Sep 24, 2009

Discipline is a Discipline

Today's Blog is about the joy of punishing your kids.

I know, what kind of sick mommy actually ENJOYS punishing their kids? I DO! I'll admit, generally speaking my 6 year old and 4 year old make it mostly unpleasant to discipline them, and I don't like strife, crying and wailing... but I DO like the results of consistent discipline!

Recently my 6 year old, B, brought home a great way to reinforce positive behavior AND more than JUST being a "positive" discipline tool, it also discourages negative behavior.

This is great! I have tried various different things, from "stand alone" time outs, spankings and privilege or toy restrictions (read: grounding), all the way to a "behavior chart" which primarily focuses on what a child IS doing RIGHT, but doesn't really punish them for not following through with the expected behavior, only losing a given treat or prize. (I can write more about this later, it was useful for the 2 and 3 year old crowd).

This is a chart, made by Ben, exactly like the one in his first grade classroom, that hangs on the fridge. Each child (for me, this is exactly 2, no more, no less) has a clothespin that has their name on it, attached to the chart.  

Simply make it like this: You need 7 colors of paper, one white, and then red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Cut the paper in quarters and use just a quarter of the page (you can make it bigger if you have more than 6 children - lol) and glue them the way they are in the above picture, from the top: purple, blue, green, white, yellow, orange, red.  Then label them this way (or make your own labels!) : purple should say "Awesome work!", blue - "Great Job!", green - "Keep it up!", white "Good Morning", yellow "Oops", orange - "Uh Oh", red - sad face.

Each morning, we always start on Good Morning, this way we reinforce the idea that we shouldn't hold grudges or "go to sleep angry".  Every day is a new day!  We start fresh, no matter how bad the day before was!

As you can see, they move their pin up and down the chart depending on how their behavior has been that day.  B argues with me? I simply say, "Go move your pin down" and he goes and moves his pin down.  If he gets to the very bottom, which is a sad face, he loses something precious to him, which is computer, for 3 days.  On the other side of "GOOD MORNING" is the happy side, if B gets to the very top, he gets an extra hour of computer time.

For my 4 year old, C, this works as well, she throws a tantrum, I start to count, if I get to 3 and she's not done screaming, she has to move the pin down.  At each level they move below "good morning" they have a punishment, normally a time out, or for direct defiance, they get a spanking.  The best part is that it forces me to "catch" them being good!  The worst part is that you realize how infrequently you do that.

Here is an example...

Look closely at B's right eye... notice the missing eyelashes?  This was a situation where he dropped 2 at one time, because he actually CUT HIS EYELASHES WITH HIS "safety" scissors.  AAAAHHHHH

Here is what happened, he dropped to the sad face, so he lost his craft supplies, scissors, glue and the like (a big deal for him!) - and because I was so appalled I almost lost it, he spent 6 minutes in time out, thinking about why you don't do things like that...

This is time out... corners, gotta love 'em! 

We've been using the rainbow chart for 3 weeks, and I have loved every moment, the kids seem to be responding, and so far, I haven't forgotten to use it! :) Hope you've found a new idea you can use!


  1. I love it! I would also love to hear about the 2/3 year old discipline idea you have, might be more for us!

  2. This is so fantastic. I'm totally making one of those rainbow charts. Bug would really respond to this.


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