Tuesday 22 April 2014

Positive team work - 5 Chances

I introduced a new system of discipline in our house last week and it seems to be working really well. I can see the makings of something that could stick around for quite some time. The Easter holidays have been fabulous but three children all together for that amount of time leads to quite some bickering and honestly, who wants to listen to that?  I certainly don't!

So last week on our way out to meet friends I told the kids to all be quiet and listen good. They could tell I had my serious voice on and all listened attentively as I asked them if I had been grumpy that morning and moaning at them all a lot? Yes, they agreed I did seem in a bad mood. I went on to explain that their constant bickering, one-upmanship and rudeness/ disrespect to each other was what was making me sad and therefore quick to tell them off and frankly I was not going to put up with it anymore.

I went on to explain that we were introducing a new system of discipline and it involved team work, respect, good manners and loving each other with kindness and patience. The car went very quiet as they digested this bit of news and I was asked if I was going to make some new sticker charts.  No, I explained they were beyond that and I didn't want them to work individually towards good behaviour, what I really wanted was for them to show love and respect towards each other and that involved them working together and working things out as a team.

The new discipline is called 5 chances as that is what the collective family get in a day (yes Daddy and I are involved too). Any one of the five of us can blow one or even all five of the chances and once the five are gone the next day is all about boredom. If they cannot get their behaviour in check and manage to not lose all the chances then the next day there will be nothing that they enjoy - it will literally be a day of having to make their fun together and learning to play nicely and like each other. I have said they will lose TV, computer, iPad, Lego, make-believe schools, arts, crafts, bikes, scooters, fashion and treats/ pudding. Basically all the things the three of them hold dear and love to enjoy.

It felt a bit risky at first to be putting in place a system that just one of them could blow in a day and then all of us would suffer the nest day. It sort of reminded me of when I was in school and teachers use to say they would put everyone in detention if no-one owned up to doing the naught thing. I hated it then but I sort of knew this kind of peer pressure might just work between them.

On our first day last week, we had 10 chances, so they could figure out how the system would work and to allow them a little leeway. I was super pleased that they only lost 6 chances that day and the most they have lost since is 3 chances. So far there has not been a boredom day where they have lost all beloved things. Thank goodness for me, as can you imagine the pain I'll go through with them whining about being bored?

There has been some really positive outcomes so far from the 5 chances system, like hearing them reminding each other 'do you want to lose a chance?' if one of them starts to be brash or quick-tempered with another. I've also told them they have to talk to each other and work something out if there is an issue and they have done this. I was very proud to watch one of my 6 year olds tell her 10 year old brother why he was upsetting her and how he could change.

Then generally I've seen some much better behaviour modelled from JJ to his sisters as he sets the example of how we should all act and particularly towards each other and being grateful for what we have. There will still be unacceptable behaviour, we are human and they are kids, so it will happen but if it happens less and they are more aware to be kind to each other then I'll be a happy mum.

There are so many behaviour and discipline theories and schools of thought out there and my stance is that you should pick what suits you and your family and leave the rest. I'm not telling you my way is the best way, I'm just saying that for us at the moment this is working. Go with your gut and do what feels right for your family, each is different.

Have you ever tried disciplining your kids in a team manner  where the actions of just one could end up impacting all of them?  I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Have a great week, Mich x
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