I'm not sure if I've mentioned before how much of a handful our boys can be. But, just so you all know, they can be a couple of handfulls actually! They really are GREAT boys and I love that they all have a personality of their own! They each have such a kind spirit to them, but they each also have quite an overwhelmingly emotional side to them too! When I say emotional, I mean that they express what they are feeling, at any given moment, very well! That means that when they are happy, they are very happy! When they are excited, they are very excited! When they are acting goofy, they are acting VERY goofy! And, when they are upset, they are very upset!
I LOVE having them home for summer vacation!!! (I am serious about this! I love it!) But, I also struggle with dealing with ALL of their emotions ALL day long!
In the past month or so, I have come up with a couple of things that are kind of working to help me better parent our boys. And, since I know how crazy parenting can be, I thought that you might want to hear about them!
I have found that very little really helps to get a point across to our boys. It's usually in one ear and out the other! I've tried LOTS of forms of punishment with them and it seems that they are all futile most of the time! Our boys don't really care if they are punished or not. They may show some form of unhappiness about it, but then they just take the punishment and go off on their merry way and forget what they should have learned in the process! Plus, they are VERY stubborn, so it's difficult for them to see that they were wrong in the first place. And, like I said, they are very emotional! So all they can think about at the time of the punishment is what they are feeling at the time and since their feelings are enormous, forget about getting past what they are thinking long enough to explain to them what is right or wrong!
I HAVE found a couple of things that work better with our boys. Here they are:
1. I have them pick their own punishment. I didn't think that this would really work the first time, but I have found that their punishment is actually better than my own punishment a lot of the time and they seem to learn from it more when they have to put thought into it.
The next one requires telling you a story, that you may have heard before. The story is about a boy that is playing on the railroad tracks, when a train starts to come and the child is not aware of the train coming. The dad has to yell for the child to "Lay down on the tracks!" because they didn't have time to get to the child and the child would not have had time to run off the tracks. So, because the boy heard and listened to their dad RIGHT AWAY!, they were saved from getting injured or killed by the train!
2. This story made an impression on our boy's minds, so now when I tell them to do something and they aren't doing it right away, I tell them to remember the "Train story." This is a huge one at our house, because our boys listen and act at their own speed.....which is very SLOW! I say to them, "You would have been dead already, if a train were coming, since you aren't listening to me fast enough!" This makes them think about it and move a little faster.
The next one helps when Nolan and Caleb are goofing around and not finishing something that they need to finish quickly. (For example: eating, getting dressed, picking up their toys.) They are CONSTANTLY goofing around and like to make each other laugh! This can be VERY frustruating and makes my blood boil when we are on a schedule and need to get moving fast! Everything takes at least double the time for both of them, compared to the rest of our family. So, this is a big one for me.
3. When they are being slow about getting something done, I say to them, "The first one done gets a hug and a kiss!" Surprisingly, this usually works! They rush to finish and come running for their prize! I'm sure that this will only work a while longer, because soon they won't want hugs and kisses from their mom, but for now it works wonders with them!
The next one is something that I just tried out recently with them. With summer break here, they are getting on each other's nerves a whole lot more than normal. They are constantly trying to get a rise out of one another and coming to me to complain about each other. So...
4. I decided since money seems to motivate them, I was going to make them give me some of their money every time they did something that I had told them multiple times not to do! For example, Jacob and Nolan love to call Caleb a munchkin! Caleb gets SO angry when they do this, so I told them that this was a naughty word at our house. They kept saying this to him, so I said that they would have to pay me everytime that they said this to him. This finally got their attention! I've used it in other situations as well. So, either they will try harder this summer, or else I'll make a profit from their mistakes! :)
There you go! Parenting advice from Alicia! (A mom that never seems to have her children under control! HA!) Also, just so you know, I don't always use these rational tactics to try to control my children. Some times, (more times than I'd like to admit) I absolutely LOSE IT and then feel guilty for turning into such a horrible mom! I try my hardest to always try to teach our boys lessons in a peaceful manner. But, remember...our boys are WILD!.....Wild boys, that I wouldn't trade for anything else!
I would love to hear from all of you as well! What advice do you have for this Momma of 4 that might help to make this summer run smoothly? Please share!!! And, have a great summer!
"The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts." Proverbs 17:14