Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Obey Right Away

It turns out that getting a new baby brother can bring out both the best and the worst in a 3.5 year old. 
A few days after Mommy and Daddy brought Elliot home from the hospital they were scratching their heads and wondering who the obstinate red head running around was and what she had done with their sweet Katie Bug.
After lots of tears, time outs, and tantrums + advice seeking, praying, and reflecting Mommy came to a few conclusions:
1.  What we were doing wasn't working.
2.  She was spending a whole lot of time disciplining me and not a lot of time encouraging me.
3.  She needed to trust God for the patience and grace she would need to parent me through this transitionl time.
And then, seemingly out of the blue, the idea for an "Obey Right Away" chart came to Mommy's mind.  It's similar to the behavior plans she would create for students in her class who were having a particularly hard time following the rules.  Every* time I immediately obey Mommy and Daddy without whining or fussing I get to put a sticker in a box.  When all of the boxes are full I earn a reward that we have previously agreed upon.
The chart was (almost) magic.
I have something positive to work towards.  Mommy and Daddy are focused on encouraging me to make the right choice (although I am certainly still the recipient of discipline when I need it).  Everyone is happier and our house is running smoother.
So far I have earned something from my Treat Basket, a Berenstein Bear book, and Goldilicious (which Mommy thinks is a huge literary waste). 

*Well, I started out getting a sticker every time I obeyed right away.  Now the stickers come more occasionally.  I think it's some sort of sneaky weaning process.


Jessica Miller Kelley said...

I was just thinking about something like this yesterday--maybe we should try it. Kate has a hard time obeying right away and we tend to give too many chances before taking away a privilege. Something focused on the positive seems like a good idea.

The sibling transition is tough. I can't remember when Kate settled down, but I know the worst was going out of town for Thanksgiving when Claire was just 3 weeks old. The combo of new sibling and travel stress made Kate absolutely insane!