Saturday, April 25, 2009

Discipline at the Duke's

Discipline has been a struggle lately with Erin. At 6 years old, for whatever reason, she has decided that she doesn't want to mind anymore. She thinks she can do anything she wants and nobody can stop her. Until just recently, her main punishment for misbehaving was being sent to her room, and that worked well enough. But not anymore. I had to come up with a new plan, what I call "Erin's Behavior Management Plan" or EBMP. I can't take credit for inventing this system. It's a combination of Supernanny techniques and things I learned as a substitute teacher.

Here's how it works. I took a poster board and divided Erin's behaviors into 3 categories: Required, Points, and Demerits. Required are things she has to do in order to get her reward. Points are good behaviors. Demerits are bad behaviors. The poster board looks like this:

I got some play jewels at the store and assigned the "star" for Required tasks, the "circle" for Points and the "square" for Demerits. Every time she completes a required task, she gets a star put into a glass jar. A circle goes in for each good act (Point), and a square goes in for each demerit. Twice a day we count up her stars, circles and squares. If she gets all three stars, and five NET circles (net = circles minus squares), she gets her reward: TV time, computer time or Leapster time. If she doesn't get five net circles or all three stars, she doesn't get to do those things.

We've been using this technique for about two days now and it seems to be working. There is less yelling on my part and less arguing on Erin's part. Erin is at least trying to monitor her behavior, i.e. not yelling as much or disobeying as much. I think this system has done a couple things. First, it has taken the personal confrontation out of discipline. Instead of her acting up and my getting after her, which became a "me vs. you" mentality, my reaction has become a very simple "You're getting a square for that" response and we move on. Secondly, since I give her circles for all her good behavior, I am focusing much more on the good things she does and encouraging her to do more good things, like saying "You'll get a circle if you help me with this task." She is much more cooperative and is very motivated to earn circles. I'm not saying that this method has instantaneously turned my little darling into the perfect angel, but I think it has helped. And I expect I will have to tweak it from time to time so that she doesn't learn how to "game the system" or just do the minimum to get by.

Do you have any discipline techniques that work well for your family?


Lynne said...

Seems as though it's working. It's always a case of staying one step ahead isn't it?

Mum-me said...

I think I will give this a try as I need some sort of discipline method that is very different to what I have now (which unfortunatley consists of a lot of yelling on my part.)

I have heard about the 'jar' method from another blog - but your system seems like the fairer way to go epsecially when there would be more than one child following the chart.

Vera said...

Cool! Sophia is so good (so far!!) I haven't really had to use anything except usually a talking to or rarely a simple time out. But Amelia is my stinker and NOTHING seems to work when she's feeling naughty...but she's only two, so I think the chart might be a little over her head ;) I'll gladly take suggestions for a naughty two year old though!! Oh and I'm really sorry, I must confess, I kind of giggled when I saw "make Garrett cry" because I'm a bigger sister to a little brother and I'm afraid you might have a lost cause on your hands...but good luck ;)

Lynnette Kraft said...

Sounds like you have a good plan started. I hope you have great success with it! :) I've done about a gazillion things like this through the years. Each stage...each child seems to require something different. Sometimes I think it makes US feel we have it together better and therefore our days go better. You think?

Have a beautiful day!
Lynnette :)

Julia said...

We have a sticker chart going for his mouth but it does not seem to be working so well. Good weeks and bad... But I have been wanting some way to combine all the stuff and this might work. I will HAVE to give it a try since I am out of other options right now except squishing him... just kidding. :)