FORGETFUL  

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I dread a phone call or text from my children once they have left for school. It can only mean one of two things – they are feeling unwell, or more often than not, that they have forgotten to take things to school.

I understand we are all only human and we forget things at times, so I have been known to dash up to school with missing items (particularly the day my daughter forgot her entire school bag – don’t ask me how she managed to make it all the way to her classroom before realising something was amiss!)

However, over the years I have come to the realisation that my kids need to take on the responsibility of packing the items they need for their school day and that they should also suffer the consequences if they are not prepared. If children are reprimanded for not being organized, hopefully the next time they will make more of an effort to plan their day in advance.

In theory for most kids this is the case, but based upon my son’s efforts he struggles to get organized regardless of the consequences. I have a timetable printed out that is a visual reminder of what is on each day and I admit I do find myself prompting my son in the morning to make sure he has his instrument, gym clothes, library books etc but nagging and follow through on his behalf don’t necessarily correlate! At least he knows that I won’t be at his beck and call as a delivery person for items if he has forgotten something.

Unfortunately his forgetfulness is a two way street, he also regularly forgets to bring things home from school – homework being at the top of his list! My notes to his teachers often resemble a shopping list of items for him to pack into his bag to bring home. Any item of uniform that can be removed is often lost, as are any loose objects such as books, instruments and his diary. I’m still waiting for the day he takes responsibility for his things, but until that time I just wish I could staple his belongings to him, so they can’t be lost in transit.

What do you do to get your kid’s organized? Do you find yourself constantly taking forgotten items to school?

(Picture courtesy of photostock, freedigitalphotos.net)

BARGAINING TOOL

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For our son’s last birthday we gave him a mini ipad. It was not primarily so he could play games, although he loves doing that (Minecraft is a particular favourite at the moment). It wasn’t to keep up with other kids, as many of his friends have ipads. It was in all honesty so we would have something we could use a bargaining tool. In essence we gave it to him so we can take it off him!

There is no golden rule for what works when disciplining kids. What works for one child won’t work for another or even something that has worked with a child in the past won’t always work in the future! I’ve tried sticker charts, jellybean jars, a chart with $100 where they lose $1 each time they do something wrong, time-out, naughty chair, behaviour star chart app and finally confiscation. All with varied results.

Our son doesn’t mind being put in time-out, he doesn’t really care if he loses stars on his behaviour chart (which equates to money or treats) and in general he doesn’t care if he has toys and possessions confiscated.

He has never been the sort of kid who is particularly attached to things, so in situations where there have to consequences for poor behaviour, he has never cared enough about anything for its confiscation to mean anything to him. In February I confiscated his xbox controller – initially for a week (but he didn’t care); it then became for a month (still his behaviour didn’t change); eventually he lost it until Christmas (at this point he realized the severity of the punishment and gave in).

Sadly, he has just spent money he received for his birthday on Disney Infinity characters he can use on his xbox, except he has no access to his xbox for another few months. Instead, he has to use them like figurines and play with them in the traditional sense, rather than in the interactive electronic way in which they are designed.

We are firm believers of following through on any threats so he will have to wait until December to get back his x-box but in confiscating it for such a long time, it meant we didn’t have any bargaining power left. We came to the realization that we needed a new item that he would love so much that we could use it as a bargaining tool. I’m happy to say that it is working a treat. In the last few weeks he has lost the privilege of using his ipad on several occasions but usually for a few hours or overnight. He adjusts his behaviour and then gets it back at the allotted time. It is starting to work that just the threat of losing his ipad is enough for him to do as he is told. That little Apple device is seriously worth its weight in gold!

I’m sure Steve Jobs expected ipads to be tools for entertainment and business, but little did he know that in our household it would be valued more as a bargaining tool!

What do you use as tools to help when disciplining your kids?

(Photo courtesy of Ambro, freedigitialphotos.net)

PUSHING THE LIMITS

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It would be hypocritical of me to call my blog truth about parenting if I only gave you a ‘rose coloured glasses’ kind of portrayal of my life.

Of course I love my kids and most of the time they make me very proud, but then there are days where I wish I could resign from being a mum. Days when my kids frustrate and anger me, leaving me questioning where I went wrong! 

I always maintain consistency with my kids about what is expected of them. They know that I expect them to do their set chores, be respectful to other people (particularly their family) and complete their homework. They also know that if they don’t comply then there are consequences for their actions and that I will always follow through with those threatened consequences. 

One of my kids in particular is intelligent, articulate and confident. These are all attributes that allow her to take on leadership roles at school and participate in the debating team. Those same traits however also mean that when at home she can be obstinate, argumentative and disobedient if she is feeling out of sorts.

Periodically the values I have tried to instill in my daughter seem to be lost as her anger boils over, usually from something simple like being reminded to do her chores. When she is in a rage, my husband and I just can’t talk sense into her. She always has some come back and refuses to comply with simple requests. If I put my foot down her anger just intensifies. The only thing that works is if she has time out to calm down, but sometimes that just isn’t viable due to a tight schedule of commitments for the rest of the family.

After a tantrum the other day she told me that I use my kids as slave labour and that it is unfair that she is expected to unpack the dishwasher twice a week when I do nothing. I then offered to swap her chore of unpacking the dishwasher twice a week in return for all that I do each week: approximately 15 loads of washing; hanging them out to dry; bringing in the clean clothes; folding and putting them away; grocery shopping; unpacking all the groceries; making school lunches; preparing dinner; walking and feeding the dog; tidying the house; helping everyone with homework whilst managing multiple sporting teams. I conceded that I would have to continue to drive all the kids to their activities on account of the fact that she is too young to drive. She sheepishly declined the offer to swap chores and agreed to stick to unpacking the dishwasher twice a week. 

I guess all kids push the limits (particularly if there are hormones racing around in their bodies) and although sometimes I feel like tearing out my hair I just try to remain consistent and hope that it is a short lived phase.

 

(Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitialphotos.net)