Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Penalty Box

If you haven't noticed already, I am a woman who thrives on order and plans.  I get overwhelmed so easily that having a set schedule or 'plan of action' is my key to a successful day.

When Little P started getting to the age where he was CHOOSING wrong or disobedient behaviors (obviously age appropriate), I knew I had to come up with a plan.  This sporadic discipline was not working.  I needed to have a plan of action that ALL of us knew about.  He needed to know his causes/consequences and so did we. 

So, my husband and I talked about different ideas for a few weeks and then decided that we were going to do our own version of Supernanny's Naughty StepCall me a feel good mom, but I wasn't so thrilled on using the term 'naughty' so we decided on

The Penalty Box.

The key to this system was that we had to remain cool, calm, and collected.  We had to remember that these behaviors, as irritating as they were, were not personal attacks.  Little P was doing this TO ME...there was nothing for me to be offended by.  We had to change our way of addressing discipline from punishing to training.  So, now that we had the right intention behind our plan, this is how it would work when a behavior needed correcting:

1) Down on eye level; Warning in a stern but collected voice.
(Little P, I asked you not to throw your toys.  If you do it again, you will go to the penalty box.)

2) Once the offense is done again, without saying anything, sternly but not aggressively take them by the hand and lead them to the penalty box.  No words.

3) Get down on eye level, in few stern but collected words, explain why and how long they are there.  Walk away.
(Little P, you do NOT throw your toys, you will be in the penalty box for 3 minutes)

Age = Time in Penalty Box
Do NOT stand there and hold them/guard them in the box.  This is a lesson in self control and obedience.  You are doing the training, not being trained.

4) If they leave the penalty box, you say nothing, put them back, and start the time over.
The first few times, it may take a while, but stick with it, it's worth it!  I know once mom who battled for 45 minutes, never lost her cool, and it worked!

***The KEY is to remain calm.  Do not show one ounce of disgust on your face.  If the child knows they are getting to you, it defeats the purpose.  You are addressing the behavior, not the child.****

5) After the required minutes are over.  You go to them, get down on eye level, explain the 'offense', ask for an apology, and give them a big ol' hug.
(Little P, Mommy asked you not to throw your toys but you still did.  Next time you need to listen to mom, okay?)

Everybody has different opinions on asking for an apology but from my personal experience, I found that it taught them about being sorry.  I rarely have to ask anymore, even when it's not a penalty box situation, because they understand the concept. 

Lastly, introducing it in a fun way is always crucial.  If they see that you have put the effort in, they know you are not playing around.  We followed Supernanny's recommendation and made up our house rules and posted them in the kitchen. This way, we were all on the same page as far as expectations.  It's not fair to hold them responsible for a million rules that may or may not have been previously covered.  We then made a sign and taped off an area in our dining area. When the kiddos got up from their nap that day, we went over the rules (giving silly examples of every 'wrong thing') and explained to them how the system would work.

This system has been a lifesaver in our house. There are days when it is used often and then we can go weeks where a warning is good enough. If you are going to use this system, its extremely important that you are not only consistent but that mom and dad are on the same team! The system has to work the same way during the day, evening, weekends, with mom, or with dad. With a united front, they will take it seriously.

I can say that we have a much happier house now that the kiddos know their boundaries and we know our response.  There is no hesitation, only confidence.  Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Idea! Supernanny has a lot of good useful tips! Glad its working for you guys!! :)


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