G brought home a suspicious white box yesterday. Leftover cake that his supervisor brought for him and was shared at their weekly meeting. The kids, for once, didn't whine for a treat after dinner, so we didn't offer it to them. I asked G what I should do with it, and he thought the boys might have it the next day. Expect I already told B he was "NOT getting a treat tomorrow", so we each ate a bit (I didn't like it) and threw the rest out.
That brings me to the real point of this post. I was prodding B to put away his paints and start getting ready for bed, so he hit me and said "you're stupid". I lost it and grabbed anything I could out of the air, thus the "NOT getting a treat...".
Both boys have been driving us crazy lately with two major issues: 1) aggression---hitting/scratching/biting/kicking either each other or me & throwing things (forks, paintbrushes, toys) and 2) constant whining and demanding of "treats" (desserts, movies, stories, new toys, "a surprise").
I realize that the bad outcomes come from a combination of their behavior and our response, which is based on lots of underlying factors. We have discussed, identified, and actively work to reduce & avoid the "triggers" that usually result in yelling & such. But sometimes it really is the kids fault. I'm sort of joking, but what I mean is that sometimes their behavior is THAT atrocious that anyone would agree it needs to be redirected, and we do NOT have a good strategy for how to productively discipline them.
We are not consistent with any discipline technique, nor have we found one that seems to actually work on any of those behaviors. We have tried the following:
-1-2-3 Magic: doesn't work. I often get to "3", and then what? yeah.
-Time outs: traumatic for everyone, because we have to physically restrain them to get them to stay in the spot. And then they cry constantly and when they get out, lash out even more.
-Consequences: some make sense and work---if they fight over or throw a toy, said toy is taken away until the next day. others are more arbitrary---no ice cream, no movie, no stories if you hit your brother again, etc... And if not immediate (i.e. no treat tomorrow), involves remembering, and both being on the same page. Also brings up yesterday's bad memories into today.
-"Marks": this started two weeks ago, where an infarction earned the kid a "mark" on the white board. 5 marks=some consequence. Again, the consequences are often arbitrary, and not consistent. Sometimes they were in a hitting/hurting frenzy and earned all their marks by 7:15AM. THEN what?
-Talking it out: I've read and re-read "how to talk so your kids will listen..." and I try really hard to work with B with short talks about why what he did might be wrong and hurtful and how to prevent him from reacting that way again. L is too little to get it. I much prefer to go this route, but again, it doesn't WORK necessarily, and shouldn't there be SOME consequence? (maybe not, I really have no idea what I'm doing here)
I hate having to enforce punishments. HATE it. I want the atmosphere in the house to be peaceful and fun, not heavy and stern. But I also do NOT want to be "that parent" who lets their kid run roughshod over them and everyone else with no adverse consequences. It is absolutely not OK for B to hit me or call me stupid, or to shove his little brother onto the ground. How do I get him to think before he reacts? And its annoying when they act like spoiled brats expecting something "special" several times a day every day. How do I get them to show some gratitude and respect?
I know a lot of my readers have younger kids and aren't at this stage. I know at least one whose kids are perfect and thus never had this stage. For the rest of you, what have you found that works in redirecting/preventing the above behaviors?