Friday, March 28, 2014

The Scott Family Responsible Child Boot Camp: Day 5

We are almost finished with our boot camp.  This doesn't mean that we are finished training.  It means that next week we will start normal school, and we will lessen our training to a weekly goal.  This week wasn't at all what I expected, but we have seen some incredible results.  I will post more on that tomorrow.

Today, we have LittleK with us all day.  LittleK normally goes to preschool (in order to learn Spanish) 3 mornings a week to a WONDERFUL Montessori school where he washes his own dishes, cuts tomatoes with a real knife, and a host of other things.  So he has missed out on a lot of the training that we have done.  So, today I will be using the older children to help me train him.  I think that will be very effective, as that little guy sometimes listens better to his siblings than to me!

We did NOT play the Quiet Game as much as I wanted, so the big kids can only sit still for 5 minutes (at least as far as we've tested) and LittleK needs WAY more practice with that, so today, we will being doing that.

Code Word Calling has been SUPER effective, but the problem is that I sometimes forget to use the code word.  I need as much practice with that as the kids to.  So, we will set up several artificial Code Word Callings, so that they can practice stopping whatever they are doing to come right away.  I sort of feel dorky yelling "CHEETAH" off the balcony at my children, but then again, they really respond well to it, so who cares.  Plus, I don't have much of a voice because of this cold.

Meal times are going much better with manners (at least with the older two), but I don't think practicing outside of meal times will help much, so we are just going to be super on them when we sit down to eat.

I never made it outside yesterday to practice speaking with adults because I took a nap instead (we're going to blame it on the cold), but we had a dinner guest last night and the kids did really well.  After that, I know we need to work on the Interrupting Game A LOT, but not just with hand signals, also with just practicing listening.  I  have never met a child who NEVER interrupts, so I think this is a long term goal.

A comment on an earlier post this week talked about a little script that this particular family uses to remind of obedience (that isn't nagging) and I love it!  We have done something similar in the past, but this one is longer, and I tried it yesterday and it seems to give the kid some time to think through his response.  We changed it up a tiny bit to fit us, but basically it goes like this:

When a child isn't obeying, or is complaining, or ignoring, etc)

Me: What is obeying?
Kid: Doing what you say, when you say it, with a respectful attitude.

Me: When do we obey?
Kid: First time.

Me: How do we obey?
Kid: Without complaint

Me: What do choices have?
Kid: Consequences

Me: What do good choices have?
Kid: Good consequences

(and I've been leaving it at that, even though I taught them "What do bad choices have?"  "Bad consequences", but I am assuming that they will make a good choice, which goes a long way toward how they will act!)

Anyway, we are going to be adding this, as it also calms me down when I start getting frustrated with disobedience.  I have a script which we have taught in advance.

Let me say this: We do not believe that children should be controlled by their parents.  We have come to this after a lot of trial and error with our kids, a lot of reading books, being instructed by other parents, and by taking parenting classes.  We are not "obey simply because I said so" people for the most part.  We do believe in choices and consequences and discipline, but not in an authoritarian sense. Hence the training.  We are doing this to create habits and associations.  We've only been doing this parenting thing for 8 years, so we have a lot to learn, but in those 8 years we've learned that, at least with a couple of our kids, expecting immediate obedience with no dissent at all times followed by a harsh discipline (spanking, solitary confinement, etc) doesn't work all that well.  And the goal isn't to have perfectly little obedient children.  The goal is to have self controlled, wise, Jesus loving, understanding adults. This is contrary to much of the Christian parenting we've observed/been taught, but with our "method" if you can call it that, we feel like we are teaching our children to understand how to offer dissent respectfully, how to reason through actions, how to create habits, and how to treat real authority.  Please know that I am NOT claiming to be an expert, and we are probably doing something "wrong,"  but God's grace is bigger than our parenting mistakes!  Haha!

And one thing I've learned over the last 8 years: There is no one right way to raise children.  I know wonderful adults who were spanked, wonderful adults who were not.  I know wonderful adults who's parents used time outs, and ones who's parents wouldn't dream of isolating their children.  What I've learned is that discipline is love and that the Word of God offers little in terms of methodology, and a ton in terms of motivation.  :)  So, walk in grace, parents, and love your children well!  And know that the Father and Creator of the Universe is with you, guiding you and giving all wisdom!  

And "wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical."  James 3:17


Timothy Putnam said...
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Timothy Putnam said...

Our parish priest says, "whether you are the type of parent who spanks, or the kind of parent who gives time-outs, or the kind of parent who redirects – if you are consistent in that discipline, you'll be able to take your kids out to restaurants."

I think he's right on. There is no right way to parent a child. Even within a family each child needs different forms of discipline.

A lot of the way we do things came from a classroom management class K took in college. She has this book called "The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher" by Harry K. Wong that gave sage advice.

It goes something like this, there should only be a handfull of rules, but they should be broad enough to cover a multitude of things. (i.e. be respectful covers a lot of ground!)

In addition to rules there should be policies and procedures (protocals). How do we come into class, and sit at our desks? How do we come to the dinner table.

The basic idea is that breaking a rule receives a discipline. Breaking a procedure receives a correction.

Not to say that we do this perfectly, but it's created a more peaceful environment.

You are an inspiration! I know that Boot Camp was likely exhausting for you, but it's awesome that you took the time to do it!