Monday, February 2, 2009

Thoughtful Limit Setting #1

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Love Me Enough to Set Some Limits is an awesome CD you can buy from and then listen to over and over again in your car or your kitchen! Here's the plus - firm limit setting builds self esteem!

Do you keep track of your kids in the store or do they keep track of you?

We often thoughtlessly (almost by accident) allow our children to train us. So what if your kids have "trained you" to run after them in the store; to tell them to stay close and to yell, "Don't get lost!" ?

Fighting words - telling a kid what to do ("Stay close to me!"), threats ("I'm going to spank you!"), and warnings ( "If you don't behave in the store I'm going to punish you when we get home!") -don't work. Kids always seem to beat us at that game!

So instead, use thinking words. Tell them what you are going to do; "pull the rug out"; or give them choices.

  • "Would you rather stand over there and watch me shop or would you rather come along with me and keep your hands to yourself?"
  • "Would you rather wait in the car or stay by me while we shop?" (You'll need to have collaborated with another adult in advance of you offer this option. Love and logic calls these strategic training sessions. If the child chooses to wait in the car, your helper walks them out there and the remains close to monitors safety but does not engage them in any fun activity. It would not be safe to send the child with keys.
  • One "thinking word" option is to "pull the rug out." This refers to the fact that you give then no warning of your discipline plan. Wait until the next time you go to the store. Mention that your trip will include one of their favorite stops. When they ask if they can go, say, "I'm sorry. I only take children who can stay close to me in the store. I don't relax when I have to worry about you getting lost." Don't use anger or lecture. Just leave. Do what you said you would do no matter how they react. Make that special stop and enjoy yourself. Talk about how much you enjoyed the trip and not having to worry. Then say nothing more. You might even try this a second time before finally giving them the opportunity to prove they have changed their ways.
  • Another "thinking word" option is to tell them what you will do. Suppose you have gone shopping for an item a child wants - like the purchase of a toy with some birthday money. "I shop with children who stay close and listen to me." Be prepared to say this when they misbehave and then immediately walk out of the store. (No warnings). Also be prepared for a full blown tantrum. Remember if you are consistent, don't warn, and don't give in to their tantrums or complaints much of the bad behavior will disappear rapidly.

They key to changing our children's behavior is changing our behavior.

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