Lydia turned four in January. I feel like it may have flipped a switch inside her. These last 2 weeks have been the most unbelievable—she argues, whines, pouts, stomps her foot and keeps her hair in her face to hide from me when she’s in trouble. Is she 14?!
The last few days have been so bad, I finally pow-wowed with my husband to think of a new way to discipline her. Nothing in our regular bag of tricks was working. We decided to try a little now-and-then discipline. If I had to get onto her 3 times, then my husband would discipline her when he got home, too. (Not as a “mama can’t handle it” but as an additional punishment.)
DID. NOT. WORK.
Then we thought a little positive reinforcement/reward stuff might be better. So I made a chart. It’s not lovely. But it has a few important points…
1. Scripture. I didn’t want a chart that said, “Lydia’s Behavior” or “Don’t Be Naughty”. So, I put Exodus 20:12 in “Lydia’s version” so it said, “Lydia honors her father and mother.”
2. Positive and Negative. I have issues with negative and positive reinforcement. I like the positive stuff but didn’t want to give rewards for false positives (ie. “Wow, you’re smiling, Lydia! You get a sticker!”) and I don’t want to make her think she’s earning my love and approval. And of course, negative reinforcement can always be rough. So. I’m doing a positive AND negative…I put hearts on it for when she does something very awesome (sharing with Asa, obeying immediately, etc.) and blue circles for times I hear her arguing, etc.
3. Her Involvement. I had her write her name at the bottom. I wanted her to be involved and know that she is a part of this chart. We read the verse together. I reminded her that this chart was to show when she was obeying God’s Word. She was very excited and wrote her name with pride!
4. Length. This chart is only for 3 days. I know I can’t expect a 4 year old to be perfect for 2 weeks. But 3 days will be a easy for her (and me!) to pay attention to!
5. Reward. If we deem her chart worthy (I haven’t actually decided how many heart/circles count), she gets to go to a inflatable game place with her Daddy and Asa this weekend.
It’s only been a couple of hours, so I haven’t filled anything in yet. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but we’ll see. I’ll keep you updated. (Update: Made it even better!)
Do you have any great ideas about creative discipline and behavior?