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#1 of 9 Old 05-24-2014, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6 y.o. twin boys are polar opposites... One is quite, shy, and sensitive and the other is loud, outgoing, and lets offenses go pretty easily. I've posted about this subject before, but now they are older and we are about to welcome a new baby girl in just a few weeks. Our discipline strategy is basically establishing clear expectations, using firm voices without yelling, and just trying to lead our family by example. We're not perfect, but this has worked really well over the years. Family life has been fun and less stressful than I anticipated years ago..Thats changing and I'm a bit nervous. Now that I've become pregnant, I can tell my more rambunctious boy is starting to test the waters of what he can get away with. It started off with him putting things in the cart without asking or after being told no. I handled this by reminding him that mom and dad make a list so we can stick to it and that its important to listen when we say no to something we don't need. I could understand if it were cookies he's throwing in the cart, but he just picks up random boxes and stares at me after tossing it in the cart. Now it seems like he is trying to irritate me more by picking on his brother or saying mean things to me or his father. I suppose this may be normal for a kid who knows his world is about to change, but I'm wondering if my approach to discipline needs some modification. I am starting to really respect the fact that my boys needs are different. Any suggestions on how to implement gentle discipline for a little boy that may be scared about his world changing? Since this has all started after I got pregnant, I really feel like this is his response to the news. We've discussed our family growing with the boys, but I'm wondering what else needs to be said so he knows we need him to follow rules now more than ever. I'm working on ways to get them excited to be older brothers. This weekend is good because they got to help dad paint the nursery, which was really cute to watch and he seemed really happy. If this doesn't get him on board, I think we may be back at the drawing board when it comes to discipline.

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#2 of 9 Old 05-25-2014, 03:09 AM
 
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The nursery experience points the way.   They no doubt got lots of reinforcement for helping.  Provide more reinforced practice of helping and kindness.

 

You need to give them lots of positive feedback when they are helpful.  Notice what they do and give positive feedback for any helpful act, no matter how small.  When you give positive feedback, do it immediately after the helpful behavior, get close, touch, show enthusiasm, be specific - say what you saw - don't try to  rely on generic praise like "good job", don't caboose criticism on the end - no "but..." - make it purely positive.

 

Attention is a reinforcer - you get more of what you pay attention to.  Reinforcing wanted behavior with attention is a good idea. Be careful how you deploy your behavior-getting attention toward unwanted behavior. Unwanted behavior that is harmless in the short run is best ignored. Reduce unwanted behavior by encouraging and giving attention to the positive opposite of the unwanted behavior.  For the unwanted behavior in the grocery store, the positive opposite is helping, so prompt you son to go get items on the grocery list and give positive feedback for his helping. The positive opposite of picking on his brother and being mean to his father is kindness, so use a Kindness Chart:

 

http://www.netmums.com/parenting-support/parenting-advice/netmums-parenting-course-about-the-courses/getting-the-best-part-2

 

This blog will help you:

 

http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-reinforcing-power-of-adult.html

 

The following responses to unwanted behavior tend to be counter-productive because they constitute behavior-getting attention:  using a stern voice (emotion added to attention makes it more reinforcing), reminding more than 3 times without success, pointing out what is important.  Ignore harmless unwanted behavior.  For behavior that cannot be ignored in the short run, avoid responding with attention (facetime and talking) as much as possible, use a calm voice and keep it short, let your actions do the talking as much as possible. The time to point out what is important is in response to wanted behavior, this is the time to give a kid lots of attention, facetime, and discussion of why his good behavior is important.

 

Let the boys know that they will have a role in helping you with the new baby.

