Today was a challenge.
We found out from my mom that while watching my kids on Friday, Seth thought it would be a funny joke to try to lock Grandma out of the house. He only did this for a short time....just long enough for his joke to be *truly appreciated*, or so he thought.
Dave and I took some time to discuss how to best deal with this. Since we were running crazy all weekend, I didn't deal with it until today. When your son is almost 8, waiting a few days won't make much of a difference. He's a smart boy with a loooonnnnng memory, and besides, sometimes the anticipation helps.
I told him this morning he wasn't to play with any of his toys, touch the computer, or play with Hannah until he "wrote lines". This was an idea given to my sister when her kids were small by the wonderful, awesome, Sherri Long. So I decided to try it.
I asked him to write, "It is not funny to lock Grandma out of the house". I wanted to stress the fact that it was NOT funny because most things Seth does is because he wants to make people laugh. I only made him write 14 lines, two sides of a paper. But to him this was the end of the world.
He threw fits I haven't yet seen from him. So, I added a different line to his assignment: "I will not scream, kick, whine, or throw a fit". 14 lines of each. A total of 28 lines.
I told him he had two choices: To write lines or lay on his bed. I told him he would be at it all day if necessary, and that he wasn't doing anything else until this was completed. I also required it to be his neatest printing and told him if it wasn't he would do more lines.
Those who read my blog know I am very frank about my flaws. I have stated them often enough. Since I am honest about them, then I will state here and now that on this day, on this occasion, I WAS AWESOME. Never once did I raise my voice. Never once did I lose my patience. I calmly stated the rules and I calmly executed exactly what I said. At the height of his tantrum.....screaming his head off in the bedroom......my every instinct wanted to wallop him on the area that God intended to be walloped, but I didn't. I knew I had to try something different, and I knew I had to stay calm. I left him alone until he was done his tantrum. And then I calmly told him he could lie there all day, or finish his lines.
It took him TWO HOURS to finish the first 14 lines. We had to leave to do errands after this and were gone for several hours, but I carefully explained to him that this was TO BE CONTINUED.
I guess he thought I didn't mean it because when we got home he rushed into Hannah's room, expecting to watch her solve a Nancy Drew Mystery. I reminded him that he had his new line to complete. Thus began his 75th fit.
For about 30 seconds. Amazing. Only.thirty.seconds.
He sat down and CHEERFULLY......NEATLY.......PLEASANTLY finished his last 14 lines. In less than 30 minutes. Giving me regular progress reports.
Tonight when his mouth was getting out of control, I warned him that he would be writing lines if he didn't instantly stop.
He instantly stopped.
He told his dad when he came home from work exactly what was expected of him and exactly what would happen if he didn't obey.
And so, for now, I have hit the jackpot. I understand that it wasn't really just that I came across an effective method to train him. It was really that I carried through what I said. Calmly. I have always known that.
Tomorrow I may not be so calm. But I am determined to improve. My son deserves nothing less.