Saturday, October 29, 2016

Incentive Discipline

This chick. 
I love her so deeply it hurts. 
She is so passionate. 
So full of life. 
So independent. 
Such an individual. 
So her own woman. 
So much older than her three-year-old little self. 

But I have made it no secret that she has been my fiercest challenge. My first three children, as most of my friends will tell you, were almost a bit unfair. They were all truly easy. Of course no child is perfect, but I really didn't face any major issues figuring out how to direct and discipline them.

But God did decreeth: "Wendi shall be humbled."

And Wendi was.

And then it was the seventh day and I rested. 
God rested. 
'm still parenting. 
Never mind.

Last night Hannah and I had a conversation while she laid in bed. It went like this:
Me: "Hannah you are going to change the world some day."
Hannah: "Yup."
Me: "I think you are going to be the President of the United States."
Hannah: "No I'm going to be a mom."
Me: "You are?"
Hannah: "Yup."
Me: "How many kids will you have?"
Hannah: "Three."
Me: "What are their names?"
Hannah: "I don't know their names."
Me: "Is one going to be Ginger?"
Hannah: "No, that's a silly name. They are going to be Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle."

We are constantly having conversations like that. She's always coming up with something new.  

Hannah is biologically my oldest child, and she acts like a firstborn. She is a leader. She is strong-willed. 

And she could care less about discipline. 

A spanking? She does thus scoff at spanks.

A time-out? She finds a way to play in all situations. Even in an empty, boring space. And she truly doesn't seem to care that she's in time-out. It's almost a goal of her's to get there. 

So ... I brainstormed and reached out to some friends and decided to completely change strategies the fourth time around.

We went to Yoder's. She picked out a favorite candy. And I decided to simply reward her anytime I caught her listening and obeying the first time. 

It has worked very well. I wanted to take a moment to document and update my Blog with this small success for anyone else parenting a strong-willed child. I'm not saying I do not discipline her. I still have to do that. But instead of going to war with her every time she doesn't listen, I've started saying something like:

"Oh, are you going to listen right away? If you do, I think I'll have to reward you with a gummy bear?"

And she has started saying, "Mommy could you ask me to do something so that I could be a good listener and get a gummy bear?"

It's working. For now. Baby steps!


carla said...

This is so awesome. I don't think she sounds like a firstborn at all. Firstborns: perfectionist people pleasers. Lastborns: Hannah and Zeke, strong-willed, hard to figure out how to handle them and what incentives they need, full of ideas about how things should go (their way). I am going to have to put this idea in my arsenal for later!!

Jennifer said...

My first born is the strong willed in our family and we have to use the same method with her. She is all about working for rewards and it helps everyone in the family to use this method.

Anonymous said...

Great to read this. Just yesterday I was discussing with my husband how to change the way we discipline our youngest (3). Who is also in-cre-di-bly stubborn and immune to any type of discipline so far. So we decided to do the same as you: to focus on the times he obeys and reward him for it. We still have to start with the new method, because we want to sit with him together to officially explain the new era :-)
So encouraging to hear that Hannah is responding well to the new method.