Parenting three kids is overwhelming. Especially now when they are all in such different developmental stages. The older two understand certain things and are capable of certain limits and jobs, whereas the youngest isn't. So, it may seem like she 'gets away' with stuff, which sets off wailings of how unfair and mean we are. And, of course, like all children they argue about just about anything. They do get along, but boy do they love to argue. And, it seemed the arguing and not listening was just getting out of control.
When arguing and listening get out of control, parents unravel. I don't care who you are, you unravel. A normal human being can only listen to so much whining, complaining, tattling and fighting, and it's possible that the threshold is lower when it's your own children. (I can listen to other kids doing the same without really caring at all and sometimes I don't even hear, simply because I know it's not my problem)
So, the Hubs and I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Parenting with Love and Logic classes our daycare was offering for FREE (Thank you best daycare/after school program EVER)!! We missed the first class because husband was out of town and my ankle sprain was too fresh to risk going out in public alone with three kids. But we attended the second and I attended the third alone because hubs was out of town again. I believe we have 2 more classes.
We immediately implemented the strategies offered in the class, and immediately saw a difference. We were having some bad bedtime tantrum problems and were literally out of juice to deal with it and it was stressing our whole lives out. The main ideas behind the program is to teach children to make their own decisions and that parents consultants rather than dictators in the home. For example, we can't force our son in to bed and threats will only make him act out. So, we used some strategies such as talking in a very boring tone and saying simple things like 'I know or ' when he's throwing a tantrum and saying how mean we are. That immediately takes away the ability for the kids to argue with us. Then, we sat in a chair in the dark talking to each other about boring stuff while our son wandered around and refused to go to bed. We would occasionally tell him that Daddy would sit at the top of the stairs when he's in bed and quiet. We also said there would be consequences for not doing bedtime but we would have to think about it and let him know at a later time. Well, that really bothered him and he eventually went upstairs to bed. We let him know the next day that because he made bad choices he would lose TV privelages.
The next night it was a similar thing, but this time he said that Star Wars (Clone Wars cartoon) was scaring him. So, the hubs and I said that since it was too scary it would have to be deleted from the DVR. Well, that set off our son, and he tried to physically stop me from deleting it. Luckily, the hubs can control the TV from our bedroom as well, and so he started deleting it and our son was running back and forth from the living room to the bedroom. It was deleted, and we never rose our voices or said anything other than stuff like 'oh, how sad for you' and 'i know' when he was yelling about all this. The following day we said we would have to take all his Star Wars toys away since it was too scary for him, but let him know he could possibly earn it back, but if he fought us they would all be sold.
The next night bedtime was just fine. We haven't raised our voices or yelled since that first class.
The best moment came the other day when I was helping the girls with dinner and my son needed help with some Legos. I calmly said I'd help him when I was done with the girls. He had a tantrum so I kept saying 'I only help children who aren't throwing tantrums' over and over. So, he threw his Legos. I said very calmly and quiet 'Oh, how sad for you, that was a bad decision. I'll have to take care of this later'. Knowing that there would be a consequence, he screamed at me 'STOP ACTING LIKE A MANIAC!!!' while laying on the floor, at which point I thought I was going to die from laughter. I literally had to turn around and walk away because I was laughing so hard. I hadn't yelled or raised my voice beyond quiet talking, but he just couldn't stand the lack of drama. After a couple minutes he calmed down, cleaned up all his Legos and asked me if I wanted to play baseball with him outside.
This program has literally transformed our lives. Our home is calmer and happier, and while it is a process and it's not perfect, we are on our way to a very happy existence as a family. And, it is my hope that it will help me to raise responsible, self-reliant adults.
You can look up Parenting with Love and Logic and find seminars and parenting classes wherever you are. They also have videos and books if you can't find classes to attend. It will change your life forever, and I highly recommend it if you are battling with stubborn children, not listening, tantrums, irresponsibility, etc. in your home!