Try This Tuesday #35: Disciplining Your Child

Try This Tuesday

Welcome to another Try This Tuesday. For details on how to participate, please check out the welcome post. If you’d like to join in but aren’t sure what to write about, try the topic suggestion for this week: Disciplining Your Child.

The person who suggested this topic specifically asked about the teenage years, so if you have experience in this stage of life, we would love to hear what strategies you have found helpful with your teenagers. If your children are younger, what is working for you at the age they are now?

What’s Working For Us — Stopping the Unwanted Behaviors

I actually posted about this topic previously, right after I started using 1-2-3 Magic with my son Michael (age 7). There are many different approaches to disciplining your children, and most of the mainstream books on the topic talk very little about children with special needs.

What I like about this method is how straightforward it is and that the authors clearly identify it as being best for children with a cognitive age between 2 and 12.

For our family, using 1-2-3 Magic has definitely helped curtail the whining and arguing, and even many of the outbursts. I sometimes forget to count until I find myself getting frustrated, but because he knows I am serious and that I will follow through, he usually stops the behavior on the count of 1.

Did you hear that? The. Count. Of. 1.

I didn’t believe it was possible when I read it in the book and was completely shocked when he started responding that quickly, but he does. Of course, he also has learned that certain things he might do or say — such as saying “I hate you” or raising his fist as if to hit someone — will earn him an instant count of 3 and a timeout. That doesn’t mean he never does those things, but it does mean he stops and goes to timeout when I tell him to now.

Next Step — Starting the Desired Behaviors

Counting to three and giving a timeout is used for behaviors that you want the child to stop, but a large section of the book is devoted to how to motivate your children to start doing the things you want them to do. Many of these strategies described are things I have seen used by various therapists and teachers over the last few years, so I was happy to see that we were on track with a lot of that.

The main “start behavior tactics” listed in the book are:

  1. Positive Reinforcement
  2. Simple Requests
  3. Kitchen Timers
  4. The Docking System
  5. Natural Consequences
  6. Charting, and
  7. Counting for Brief Start Behavior

Every child is unique and requires an individual approach, and I am not suggesting that everyone should follow this method of child discipline. I am simply sharing what we have been trying and how it is working for us.

Some Other Resources

If you are interested in some books that cover the topic of difficult behaviors in children from the perspective of some of the sensory and executive function issues that come into play, I would highly recommend the following:

Without an understanding of how Michael thinks and what is influencing his behavior, I don’t think the approach we are using now would really make a difference.

It’s not about the formula, but about the connection with your child. And making and strengthening that connection is a lifelong process.

Please join in and share the creative solutions YOU have found to your own challenges, or feel free to post your own challenge for input from others.

Topic Suggestion for Next Week: Helping a “New” Special Needs Parent. What would you say to someone who has just learned that their child has special needs? What do you wish someone had said to you? (This can be general or specific to a particular diagnosis, and feel free to repost something if you have already written on this topic.)

As the host of Try This Tuesday, Trish shares some of the solutions she has found to make life easier and invites you to do the same. You can also find her blogging at Another Piece of the Puzzle and Autism Interrupted.

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