My son is three and is so smart that convential ways of discipline don’t seem to work on him. He outsmarts my logical arguments. Timeouts don’t phase him, and a swift tap on the bottom would only make him laugh at me. I would never hit hard enough to hurt, as I’m not that kind of mother but I only tap tight enough to get his attention. I have only given him a swat 3 times in his little life, and we call it a tap. It’s no harder than a tap, and I don’t like to confuse it with spanking…because it’s not.
So what has been working at my home? A chart of activities and things that need to be worked on, with stars for recognition. I have a dry erase board on my refridge that will boast with stars for a ‘job well done’, or can allow stars to be erased for not listening or obeying mom & dad.
My son has to gain 35 stars in a weeks time to achieve a fun activity on the weekend. I know this is something so simple, but it really works. Most of you out there probably do this, so this concept is probably not new to you……my mom did it for me. BUT, most only add stars for the good behavior. In our house, my son has to work to keep those stars on the board. It’s the only way I’ve found to teach him the consequences of bad behavior, and the one thing he hates more than anything is getting a star erased off his chart of stars.
It has curbed any ‘terrible three’ episodes and has helped him earn fun outings like the zoo, or the omniplex, or a playzone…maybe even going to see the horses at a friend’s ranch. Our chart of stars have encouraged good behaviour and discouraged bad. I don’t know how long I can keep this thing going…but it’s working for now.