Being Stuck: Your New Favorite Discipline Technique

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Do you find yourself yelling at your kids, your blood pressure rising while truly considering putting them in a rocket and sending them to the moon? They love space, so it’s not all bad. You just want them to clean up their toys, go potty, put dishes in the sink, get dressed… Really, just put the shoes on, clean up your toys, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?!?!

Stuck 2Okay, here is the slowest quick solution that you will ever discover. It only involves one idea, Being Stuck. When your child, for example, will not put his shoes on, he is stuck. When your child refuses to clean up, she is stuck. When your child won’t brush his teeth, he is stuck. Right about now you are probably wondering what I’m talking about.

What I mean is:

  • Until your child can complete the task at hand, he cannot move on to another activity.
  • If your child refuses to take a bath he is stuck. He cannot move on to another activity until he bathes.
  • There is no need to yell, fight or bribe. Just say, “Until you take a bath (clean up, put shoes on…), you are stuck. You cannot move on to another activity until you have finished this one. When you have taken your bath and get unstuck you may play with something else (go outside, watch a movie, etc.), but until then you are stuck. You are in control of your day/evening and you can get yourself UNstuck anytime that you want to.”
  • Full disclosure (you know I tell it like it is): THIS WILL NOT BE PRETTY! Prepare yourself for one monster of a tantrum. All good. Let it happen. It is part of the process. Your child is fine. Mad, but fine.

Nope, this will not be the parenting tool to grab when hair is dripping wet, files are falling out of your bag, breakfast is burning and you have to drop off at school in 10 minutes. This is one that you choose when you have the time to invest, more like your child has time to invest. This is about YOUR CHILD not YOU.

If she refuses to take a bath and chooses to sit on the floor mad for an hour, then she will most likely run out of time for a story before bed. If your child will not clean up her toys at the end of the night, she may run out of time for or miss out on some of family movie time. Your child sits in protest through dinner? He has to eat without company because the rest of the family has moved on to the next activities. Obviously, think age appropriate – no child needs to sit and eat in a dark, lonely room, but a grown up might be cleaning up the meal or setting out another activity while the now-cooperative child is eating.

Do you have big kids? No car keys, video games (unplug and put away), no rides, until they have done what they need to do.

This is not Time Out. Your child is not sitting in a designated spot, she is just stuck in a moment in time. The idea is to let your children know that their choices affect their day. That they are in control of how their day rolls and flows. If they work as part of the team and take responsibility for themselves and their choices, then they can move on. We, as adults, cannot go out without our shoes on, leave work when we have not finished our job, or leave dishes in the sink after dinner (unless you like bugs and mice). We must complete a task before we move on, and this is the life lesson that you will be imparting on your kids.

Grab a book if you want to, go get some things done if you can. Your child will quickly realize that you mean business. The life lesson? You are responsible for your actions. You make a mess, you clean it up. You do not put your shoes on, you cannot go to the park. You do not do your homework, you cannot go to a friend’s house.

Parents, your reward is the calm feeling of not having to yell and fight. Hey, we have all been stuck at one point or another. It’s all a part of life and learning what it means to have responsibilities, care for one’s self and things, and be a part of a community.

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Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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