What Zero Tolerance Policy?

Of all the things that could have caused a disruption in discipline in our house, the winter vacation was perhaps the worst thing in a while to happen to us.

Before his holiday break, the Monster was doing really well in terms of discipline – he has his moments, of course, where he is willful, where he refuses to obey or decides to be a pain on the posterior for the sake of being such… but that’s being a four year old.

Since the holiday break, he’s been more than a handful.  Where he used to be no trouble at all to get to bed, he’s now putting up a fight nightly about going, and where he used to be compliant about doing homework and the like, he’s putting up huge fights.

I think that the majority of the problem can probably be put on us.  Let’s be honest – a lot of behavior problems with children come from their parents being lax and letting them get away with it, and then deciding to try to rein it in.  We were a bit more lax over the holiday week about letting him get away with staying up late, and we’re paying the price now.  We didn’t have homework to do, so he got out of the habit of having to get it done, and we should have done more to keep to the old pattern of having him sit down for a bit to get things done.

Add into this the fact that the wife and I address his behavior in entirely different fashions – I’ve been, where I can, sticking to 1-2-3 Magic, and she is a little more tolerant of deviations from appropriate behavior.  When you put it all together, we basically kicked his supports (except for the toilet training) out from under him.

I’m thinking that tonight’s a good night to try to get back onto the earlier footing that we’d had, by reasserting the frameworks that he’s used to and making sure that there is a clear cause-effect relationship here for him.  Now, if only that’ll work for bedtime…

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