Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wooden Ears

Carter is four. To anyone who knows any four year olds, that statement says quite a lot! I absolutely love this age, but with it comes new challenges. Right now, the biggest challenge is his newfound selective hearing abilities.

Carter, do you want some ice cream? Yes!!! Gimme gimme gimme!

Carter, can you please pick up the cereal you spilled on the floor? (chirp, chirp) Carter....did you hear me? (silence) Carter??? CARTER??? PICK UP THE CEREAL!! (defeaning silence) IF YOU DON'T PICK UP THAT CEREAL BY THE TIME I COUNT TO THREE, YOU WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE MISTER!!! (and perhaps maybe now he complies...)

I don't like to yell. Nor do I enjoy repeating myself umpteen times. Of course he hears me, he just thinks that if he ignores me, then he doesn't have to comply with my requests.

Not cool, kiddo!

This weekend, I'd had enough (see a recurring theme??). I implemented a new Wooden Ears Policy. After I ask him once to do something (or cease and desist), I will give him one "free" reminder. If I have to ask a third time, then he loses a privilege (television, computer, playroom, bedtime snack, bedtime story, etc.). If he loses more than two privileges in a day, then he goes to bed early and forfits all of his "Chore Chart" stars for the day. I mean business!!!

So far, so good....I'm really hoping that eventually we can get to a point where he does what I ask the first time he's told. Alas, he is a male, so I won't set my expectations too too high ;)


  1. Oh, I love this! Marissa goes through stages like this as well! Good for you for sticking to it and teaching him responsibility!

  2. We do something similiar. If we have to ask more then one time for Nicholas or Emma to do something then we take away whatever it is we were asking. Ex: we ask them to clean up and they don't then the toys go into a trash bag and get put into the attic. If we tell them to turn the tv off and they don't, TV goes off for a certain amount of time (longer then would have been if they had turned it off).

    And they know the rules, if you ask them how many times they're supposed to be told something by ANY adult they answer with "1 time"...

    Of course it doesn't always work but then they know it's THEIR fault for not listening and not mommy and daddy being mean.

  3. Have you read the Love and Logic books yet? Their main point is that actions have a logical reaction. In other words, there are natural consequences for our behavior, both good and bad. It goes along with what Stephanie just wrote above.

    It makes perfect sense that since toys are a privledge that if one does not clean them up, then one should not have them to play with. End of story. When children are given too many options or too many chances then that becomes the standard and they expect it all of the time. That's what leads to the frustation felt by parents and the yelling.

    Whatever you say or do make sure to follow through every time. If you change your mind- even once- then the child learns he or she can get a "freebie" every now and again if they play their cards right (or bother you enough). I speak from teaching experience- you know I don't have a four year old, so I hope this helps even if it's coming from a middle school teacher's perspective! :)

  4. PS Love and Logic's philosophy works with spouses as well! ;) You don't want to help me get the kids out of the door, then I will leave on time and you can fend with them... you don't want to help clean up, then I will no longer clean up after you... you don't want to help out with dinner, then I will be ordering take out whether we can afford it or not... you don't want to help me get to bed on time then you won't get the most out of bed... the list goes on.

  5. No, I haven't read the Love and Logic books, but I've heard good things about them from other people as well, so I should check them out!! I also want to read "How to Talk so your Kids Will Listen and Listen So your Kids Will Talk."

    Although, I have to say that with Carter, the threat of a loss of a privilege gets his butt in gear most of the time. I've tried connecting the consequence directly to the action (or inaction), and it hasn't been as effective. For example, I'll say "If you don't pick up this playroom, I will bag up these toys and give them away." And he'll say "Ok, I didn't want them anyway." Smart ass ;)

    I'm definitely good about following through, but ACE - not so much. Last night, Carter lost TV privileges and wanted to watch a video on Ace's computer with him, I said no. Ace said "Ask mommy what you can do to earn the privilege back." I said, "you get it back tomorrow, and you only keep it if you listen!"

    I totally employed the natural consequences on Ace last night! I got home from work around 7, and Bennett was static clinging to me and Carter was nutty. I asked him to help me make dinner, he said he was too busy. Fine - I made PBJs :)

  6. mmmm..PB&J is my favorite meal ever.

    I'll have to check those books out, too. If Barrett is anything like his daddy then I am in for a treat *sarcasm*. Sometimes I just feel like I am only heard if I yell or nag. Personally I think that it is the Y chromosome at work.

  7. lol, oh the joys.
    bailee is 5 now and is in the habit of lying and story telling. i find myself telling her the "boy who cried wolf" story multiple times a month.
    maybe this is stage 5 lol, but i had to start making her responsible for what comes out of her mouth - the second she tells me something that seems a little off, i ask her if it was the truth, a story or a lie - and she fesses up and feels good that she saved herself from punishment for lying by instead taking the opportunity to fess up when i ask what kind of statement she was making.... however, sometimes it backfires - like this weekend, she said some workers on the side of the road threw dirt on her, i asked her if it was the truth, story or a lie and she said truth so i called the "cops" on those mean workers.... well she saved herself by saying ohhhhhhh, nevermind, it wasnt dirt on me, just a shadow, but it was really funny.
    so yes, staying on top of your game and implementing rules and consequences is awesome, and just wait till it gets more complicated!!!! lol

  8. I think if you would have bagged up Carter's toys he wouldn't make that smart ass comment again! He was testing you to see if you would do it. ;)

  9. We actually did bag them up Mel! He honestly didn't care!!! But I didn't want to give him the option of complying only if he cared about the consequence, b/c then that makes it negotiable in his little mind.

  10. I have the Love and Logic books on cd. You can borrow them if you want. I downloaded them to my iPod and I listen to them when I get a chance.