Ah, the end of summer is here...right about the time I completely lose my patience, it's time to start a new school year and get back into routine. (Hooray!) I'm in the middle of a really awesome Bible study right now about parenting and discipline, just in the nick of time. The past few weeks I've been raising my voice...oh, you're family...I've been yelling at the kids because they've just quit following directions the first time. And did I mention I'm out of patience, so I pretty much give a direction and then freak out if they haven't carried it out before I take a breath? Yep, not my finest moments this summer.
I was totally going to blog about how we're working on discipline with Noble, but I'm guessing God wanted me to tell the truth tonight, and this is what came out instead. :) In the spirit of full disclosure, this also started out as a family blog and then I realized it's more about me and my shortcomings, so I moved it over here.
One of the things that frustrates me is that as a teacher, I was a LOT more patient and creative when it came to behavior. With my kids, I want a quick fix--but yelling isn't a fix, and when I'm being really honest with myself I want my kids to be a better parent than I've been lately. So we went back to basics and did the ol' happy/sad marble jars this week. (Because I can be slick sometime, we made the "prize" for filling the happy jar a trip to McDonald's, because we've also gotten into some bad eating habits this summer and we need to back off the junk food.)
Noble responded really well to the "narble" idea, and I haven't had to tell him more than once this week to get dressed or brush his teeth or clean up! Of course we let Kayci earn marbles, too, but I had a private talk with her about how I would give Noble more marbles for little things to encourage him to follow directions the first time, and she would earn marbles for going above and beyond, doing things without being asked. I really wanted Noble to feel successful, so I used a smallish happy jar this week, thinking they could fill it in a week. Today they did it, so we let him have McDonald's for dinner! He whined a bit when I emptied the jar and got a bigger one to start fresh, but he'll get the hang of it.
Oh! Yesterday we had one of those moments when I thought, finally, he GETS it! He pooped in his underwear during Bible study (sorry, that's what happened..."had an accident" doesn't really cover it!) and there was nothing wrong with him, he just didn't want to take time to go potty. So, I told him when we got home he needed to move a marble to the sad jar. We came home and he went right to the table and when he pulled a marble out of happy to move to sad, he said, "Mommy, I made more bad choices at MOPS church." He pulled a second marble out and put them both in the sad jar. I tried not to make a big deal out of it, so I calmly asked, "what bad choices did you make?" He said "I pooped and I was fighting, so I have two sad marbles." And that's when discipline does the trick and becomes self-discipline, even if only for a moment...it's moments like that that keep us going, keep us doing the hard things.
Now say a prayer I can keep it together and not lose my narbles as I head back to work next week!