A minor example of what I am talking about occured this morning. I gave my kids their gummy vitamins. They love them. They actually think they are treats. They each get two and for some reason my son wanted the whole bag...again, they think they are treats. I calmly explained to him that they were vitamins and he could not have the whole bag. When I handed him his two he threw them on the floor. Crying hysterically he proceeded to stomp on them. I raised my voice and said, "Pick up those vitamin right now. It you don't, I will take them away." He didn't and so I took them away. It resulted in a pretty big meltdown but he got over it and didn't ask for them again.
We as parents need to decide when to lay down the law. There are about 1,000 times in a day when we could do this but deciding when and sticking to it is very important. I know we hear this all the time but a little reminder goes a long way. I am right there with you. Once you make the threat, all you think about is how 'out of sorts' they are going to be if you are forced to follow through. But trust me, they will get over it and they will learn about consequences.
And if you don't follow through, they will get that as well. I feel that if they see me as weak, they will take advantage of me. Especially when they are working together. ( I feel like I am not talking about my kids right now...like I am defending a nation or something. ) For instance, if I gave my son another chance to get his vitamins, a light would go off and he would see a second chance as a viable option for the next time. In life, sometimes he will have a second chance, but many times he won't.
Also this morning, my daughter was getting dressed. She wanted to wear shorts. It was snowing outside so I said she had to wear pants. She was crying and carrying on so I said that if she didn't start to get dressed by the count of 3 she wasn't going to get a sticker on her chart. (you know..ten stickers equals a reward) I counted slowly (we all do, right, hoping that they do it so you don't have to deal with the aftermath) Well, I got to 3 and she had not made the move, so no sticker.
You would have thought I told her that sleeping beauty never wakes up. She carried on about the sticker for a good 15 minutes while I was loading Spider and all the necessary items into the car. I would pass by her and touch her head but never gave her my full attention or eye contact until she calmed down. She is pretty hard headed. She couldn't let it go. So we talked about it.
I explained to her as we were driving in the car that I didn't take her sticker away, she CHOSE not to get a sticker. I know she is only 3 but I actually think she understands this concept. She is smart enough to get it. I believe that when kids realize/learn that they are the ones deciding and that they are the ones accountable, they are on their way to becoming responsible kids. Even though it is tough and exhausting look at it as if you are giving them the greatest gift of their lives.
I will leave you with this...In the end, my daughter wore shorts under her pants...told you she was hard headed. It couldn't have been comfortable but she wanted it and she got it. Remember to pick your battles.:) Happy Parenting!