Jacqueline of SAHM, plus for our Feature Friday today!
Parenting children isn’t easy, especially strong-willed children who seem intent to have life work their way. I know this because I have two children with very strong personalities. My oldest is a girl who turned 5 in August. She’s beautiful, smart, and can be really funny. But, she’s stubborn, demanding, and very likely going to be a success at whatever she sets her mind to. She’s always been the child that, try as you might, couldn’t have her attention diverted from something she was after. If she wanted it, you couldn’t make her forget it. And by always, I really do mean that as a baby, if she had her heart set on something, there was no distracting her from it peacefully.
With age, her strength grew. You could tell her something months ago, and she’d remind you of what you said. Usually it was to make sure you remembered to do what you promised. She was so focused on getting results she desired! Potty training was relatively simple except she didn’t want to be bothered to poop in the potty. As a last ditch effort to make it work, we promised a Disney trip. We were planning (and had already paid for) a family vacation to visit Mickey anyway, so we used that as our bribe to finally get her to go. And let me tell you, the months came and went without any progress on the potty training. No matter how many times we reminded her of the deal, she wouldn’t budge.
It was time for our vacation and we still hadn’t seen results. As much as I wanted to back out because she hadn’t lived up to our deal, we couldn’t. But, the night we arrived at our hotel and declared we were “at Mickey’s House” she pooped in the potty. And, she never looked back. She waited to see if we would live up to our end of the bargain before she would consider giving in to potty training.
That stubbornness, I’m sure is going to succeed at whatever she chooses in life. But, while she’s young, it creates huge problems in our house. My frustration with her built up over time and we continued to have more and more problems with her attitude. It almost pains me to say that I needed to find a way to break her spirit, because she was too much for me to handle. I wanted to go back to work just so I didn’t have to deal with the attitude or her unreasonable expectation that the world revolved around what she wanted at any given moment. Discipline usually resulted in yelling. She was in her room for time out A LOT. And, she would carry on with crying and screaming for hours! I had to find a way to stop yelling and find more peace in our household and in my parenting.
What I did to stop yelling at my kid
Last year, I was suggesting that my daughter and I seek counseling. No joke, it was that bad. But, to try to correct our problems on my own, I instead decided to instill a consequence and reward jar system. I sat down to decide on house rules and consequences with my husband. We then briefly discussed how we would use the system how we thought it would be most effective. The next day, we used it. It was almost a horrible failure.
But, within about a week, we had it mostly figured out. What I learned from using the consequence and reward jars went beyond correcting my child’s behaviors. I had come to the realization that by not disciplining swiftly, I set us up for building frustration and increased my chances of yelling. As long as I handled a bad act quickly and without emotion, I prevented myself from getting worked up.
I was no longer escalating the situation and mostly stopped yelling. There’s generally more peace in the house. And, with the use of the reward jar, I’m able to recognize more good behavior than I had previously.
When things start heading south, a quick mention of the consequence jar and it snaps my kid back to civility. Or, if nothing else, she takes her bad attitude to another room to work it out on her own.
It’s not perfect
More often than not, we have good days. Unfortunately, it keeps me out of the habit of using the jars, so I do sometimes get caught up in the moment and forget the jars. Those times I forget are so hard on us emotionally. BUT, when I remember, every situation has been diffused quickly and regaining control of our day is so much easier.
It’s not perfect, but parenting never is. This is the closest thing I have to finding more peace in my parenting and more calm in my strong-willed child.
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