My family is German Scot. That means we enjoy every little thing, talk shit about every little thing, and argue over every little thing. And we do it LOUDLY. Me personally, I have a lot of patience but once that’s worn thin, I get FLAMING MAD and it lasts forever! When you have kids and they are babies, you are just in awe of how this little miracle came about. When they turn 2, you wonder how you’re going to get through the day without a felony charge. ‘Terrible Twos’ they say. That’s being polite. I call them, “The Asshole Years.”
I have an 8yo, 6yo, and 2yo. All girls. From the moment their eyes are open to the moment they pass out from exhaustion, their mouths are running. It doesn’t stop. I tell them, “Be. Quiet.” and they think I just want them to lower the volume. Really, when they are asleep or at school and I have a little ‘me time’ I don’t play the radio, talk on the phone, or anything. I sit in the middle of the backyard with my tea and listen to nothing.
My younger sister is a therapist for families and I was chatting with her one day about the frustration I have with my 800 kids. How they always fight, they’ve been getting mouthy so I’ve been grounding them, etc. Normal kid bullshit. So a little later that week, I received a DVD set in the mail from her called 1-2-3 Magic. It’s a program to help better discipline your children.
Everyone has their own way to parent. I’m a yeller. My parents were yellers/ spankers. My older sister is a guilt-layer. There is no one way to parent every kid. They are just too different. My 8yo is pretty easy going. She gets a mouth on her sometimes and that’s where she gets into trouble the most but other than that, she’s a good kid. My 6yo is polar opposite. She seems to LOVE being in trouble. She was a small premee with all kinds of health issues since she was born too early. She was always in my pocket because I thought she was just a frail little thing that I couldn’t set down for one moment. She’s not anymore! Since she was 1, she had a serious issue with social anxiety. My therapist sister got us some great referrals and we have been working with counselors since 2010 🙂 and she’s made SUCH an improvement! But she’s a handful. She too with the mouth. And she likes to yell back which just tips my scales, you know? It was at the point where we were in DAILY shouting matches and groundings. It was killing all my energy, killing the atmosphere in the house, not to mention creating static between her and I. This was about a month ago, when I got the DVDs, and I sat and watched the first one. It was a long DVD and it’s set up a little corny but it had just a wealth of information and strategies to stop the static and get back to enjoying eachother again.
The basic premise is the counting system with 2 big differences. 1) You fucking follow through and 2) once it’s done, you don’t talk about it again.
The doctor who created it is very down to earth and seems to know his shit. Kids know they are doing wrong, why explain that to them? So, your kid is eating out of the frosting jar. You say, “that’s one” and wait 5 seconds (SECONDS). If they don’t correct the behavior, you say, “That’s two” and wait another 5 seconds. If they don’t correct the behavior still, you say, “That’s three” and off they go into a time out. Regular time out doesn’t always work so I switch it up. For my 6yo, she doesn’t care about time out as long as she has her blanket. So her time out is 6 minutes without her blanket. SHE IS DEVASTATED ABOUT IT! With my 8yo, she doesn’t care about traditional time out where she sits in her room. She has to always be doing something so her time out is sitting on the floor completely still for 8 minutes. HATES IT!
You might think that my 2yo is too small to respond to this process – NO SIR! I got her on this at the same time as the other kids (about a month ago) and she responds faster and better than the older two! Her time out is a regular, old school time out. And she HATES it! It wasn’t ‘magic’ so to speak. It took about 2 weeks to get them into the process full but it was my fault. I would count then let them off the hook 2 seconds into the time out. Or I would negotiate with them, stuff like that. But once I was consistant (like I will even stick them in time out at the store!), they responded brilliantly and now, even though they still have conflict between themselves, they are starting to argue in a better manner, they are being more polite and responding better to my requests of them, and even OUR time together is better because I don’t yell as much as I used to. It’s only been a month or so and they slip from time to time but as long as I don’t slip then they seem to come right back in line.
I was really very impressed with the results and we are still learning and refining our use of this program but I had to tell everyone. This is a great tool as long as you follow it to the letter. I mean right down to the little details. If you do, you will have a more responsive child. And this is going help me achieve my goals of being a great mom (Mary Poppins and shit). Keep your cool, be consistant, and let it go. It’s really a game changer for me.
Take care everybody! And be kind.
The Trophy Wife