Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Good Mom Vs. The Bad Mom

Since I've been raising kids for a whole three years now, I consider myself to be an expert on raising kids the WRONG way. I'll give you an example. Cameron has always been a terrible sleeper. At least I was blessed with one good sleeper...Ethan. Cameron gets up every single night and tries to sneak in bed with me. I got smart and started locking his door. This way I can hear him whining at the door, instead of waking up in the morning with him in my bed. In the last two or so weeks, Ethan's been quite a handful at night too (hopefully just a phase), taking about 45 minutes to get to sleep, and then waking up in the middle of the night too. Being a sleep deprived mother in my current state (well, let's face it, we are ALL sleep deprived ALL the time), I gave Cameron an ultimatum. Actually it was just a montrous load of consequences. So this is pretty much how the night panned out.

1. Put Cameron in bed, and talked to him about staying in bed.

2. Give him the consequences if he gets out of bed: take away his truck that Grandpa made, no playground tomorrow, no Home Depot kids' project tomorrow, and finally a spank.

3. He's up, take away his truck.

4. It's the middle of the night: put him back to bed, and tell him no playground or Home Depot.

5. It's morning and he didn't get up again, so I didn't have to follow through with the last consequence.

Okay, so what's wrong with this situation other than I gave him way too many consequences (remember, sleep deprived)? Maybe it's the fact that I just made the day horrible for me by not having any fun places for Cameron to spend his energy, maybe it's because he didn't seem bummed about losing any of these things, maybe it's because I LOVE going to the Home Depot with Cameron every month to "bond", or maybe it's all of them.

So, here's a tip from a mom who has two active boys, and a measley three years of experience (only 1 1/2 dealing with toddlers).

1. Give a consequence that is gonna make them sad (possibly something tangible...spankings don't really work on Cameron, and I use them as a last resort a lot of the time).

2. Follow through. Even though I told him that we aren't going to the Home Depot as his consequence for not staying in his bed, it's still tempting to forget about it because you just love them so darn much (remember Puss in Boots from Shrek with his big eyes that you just can't resist?)

3. Give them a consequence that you don't care about. So, one that will make him/her sad, but won't bother you in the slightest. I love going to the Home Depot, and it's a chance to spend quality time with Cameron, and I gave it up. Not a good idea.

4. REWARD and PRAISE them when they've done a good job, and haven't required the use of your consequences. I forget about this A LOT! Many times I will tell Cameron if he does a certain thing that he won't be able to play with the toy he currently has in his hands, or that I'll send him to the corner. But when he listens to me, and doesn't do that act or bad behavior, I often forget to reward him or praise him for it. So, do it!

Okay, that's all my insight. What do you have?