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#3 of 9 Old 06-06-2014, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by tadamsmar View Post
<p>The nursery experience points the way.   They no doubt got lots of reinforcement for helping.  Provide more reinforced practice of helping and kindness.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You need to give them lots of positive feedback when they are helpful.  Notice what they do and give positive feedback for any helpful act, no matter how small.  When you give positive feedback, do it immediately after the helpful behavior, get close, touch, show enthusiasm, be specific - say what you saw - don't try to  rely on generic praise like "good job", don't caboose criticism on the end - no "but..." - make it purely positive.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Attention is a reinforcer - you get more of what you pay attention to.  Reinforcing wanted behavior with attention is a good idea. Be careful how you deploy your behavior-getting attention toward unwanted behavior. Unwanted behavior that is harmless in the short run is best ignored. Reduce unwanted behavior by encouraging and giving attention to the positive opposite of the unwanted behavior.  For the unwanted behavior in the grocery store, the positive opposite is helping, so prompt you son to go get items on the grocery list and give positive feedback for his helping. The positive opposite of picking on his brother and being mean to his father is kindness, so use a Kindness Chart:</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.netmums.com/parenting-support/parenting-advice/netmums-parenting-course-about-the-courses/getting-the-best-part-2" target="_blank">http://www.netmums.com/parenting-support/parenting-advice/netmums-parenting-course-about-the-courses/getting-the-best-part-2</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>This blog will help you:</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-reinforcing-power-of-adult.html" target="_blank">http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-reinforcing-power-of-adult.html</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>The following responses to unwanted behavior tend to be counter-productive because they constitute behavior-getting attention:  using a stern voice (emotion added to attention makes it more reinforcing), reminding more than 3 times without success, pointing out what is important.  Ignore harmless unwanted behavior.  For behavior that cannot be ignored in the short run, avoid responding with attention (facetime and talking) as much as possible, use a calm voice and keep it short, let your actions do the talking as much as possible. <span style="line-height:1.5em;">The time to point out what is important is in response to wanted behavior, this is the time to give a kid lots of attention, facetime, and discussion of why his good behavior is important.</span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Let the boys know that they will have a role in helping you with the new baby.</p>
Thanks so much! This is really great advice. In just the past week alone I've noticed how praising them more for acts of kindness and helpfulness has helped out daily. It makes a lot of sense, actually...if what they want is attention and they get it from cooperating and not misbehaving, it makes sense that they will cooperate more in order to get what they want. I don't expect miracles over night and I think he may continue to test the waters with me for awhile, but definitely...so far, so good. Our shopping trip this week was a little shaky, but they were more helpful and I had only one surprise item while unpacking groceries, which made me very happy. I really want to stay consistent with the praise because in these last few weeks of my pregnancy, anything that allows me to tell/show them how much I appreciate them feels really good. These are really special times. I'll stay patient and consistent with this strategy. Thanks for sharing w/ me!
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#4 of 9 Old 06-21-2014, 04:54 AM
 
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I wanted to toss in that limits are all the more important for a child who feels his world is turning upside down. Sometimes anxiety can cause an increase in acting out, but having the limits relaxed "out of sympathy" just increases the anxiety. Limits are loving and empathic. They help a child feel safe, even if they make him mad in the moment.

 
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#5 of 9 Old 06-21-2014, 08:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by twinning002 View Post
I really want to stay consistent with the praise because in these last few weeks of my pregnancy, anything that allows me to tell/show them how much I appreciate them feels really good. These are really special times. I'll stay patient and consistent with this strategy. Thanks for sharing w/ me!
In the early period, where you are getting a new behavior going more often and want to help establish it as a habit, constant praise is good. But praise should eventually be faded to intermittent to produce a more robust habit. Constant praise tends to produce a brittle habit that will tend to go away when the praise ends.

All positive and even neutral attention encourages the behavior that it is directed toward, like just saying what you see, showing interest by asking questions about what they are doing, celebration, gratitude, admiration.
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#6 of 9 Old 06-27-2014, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the additional comments and suggestions!

Lauren - I agree that limits, even ones they don't like, are an essential part of providing some structure and security for them. Right now, with the baby just a few days away, dad working more at the office and not at home, and my being pretty much in bed, they need as much support and security as they can get. Its really hard when I'm relying on grandparents to help out with the boys because they don't always follow my game plan. When I say I love you, but you still have to stay in bed, I tend to mean it..Not the case with my MIL, who seems to disregard my wishes at times...Very frustrating, but I guess we're all doing our best, right?

Tadamsmar - I get what you are saying. It makes sense that the type or frequency of praise would be different at week 6 of implementing the strategy than at week 1. As I've said before, I wasn't expecting miracles with this strategy, but the changes I've seen specifically in the problem areas for my boys has improved very much. You're right in that showing general interest in what they're doing at the time I notice behavior I want to encourage, asking questions, or saying I like how nicely you guys are playing together, is most effective at this point. I am still giving them lots of praise for specific behaviors that were trouble areas a few weeks ago. While I certainly appreciate that I don't have as many issues taking them grocery shopping, I'm most appreciative that they are not constantly hurting each other and seem to be trying to resolve squabbles more easily with or without my assistance. Baby will be here in a few days and I think my family is closer to where I'd like us to be than I could have imagined last month. I'm anticipating set backs once we bring our new baby home, but I feel more prepared to handle it now that I have extra tools on board. Thanks again!
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#7 of 9 Old 06-27-2014, 06:44 PM
 
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Sounds like you have a supportive husband.

The new baby will require lots of your attention. But babies really only needs the attention of one person. It's a good time for your husband and other relatives to bond more with those boys by giving them lots of attention.

It is good for the baby to interact some with others who might be part-time care givers with you showing approval. But a lot of people just standing around looking at the new baby with no one paying attention to the older children can be hard on the older children.

Of course, I know you can't control everyone's behavior.

Last edited by tadamsmar; 06-27-2014 at 06:53 PM.
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#8 of 9 Old 06-28-2014, 03:59 AM
 
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Twinning, it sounds like things are coming along really nicely!! Good luck with the baby--hope your birth is peaceful and that everyone adjusts well!

 
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#9 of 9 Old 07-04-2014, 05:27 AM
 
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yeah,babies really only needs the attention of one person. It's a good time for your husband and other relatives to bond more with those boys by giving them lots of attention.thank you
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