Inspiration can strike in the oddest places.
The toilet (if you’re The Tackler).
Or the Chik-Fil-A play area.
Last Friday was a near perfect day: The Tackler was an ANGEL, in a way that is rarely seen.
Sure, he’s usually a “good” kid.
He is not often “angelic”.
He listened. He acquiesced to my requests.
He was nice to his sister. Really nice.
I had to wonder if he was the same child written about in that day’s “what the frak?” moment.
Thanks to this “good behavior” I ventured out to Chik-Fil-A so both kids could expel pent up energy in the nice air conditioning.
The Tackler made new friends and remained in “Angel Mode”.
“If you don’t put your shoes on, you’re going to be in yellow light. Yellow light, Max.” Another mother warned a boy playing with The Tackler.
“Yellow light?” I asked.
“It’s a system they use at his day care and we use it home. We call it the “stoplight”.
We left, met up with CG for lunch and the angelic behavior continued.
And it hit me.
This “stoplight” idea, could totally work for The Tackler, particularly during his little rebellions of refusing to leave somewhere or use the bathroom.
“Sweetie, we’re going to use colors to show the choices you make. When you’re a good boy, you’ll be in green. If you don’t listen or make a wrong choice you’ll go to yellow. And if you keep not listening you’ll be in red. Red is bad.”
“And then if I’m really good I’ll be in green. And then I’ll be blue. And purple.”
“Uh, there’s no blue or purple, just green.”
As the hour unfolded, he latched onto this idea, grasping the theoretical concept surprisingly quick.
But always there was blue.
I went with it.
And Discipline DEFCON was born:
Purple: Awesomeness. Well behaved, helpful, complies without argument. Perks: Can choose what to eat for snacks/meal (within reason). Power to commandeer mommy’s writing time while Lil Diva naps as reward.
Blue: Very good. Child has done something above average to get here or been well behaved in green for an extended period of time. Perks: special snack and parents more likely to capitulate for special outing/game/movie.
Green: Good. No added perks or benefits, just a normal level of well behaved. Minimal level required to do anything fun.
Yellow: Dropping here means a Time Out and/or some alone time upstairs. Can’t do anything special, play games with adults, or have snack. Easier to go up from this level than the ones above..
Red: Bad. No privileges. No snacks. No bath/shower if bedtime. During the day this equals sent to room for period of time. If behaves there, moves to yellow. If no time to improve, is sent straight to bed.
The colors slide, meaning you don’t just go from purple to red or vice versa. You have to work your way up, although a run of bad choices can plummet the rank.
We’ve used this for four days.
It’s been fairly effective to ward off the ornery behavior pattern. Or when he goes into “testing” or “button pushing” mode. Often just the threat of “If you do that again, you’ll drop a color” has worked.
It is not near as effective against the temper flare and meltdown.
Still, one of my biggest issues lately is the Four Year Old Defiance rising even on the simple requests.
This has helped immensely.
And he is so proud when he’s in purple.
What method(s) do you use to try to direct your child’s behavior in the right direction?