Posted by: mamaamy | April 26, 2009

Question 2: yelling kids and snatching toys

C is often (and I mean often, more times than not for no reason) yelling at K and is also quick to take his toys, etc (which K rarely minds but still…).  Is this a matter to switch/spank for or is it again something to verbally train.  I’ve tried a bit of everything- coaching how to say it appropriately, commanding silence, spanking, etc.


Again, this is an area where explicit instruction is essential, and then consequences should be understood and then followed through on.

I think these are 2 separate issues but both would be infractions against the standard of respect: yelling and snatching toys.

If the yelling is a means of “disciplining” on C’s part it is like the issue from Question 1 and would need similar training.  If the issue of yelling is random and unexplainable, then it is a matter of respect that needs training.  Yelling is disrespectful of everyone’s freedom to live in a peaceful home. Perhaps I would say, “C, it is not appropriate to yell, please respect our freedom to live in a peaceful home. Do not yell.”  (if it is the first or second time that I am introducing a concept then again I would make sure that the child understands the offense—disrespect—and then I would let him know that I will have to discipline him if he doesn’t use his self control and be respectful.)  Then, I would take every opportunity to help him understand the concept of respect.  If we are out in public and another child is yelling, I would point it out and tell my son that the child is being disrespectful.  If we are at a restaurant and someone’s child is running around or yelling again I would say something like, “See, C, that child is not respecting our freedom to have a nice dinner.  That child is disrespectful.  Isn’t that an awful sound!  Thank you for being respectful and sitting quietly.”  If they can learn experientially what disrespect and respect are by me pointing out a number of different contexts where other children are disrespectful or respectful then they begin to understand the concepts.

Snatching toys is another form of disrespect–especially if ownership has been established.  In our household, each toy is “owned” by someone.  He has domain over that toy.  If someone else tries to snatch a toy, then I can ask whose toy it is.  The one who owns it, gets it.  “You may not snatch toys from each other.  It is disrespectful.  Disrespect tears down our family, respect builds up our family.  Please respect your brother’s freedom to have his toys without them being snatched away. Please go and find your own toys to play with.”  I would also perhaps take the opportunity (now or in the near future) to talk about sharing.  “If you would like to use your brother’s toy, then ask nicely to borrow it or use it.  If he lets you, then say ‘thanks, brother, for sharing’ if he chooses not to share, say ‘maybe another time.’”  He has authority over his own toys and he can choose to share or not.  We hope that he will share and encourage that act of loving the brother, but if he has reasons for not sharing, we must respect them.

This area of respect is an important standard in our family and we continue to train it in a variety of contexts.  When you have these types of standards, rules against innumerable infractions become unnecessary and child training becomes much simpler.  Every action can be defined by one of the standards. Once they understand the standards then they can begin to recognize and extrapolate how to alter their behavior based on those few standards.

Mama Amy

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