Lately, my 5 year old has been a real handful. Arguments, back talk, sass, the whole shebang. I could tell him the sky is blue and he would contradict me. It is exhausting. Timeouts do not work, taking things away does not work, so what’s left? Bribery, er, I mean, goal-making.
Most recently I had a parenting break through and heres how it went…
Me: Kid, we’re going to make a deal. Are you cool with making a deal?
E: *enthusiastically nods “yes”*
Me: Okay. You know how we always get ready for bed at 8pm? Well, I’ll tell you what, if you do something I ask you to do, without arguing with me or back talking, you can stay up 15 minutes later each time you do (or don’t do) that. Do you understand what I’m saying?
E: “Oh yeah, mom!”
Me: But here’s the thing, if you do argue or back talk, you have to go to bed 15 minutes earlier, each time. So if you are not nice you have to get ready for bed at 7:45 or even earlier. Do you understand?
Me: So you could go to bed as late as 9pm. That’s pretty cool, huh?
Ethan: *giddy with excitement and a big smile of agreement*
Fast forward to the rest of the evening and voila! Awesome night had by all.
This worked! It actually worked! The kid was a rockstar the rest of the night. And better yet, so was the 2-year old watching the improved behavior of his older brother.
I don’t have these genius ideas often. This stroke of genius came from the depths of despair and exhaustion and was worth every miserable moment leading up to it.
Give it a try and let us know if your own version worked for you.