Ok, this one is not written from the viewpoint of having gone through it already and having the answer, but rather, it is written as I am going through it myself.
I have decided that I will work on one thing at a time with my kids. When your kids argue, talk back, leave their clothes all over the floor, respond to their sibling by hitting them, whatever the case may be, they are doing it because they are in the habit of doing it that way.
You have to break that habit if you want change. If you want a habit to be broken, you will need to replace it with a new one.
For example, if you are having trouble with your child hitting his sister when he is mad, somewhere along the line, he has gotten into the habit of responding that way. If you make the decision to change this habit, you will need to be consistent and patient.
Each time this happens, you will go to the child and you will remind him that this is not how we respond when we are mad. Now, I am sure you have done this many times, BUT, did you stick with it each and every time for at least a month?
Most of the time we do these things periodically, or even all day or for a few days and give up becuase "they are not getting it", True?
I know because I do this myself and I hear mothers all the time saying the same thing.
Now, if you were to make up your mind to do this and you responded this way each time telling him "we do not hit our sister when we are mad, remember, we.........."whatever you want him to do instead, and kept with it, eventually he will remember this and this new habit will replace the old one.
We can not expect to teach our kids something a few times and expect them to get it and to behave that way from now on. It just won't work. I mean,look back and see if it has worked or not.
It can be SO overwheming as parents to try to fix everything at once though.
If you try fixing everything at one time, you will soon experience burnout.
You can feel as if all you are doing is discipling the children and not enjoying them.
If this is the case, try to focus on one or two things at a time.
If you do this this way, you could have 12-24 new habits formed and 12-24 bad habit gone by the end of the year.
I know for me, that is a lot more than the usual year in my house.
If you think about it, all that we do, we do because of habit.
A habit can be a good or a bad thing. If we are in the habit of getting up early every morning and having devotions, that is a good habit. If we always have laundry all over the floor, it is because we are in the habit of placing it there instead of putting it in the hamper.
If you are having trouble with the kids leaving their clothes on the bathroom floor after their baths, then you must commit to going in the bathroom each and every time they take a bath and check to see if they put their clothes up or not. If they did not, you will call them and gently remind them that they forgot to put their clothes away. Have them put it where you want it to go, give them a hug and say "thank you for putting it away, that sure helps mommy out!"
The next time, you do the same thing. if they put it away, you say, "Hey, you did an awesome job of remembering to put your clothes away, good job." The next time, they may have forgotten again and you will again gently remind them. Keep this up for at least a month and they will get into this new habit and you will not have to keep reminding them each time.
Now, if they do forget after this time, don't let it slide, remind them again, and they will keep in the habit.
If this was to work, wouldn't it be so much better than hollering and getting on to them for the same things over and over?
Lets try it together. Tell me what you are going to work on.
I am going to work on my daughter leaving her clothes on the bathroom floor and her not leaving her dishes out.
For my son, I will work on the same things for now. I think it will be easier this way to work on the same things with both kids for now, so it will not get overwhelming. I am going to work on some of these smaller things before I work on the harder issues. It will allow me to get practice doing this and when I get to the harder issues, these smaller ones will not be in the way anymore.
I will keep you updated on how this is going.
Keep me updated on how you are doing and with any tips that are helpful to you!
Ok, I will be talking to you soon!