Saturday, October 10, 2009

Follow through

It has been such a long time since I have posted, but I just had to touch base to make a comment about consistency...I have been working with families of children that are really acting out that we were concerned about some deeper meanings behind their behaviors...but what came out most of the time was that there was never any consequences for the behaviors.
One child was running out into the street over and over again--a real safety issue and when I asked what the parents did when this happened, they said that they went to get her. I think they could see the shock on my face and replied that they did not want to spank her, just in case she didn't understand, because she is only 3. Listen--3 year olds can understand NOT SAFE! DANGER!! A 6 month old can understand your stressed voice say is all about tone and follow through. We set up some consequences and some "keep it from happenings" for this family and they just kept saying--do you really think she will understand? I finally said, "Are you willing to risk it if she does or doesn't? I mean, you could be talking about life and death here."
Another child, the behavior was just a real concern because he wasn't unable to play by himself and would throw a big fit if his mom encouraged it. So, we set up a schedule and a timer for "Tommy (that wasn't his name) time" and even if he threw a fit, play time was all on his own until the timer went off. We started with just three minutes because she said that sometimes he would play for a minute or two... and we said that the goal would be 15. She cried thinking about 15 minutes to be able to do the dishes in the mornings. I explained that just being consistent and expecting him to do it--not giving in when the fit got too big--would get it there.
I saw this with Easton a few weeks ago and my friends keep making fun of me because he was really giving me a hard time in the car on the way to Waco...hollering and fussing in the back seat. Jason was on call, so I was on my own taking both kids to my parents and I had gotten a later start than I had wanted to--so I set him up for failure. BUT--I still had to be consistent. He was being rude and I redirected him to make a better choice and handed him a toy. He continued to throw a fit and holler. I gave him a warning that he would have to sit in timeout (knowing that I was driving on Hwy 31 and where would I put him?) if he could not get it together...well--he called my bluff. He threw a book down and screamed no at me. I pulled the car over and walked back to him and restated the expectations and pulled him out of the car. (Yes, I wanted to spank him, but that was not the consequence that I had given him...)I walked over to the side of the road and sat him in the grass. He kept pointing to the cars flashing by and saying, "I'm going to get hit by a car", it was so funny--but not funny at the same time. As soon as he got it together, he stood up and apologized and we dried his eyes, gave sugars and had a wonderful remaining drive to Waco. The great thing is now when we are driving somewhere and he acts up--he KNOWS that there is a consequence of time out--he has experienced it. If Mommy says will happen. That is follow through. Kids need that in their lives.

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