Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One, Two...Follow Through!

It has happened to each of us, before we can distract our toddler, he has already picked up one of those candy bottles filled with sugar (you know what I am talking about...everyone of our kids have grabbed one!) in the check out line claiming he must have it!

As the words, "No" make their way from our lips and our dear child registers their meaning, the dreaded tantrum begins.

We all know the drill.  We all know what we should do.  But do we do actually do what needs to be done? 

Step one, tell your little one, he will not be getting the candy and if he doesn't stop crying, you will take him immediately to the car.  Step two (there is a second step because we all know he won't be stopping the crying fit anytime soon), drop everything and take kicking and screaming child to car...WITHOUT THE CANDY!

These two simple steps are just that...simple.  Okay, not totally an easy thing to do, I mean, who wants to see their precious child crying?  Thoughts quickly go through my head such as, "What is wrong with a little candy?  I mean, I like candy!"  Other thoughts I may entertain, "Do I really want to carry this child out, while everyone is staring at me?  Do I want to get all sweaty, leave my groceries, leave the store?!" It is always easier to give in...in that moment.

But I will promise you one thing, if you are willing to ONE, TWO...FOLLOW THROUGH, many of your problems will be solved.

This two step plan not only applies to the tantruming toddler. It also applies to a 14 year old boy who doesn't think we are serious when we tell him he has to get his grades up (he is perfectly capable) or he will lose his phone (or any child that is expected to DO SOMETHING!)

Case in point.

In January, we told the two oldest children, they would be able to get their phones upgraded if their grades were upgraded (meaning all grades went up).  One succeeded and was treated to a new phone. One failed, and therefore did not get a new phone. The little hiccup came when we realized his phone didn't work at all. We made a bargain (first mistake) and told him he could have my old smart phone (it worked perfectly well, just had a cracked screen).  The deal was he HAD to get his lowered grades not only up but up (that meant A's...remember, he is totally capable) or he would not only NOT get an upgraded phone but would lose his phone altogether.

Now before you say, "Hey wait, he just fasniggled you guys and ended up getting an upgrade right before your eyes!" you are completely right.  He did. 

But we let it slide (total mistake) in hopes he would take the grades seriously.

When the report cards came out a few weeks ago, guess what?!  His grades were WORSE!  Being the mean mom that I am, I told him that phone was history!  I had to relay to Garth to be sure to take away his phone since I was unable due to my trip to Boston.

Upon returning home, it came to my attention that this child still had his phone. When I asked why, he replied, "Dad took away my texting ability. I can only text you, dad and grandma."  Dad (our resident softy), told him he had two weeks to show improvement (that is kind of like letting the child take a few licks on the candy bottle). 

I did not see any effort with homework (maybe I am a dumb parent, but since I see my daughter do about 3 hours of homework each night, one would assume this child would have some too), I actually noticed him talking on the phone to his friends and he was given the ability to text one friend.

After two days, I decided it was time to do the ONE, TWO FOLLOW THROUGH (since we had been skirting around the idea of it...and things were not working)!

The phone was taken...completely.  NO A's, NO PHONE...simple as that.

For the first time in months, I saw this child doing homework.  Then I saw him doing homework again. Another miracle occurred as well, he began talking to me in complete sentences.

That is all it took?!  Bad me.

Here is a reminder of my little formula:

Step 1:  Explain the expectations, followed by consequences (or reward).
Step 2: Follow through (that is the hardest part but absolutely necessary).

And the good news...they will still love you even if they don't get the candy or have a phone for a few months.


kms said...

You took away his phone for B's?

Jill & Jared said...

My mom has been telling me this for years. Long before I had kids! And boy do they know I will keep my promises! You do or don't do this, suffer the consequences! And of course the rewards too. But they always continue to test us! Glad it worked out for you!