Thursday, January 14, 2010
In the fall, I took a parenting class through our church - Shepherding the Child's Heart. Out of that, I wrote some goals - but overall, I haven't implemented much of what I learned. (Sad, but true). We have worked sporadically on the goals we laid out, but certainly not with clear intention or direction.
I think the biggest downfall of this, is once I wrote out goals for the boys - I didn't write out HOW we were going to work on these goals. If it's just a lofty "pie in the sky" goal, with no real objectives or measurable steps, than it's pretty difficult to succeed.
I spend a lot of my day in exasperation over their repeated misbehavior, but really have no "plan of attack" for dealing with it proactively. I'm in the "fire-fighting" mode of parenting - just kind of making sure no one loses a limb, drinks poison, or gets into a brawl with another child.
So this post is outlining the actions behind the goals - how we are going to work toward those goals.
We will go on daily walks (out of stroller) when weather permits. This will give him an opportunity to follow simple instructions and show obedience. I.e. the direction we walk, staying out of the street, stopping for cars
Talking back will always be met with discipline without exception. We have become more strict in this area as of late because of his increased misbehavior. Mark has now taught Hayden the meaning of "rude" and "disrespectful" and Hayden is expected to speak to us in a respectful manner. I have been more lax in disciplining this and giving him second chances - this is just allowing the behavior to grow and from now on, he will be disciplined after the first offense - no "warnings".
Any hitting or tantrum is basically his anger response. Intentional hitting and pushing are not permitted and disciplined on first offense. We also pair that with teaching the appropriate response. For instance, if he hits his brother because Corbin took a toy or hit him first, the appropriate action would be to ask for assistance from a parent, not club his brother. We've also showed him how he can offer another toy to Corbin, since very often Corbin will quickly move on to something else. We end the teaching with reconciliation between Hayden and Corbin through apology and affection (hugs and kisses between brothers). This is one area, we have been pretty consistent in.
Tantrums are met with discipline, often paired with restriction. For instance, if he throws a tantrum because he doesn't like the toys that are out, or show that is on, I just take away the toys or turn off the show. This seems to have the best effect for us, as long as I don't give in and return the item or whatever - even after he improves. I generally say it is "gone for the day", and that has been the most effective.
Hayden has been consistently potty training. Although we aren't there yet, we never take "days off" and he is using the potty every day, but still with accidents. Each week he seems to get better at this.
We have always worked hard at language development, and use every opportunity to teach Hayden new words. He's now going to preschool language classes 5 days a week.
We are also working getting him to use a regular cup (instead of a sippy) - he now has a regular cup at meal times, but it always ends with a spill, haha. He successfully sits at a normal chair, eats most of the time with fork or spoon - so he's almost done with his mealtime skills!
The most important part of his ongoing training is definitely the development of his relationship with Christ! I've been reading stories to him and we've taught him to pray, but haven't done a lot past that. For my own studies, I've been working through My Utmost For His Highest. Little did I know - there's a kid version of it - AND, I own it. I had received it in an orientation class for the last church I attended when Hayden was just a baby. He was much too young for it then, but he is just now starting to understand enough for us to start going through it. It's called Jesus Wants All of Me, and it's a daily devotional for kids that is taken from the adult version. So you will be teaching your children the same principles that you would be learning that day. It's beautiful! I'm excited to start this with Hayden!!
Phew! That's quite a list - and that's just Hayden. I'll save Corbin for another day.
Do you set goals for your children or even yourself? If so, do you have a "plan" for making those goals happen? What do you do each day to get one step closer to your goal? What results have you seen in previous goals?