My Parenting Pet Peeve: "If You Do That One More Time..."

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  1. Explain to the child the behavior that was wrong. Get down to their level, face to face, and calmly explain to them what they did wrong. Make them repeat it back to you, if you need to, to make sure they were listening and understanding. And please understand that you are explaining to your child that the behavior was wrong, and not the child. Put emphasis on "shooting the water at the baby was wrong" not "you are bad for shooting the water at the baby." It's the smallest little difference, but it shows your kid that you still love them, just not their behavior at the moment.
  2. Clearly explain the consequence if the behavior continues. Don't be unrealistic, either. No, "If you shoot the baby with water one more time, I'm grounding you for the rest of the summer." Match the consequence to the behavior appropriately, and remember to give a time frame. Shooting the baby with water one more time is a time frame. The kid knows if they do it just once, the consequence occurs. Make sure the kid understands the consequence. Make them repeat it back to you, if you have to.
  3. Follow through. This is probably the most important part. Follow through, immediately. No ifs, ands, or buts from you, and follow through exactly when you told the child you would. If you said "one more time" and they do it again, then that's their "one more time."

It's 3 little steps, not hard to follow, but yes, much harder to implement, I will say that. You'll get the hang of it after a while, and I promise you it works. I started this with my kids when they were around 2, and still do it to this day. Generally speaking, as soon as I give them the consequence and time frame, I don't have any problems with them performing the behavior anymore. If they do, the consequence occurs. I get a lot of, "But mom, we forgot." My reply: "Well, you were told what would happen, you understood, it happened again, so there you go."

Here's a few tips to keep in mind when applying this technique:

  • Make the consequence fit you and your situation at the moment. If my kid had been shooting the baby with water and I didn't want to leave the pool yet, then don't make the immediate consequence that you are going to take him to his room. That inconveniences you, other kids or people at the pool with you, and makes it less likely that you will follow through with it, because it's a consequence you don't like. That's why I said above that he would go into time out, right there at the pool. If the behavior progresses, then yes, eventually you might be inconvenienced, but make it a last resort. It shows the kid that his bad behavior won't stop life from happening, just keep him from enjoying it.
  • Continue with it despite naysayers. I had so many of my friends and family tell me I'm a bitch because I parent this way. If The Ginger, let's say, was calling his sister names while playing with his favorite toy, and I clearly explained to him what he was doing that was wrong, that if he continued he would get his favorite toy taken away for the rest of the day, and then took his favorite toy away from him when he called his sister a name again, I would get stares from around me, and "Man, that was a bitchy thing to do." Why? I explained to him what would happen, he did it, he got the consequence. How does that make me a bitch? Because I took his favorite toy away? He knew it would happen if he continued, I'm just following through, thank you.
  • Don't cave. Don't give the kid back his favorite toy if he starts to cry. He understood the consequence. You can always renegotiate with the child later about doing something to earn his toy back, but it needs to be on your terms, not his. It shows him that you are boss.
  • Employ it for positive behavior, too. Grocery stores are the worst. Kids want this and that, and especially if you have younger kids, a fight ensues somewhere. Before going into the grocery store, clearly explain to the kids that if they make it through the grocery store without begging and pleading for things (I'm realistic -- I tell the kids 3 times and they are out), then at the end they will get a reward (candy bar, favorite bag of chips, 30 minutes of video game time when they get home, etc).

I'm all about actions and consequences. Now that my kids are older, compared to other kids I've seen, mine are pretty damn well behaved. They can be a little hyper at times, but at least they aren't Zombie Children. They have learned that if mom says something is going to happen, it's going to happen. They know I don't throw out empty threats.

Meaning, I'm in control.

This little hellion last night ran around the pool numerous times, every time I heard, "Billy Bob, stop running around the pool." The Ginger ran around the pool once. That's it. I told him to stop running around the pool and what would happen if he ran around the pool, and he didn't do it again. Yes, The Ginger is 7 and Billy Bob was around 2, but it's because of the parenting that I did when The Ginger was 2, is how I have a child that listens at 7.

Billy Bob also peed on the fence. Yep. Pulled down his swim trunks and peed right there on the concrete and the fence. There was no conversation beforehand with his mom or sister about how he had to go to the bathroom, and they told him to go pee anywhere. He just chose to do it. In public. At a pool. And they never even noticed.

Stellar parenting there.

I wanted to snap on these women last night -- tell them to take charge of their kid and be an effing parent. Something tells me that it wouldn't have mattered. Many people like this don't want help. They don't care if their kids run wild or do whatever; as long as the kids don't bother them, it's fine. While Billy Bob was peeing on the fence, the older woman was rocking the baby to sleep, and the younger woman was relaxing in the hot tub. Neither of them cared what Billy Bob was doing, and didn't want to be bothered by it, either. They need to start thinking down the road, though. Do they want a teenager who pees on everything around him just because no one ever told him not to? I sure wouldn't.

Is this just my parenting pet peeve, or do others share it as well? Let me know what y'alls parenting pet peeves are below. Or, ask questions about my technique; I'm always happy to answer! And if you know of any moms that actually want help at controlling their hellions, then share my article with them. It's worth a try, right?

Unless you want a kid that pees on fences. One day they'll get an electric fence... Ouch!


~ Tatted Mom
The Inklings of Life 

Photo Credit: titlap.


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