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March 23, 2011

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Bad Cop

After music class today, I was called the “bad cop” by another mom. She didn’t mean it in a bad way. You see, we’d been talking about temper tantrums. We’ve had a little preview here and there…but I wouldn’t say we’ve dealt with any true tantrums.

Then again, when they start up, I walk away/look away/ignore the behavior. I’ve been know to say “go on with your bad self”.
The other moms looked at me in disbelief. “And it works?” “Yes..so far.”
I am a pretty strict disciplinarian. I do believe that at this age they need to know boundaries and they ARE out to test those boundaries, no doubt. I am here to set the boundaries and make sure that I follow through with what I say.

One thing that is working very well with me is 1-2-3. I don’t know if this is the traditional 1-2-3, but it’s what I do. I tell the boys in advance what is expected of them and I let them know that I’ll only count to 3 and that’s the end of the story.

I’ll give you an example of the first time I used this:
We started toothbrushing time with real toothbrushes. It was a HUGE fight to get them to give the toothbrushes back afterwards. They just wanted to play and many tears and much screaming ensued. One night, I thought, “I’m going to tell them that when it’s time to give the toothbrushes back, I’m going to count to 3 and then they have to give them to mommy.”
Effing Magic, I tell you. It was brilliant. We do it every night and there’s never been a single protest.

Another example: There’s no standing in the bathtub. None. You don’t sit down and you’re out of the tub. We started counting in the tub, but it wasn’t working. Then, one night I decided to tell them right before we got in the tub what was expected of them and that I would count to 3 if they were standing up and if they didn’t sit down, they had to get out.
Magic Stuff–for the most part. Doesn’t always work, but it has made it 98% better.

If you start throwing food off your highchair tray, I take that tray away and tell you we don’t throw food. You bonk your brother in the head with a toy I take the toy away and tell you why.
No, you cannot touch my computer/iPhone/stereo/etc. Those are mommy’s. Period. I try to have those things put away when I’m with them, but it’s hard and not always possible and I do want them to know they are not ‘toys’.
In short, I don’t put up with much bullshit and try to run a pretty tight ship. Chicken is a little more lenient than me…so I suppose she could be the ‘good cop’, but we are both on the same page when it comes to discipline.
I don’t think I’m a bad cop, I just think now is the time to set standards.

Are you a bad cop or a good cop? Do you think I’m too strict?