Picture curtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/JM_marbles_01.jpg
I know I am often banging on about how things go in cycles and how we should learn to see and anticipate those cycles in order to be most effective. Well, here is another cycle:
The cycle of discipline (or the lack of it) in my children. This may well be linked to my cyclical way of life but nonetheless it needs some attention.
So we are in a downward spiral of rapidly declining behaviour in this house, which happens from time to time as I relax my expectations and/or lose focus, and the time has come to put a stop to it. I am however, or have been until recently, at my wits end. One of the problems I can't seem to overcome is that, while Shannon is constantly brought to book for her indiscretions on the behaviour front, Jordan has been allowed to get away with a good amount of disastrous behaviour under the guise that he is too little to understand (bad mother). He has been recently subjected to the Naughty Mat, but since he thinks it is a game for me to catch him when he gets up and runs away, I am still figuring his discipline out. In the mean time, Shannon needs to be less victimised and positive discipline has always worked better for her anyway!
In discussing this with another Mum, who is also head of a pre-school, she suggested I try the Marble Jar with Shannon. This ought to stop the shouting and offers a positive form of self discipline that I am reinforcing rather than enforcing. This is an age old method, used by many a parent before me, and for anyone who is keen to try it here is how it works(in theory anyway, I have yet to begin!):
There are two jars, one for Shannon and one for me, for every good behaviour such as tidying up, listening the first time, getting her own things together for school etc, she gets to take a marble from my jar and put it in her jar. For every bad behaviour, she must take one out of her Jar and give it back to me. Once she has a certain number of marbles in her jar she recieves a treat, like stickers for example (she loves those) and if she get more than the target she gets a bigger treat (haven't decided on that yet, but I think I will ask her for her input!)
The fact that shannon herself is doing the rewarding and punishing, in the form of moving marbles, is supposed to lead her to regulate her own behaviour! We shall see. I still have to buy the marbles!
I am going to start on Monday as we are out and about all weekend, so it would be pointless starting now. Until then the Naughty Mat will remain a warm spot to sit. I will keep you posted on the success (or not) unless I lose my own marbles in the interim!
I am a home schooling Mum, a wife, a writer and a runner. I live in South Africa in a big farm house in a little town with The Fisherman, Miss Maker, Turbo and my furbabies Gentle Dog, Mad Dog and Cheeky Dog.