perspective adjustment on your part. If the person who raised you walks up to someone looking for what is wrong with that person, there is a good chance you do that also. It sounds too simple to say, “Look for the good in people!” and that is the key to changing how you walk in the world.

When I walk up to my mother, she’s checking to see if I’ve lost or gained weight, thinking about how gray my hair is getting, or something else that is negative. When I walk up to my daughter, Kathleen, I am thinking how much I love her and how glad I am to see her. Perspective is a choice.

Look for the good in everyone and everything; that one choice will dramatically change your life. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #19
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

DISCIPLINING A TWO YEAR OLD:
My two year old is impossible. He yells, screams, dumps toys on the ground and refuses to pick them up,and hits his little brother.  I’m a wreck at the end of the day and I feel like a failure.

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

 

A SOLUTION: Your child may be choosing not to behave because you are not setting clear boundaries and serving fair consequences. When the child understands that certain behavior is unacceptable, he/she will stop that behavior.

Have a "penalty box," like they do in hockey. A playpen is ideal. The child hits his brother. You swoop that child up, put him into the penalty box or chair and have him sit there for as many minutes as he is old. A two year old sits for two minutes. "We do not hit in our home!’ (This rule is more difficult to enforce if you spank your child.)

If the child climbs out of the penalty box, return him to it, and start the timer over. Every time the child escapes, return him to the box and start the time over. The point to make is that you will enforce this consequence.

The child dumps toys on the floor.Make a game out of picking up the toys. See if the child can get all of the toys into a box before the timer goes "ding!"  If that doesn’t work, ask the child to pick up the toys. The child refuses. Put the child in the penalty box for (two) minutes. When the timer rings, tell the child it is time to pick up the toys. If the child refuses, return him to the penalty box. Repeat the process.

With an older child, invite the child to pick up the toys. Say, "If you choose not to pick up the toys, I will pick them up for you. They will go into a pillowcase and that pillowcase will go into the closet. You will not be able to play with these toys for three days.

If the child doesn’t care, pick up the toys and put them away. When you have all of the child’s toys (assuming he/she is stubborn enough to push the margin that far), the child may earn the pillow cases back with chores or specific behavior changes.

When he yells, put him in his room. "When you choose to calm down and stop screaming, please come find me. I think it would be fun to work a puzzle."

Behavior that is rewarded continues, behavior that is not rewarded, stops. It is a law. If your child is misbehaving, look for how you are rewarding the negative behavior. It takes a lot of energy to get a child back in control. In the long haul, however, you will not be expending excessive energy towards getting the child to mind you. Once the child believes you mean it, pushing every possible boundary will stop.

BE CONSISTENT: I receive dozens and dozens of calls and email. Some of the problems are different; the most common reason for a problem is a lack of consistency on the part of the parent.

If you mean what you say on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but give in on Friday, your child will ask this question every day, "Is this a Friday?" 

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Follow through. The key to successful discipline is to be consistent. 

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PARENTING SOLUTIONS #20
by Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel

COMMUNICATE SO CHILDREN CAN HEAR YOU:
One problem that constantly surfaces in my private parenting classes is not being consistent. Another problem that erodes the quality and ease of your discipline system is to fail to communicate clearly.

REMEMBERYou care so you remind yourself to be:

* Consistent

* Always listening

* Reasonable

* Encouraging

A SOLUTION:  Teach children to use their words.  A small child holds up a bottle or drink container, “What’s the problem?” The child answers, “I can’t get the lid off!” You reply, “What do you want from me?”

It is obvious that the child wants you to remove the lid. Automatically doing so stops the child from communicating clearly; “I can’t get the lid off, will you please do it for me?”

As adults, we communicate in half sentences and have our own version of temper tantrums when the family or friends don’t fulfill our unexpressed needs. The way to stop this cycle is to teach your children to communicate clearly.

My friend’s four-year-old daughter stands in front of me, back to me, her swimsuit needing to be hooked. “What do you want from me, Molly?

A six year old gets frazzed over something that happens and begins ranting. Put your hands over your ears to communicate that you have a listening problem. Shake your head to indicate “no”. Say, “I can’t hear those words and so your problem won’t get solved. Use your words.” Keep repeating your words until the child gets bored hearing them.

We had a rule in our home that you are kind to each other. It is a very cool rule as most of the things children do that are unkind can be stopped with; “We have a rule that we are kind; calling your brother a name is not kind.”

You teach most by what you model. (Please read that sentence again.) It is important that you use words to communicate clearly.

Not clear: “Go clean your room!”

Clear: “All the clothes go in the hamper, games go into the game box and anything growing goes into the dishwasher. Your ticket to dinner is to have these jobs completed. Any questions?”

Not clear: “Don’t talk back to me, young man!’

Clear: “I can see you are very angry with my choice. I believe my choice is best for you. If you choose to continue arguing with me, you will be on the Minute Drill.” (See Columns #10 and #15 about the Minute Drill.)

No matter how clear and clean your words are, realize that 90% of what you communicate is through tone of voice and body language. Soft words coming out of a “Darth Vader” stance are regarded as angry words. Bland words take on a critical tone with a certain tone of voice.

Are you, by any chance, using a negative tone of voice that was modeled for you? If yes, chill! Communicate with love.

LIFE IS THE QUESTION, LOVE IS THE ANSWER! There is no problem that exists that will not improve if it is embraced with love. We have been taught to judge, to think negative thoughts, to put ourselves down, to look for the negative in each situation.

Changing that is a choice. Make your home a place where love is ever-present. Make your personal space on earth a safe place for all to visit because you choose to live in love. 

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Sandy McDaniel Enterprises
Phone: (949) 642-3605
Email: sandy@sandymcdaniel.com
Copyright (C) Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel, 2002