I need advice on disciplining my two girls!

Christine - posted on 08/15/2016 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am a single mom with two little girls, 6 and 3. Their dad is incarcerated and will be until they are adults. He was always the better disciplinarian than me but has been gone for the last three years. My girls don't listen to me at all, so I yell and lose my temper (a lot), then I feel guilty for yelling and let them get away with more due to mom guilt (I have a lot of mom guilt all the time). My three year old yells and throws tantrums every day and my response to that (unfortunately) is yelling at her (wonder where she learned that??). My 6 year old repeatedly does things she is asked not to do like destroy her bedroom or dig through bags of clothes I have put up that don't fit anymore. Everyday I have to re-tell her to stop. I need some ideas for positive reinforcement.

Please help!

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Becca - posted on 08/22/2016

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We can all do a better job parenting our children! I have found the resources on the Focus on the Family website very helpful. There is an article on Temper Tantrums at http://bit.ly/29rujf8 that might give you some insight for your toddler. Also, here are also some articles at http://bit.ly/2bbTl4p for school-aged children. Being a positive role model for your girls will be very important as they grow up. Blessings to you and your girls.

Jodi - posted on 08/15/2016

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Well, you know you need to stop the guilt and stop the yelling - yelling is ineffective. Also, yelling is not a consequence to behaviour. Instead, you need to have consequences for behaviour, which it seems you don't have.

When your 3 year old has tantrums, stop giving in to her and start ignoring her. Tantrums should not result in attention (either negative OR positive attention). As long as the tantrum is getting the attention, she will keep doing it. Walk away.

If your 6 year old destroys her room, if she doesn't clean it up, tell her if you have to clean it up, she loses the stuff she hasn't packed up. And then get a garbage bag or box and get rid of the things she doesn't put away. Give it to charity or something. She will learn pretty quickly to pick up after herself. For something like the bag of clothes, maybe find somewhere else to store it? Or you could have her sit in her room until she finishes picking it up.

Also, try to use more positive language than "don't do this" Instead, tell her what TO do. Eg. instead of saying "don't mess up your bedroom", say "please keep your room tidy". Positive language has an amazing effect on kids when you start to take the negative language away.

Whatever you do, you need to harden up and have clear consequences and be CONSISTENT with them. Otherwise you are going to end up with unruly teens on your hands in 10 years time.

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Sarah - posted on 08/22/2016

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Well said Jodi, and Becca (I did not look at the link but I know FOF is a great resource.
Christine, you can get this back on track, but do it now. I am sorry the girls will not be parented by there father and whatever those circumstances may be; I hope you are all handling that with support and counseling.
Young kids (like Jodi says) will respond best with very consistent expectations. You can even make a rules chart with pictures etc. Praise the good efforts and offer choices when you can. Make sure the girls are not bored! Boredom leads to awful behavior in my house. Even in my teens!
I caution you to avoid an incentive program; it can work in the short term. For example; if you clean up your toys, I will give you.... Kids wise up very quickly and start "Upping the ante" They are smart and they know if you gave one cookie yesterday, today they want two. Set the rules, stick to the consequences and while things may get worse in the short term; they will improve in long term.

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