So finally, we wrap up the ‘If not spanking, what else?’ series with the last two Cs of the EFCC technique…

Consequencies

Now if I had thought that my all-new disciplinary movement will make an obedient puppet out of my daughter, I would have been wrong.

True, she DID become obedient but still, that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to occasionally have moments of extreme rebellion.

Take for example, there was this day she decided that no matter what I said, she was not only going to refuse dinner, she was going to accompany her defiance with a persistent raise of hand against me. Now considering her regular eating habit and the hour of her last meal, I was able to establish the fact that she was indeed hungry. However, she wanted a taste of her former habit; the habit of walking around in-between bites.

Now, seeing that she was going to stay adamant against my firm voice of reason, I picked her up, took her into the bedroom, set her in the middle of the bed and left the room without looking back. I stayed by the door listening. Then after about one minute I returned back into the room and the tears rolling down what I would like to think was her apologetic face, was evidence that she was sorry.

I then picked her up and mumbled all the necessary words to assure her that she was loved and had what it took to be a good girl. Then we made our way back to her high chair and it wasn’t long before we were able to finally get a peek at the bottom of her plate.

Now what am I trying to say? Sometimes, being firm is not going to be enough. You will have to introduce some kind of consequence. You could withdraw a favourite toy, cancel a fun outing or simply do any other thing that will make your toddler sit up. However you have to be sure to follow through with whatever you say so that your toddler doesn’t label you a bluffer and see you as a joke. For example, you say that after the count of three, there will be no more ‘Barney’ if your child has still refused to step into line. So, if your child stays stubborn, be sure not to extend your count to 4 or 5. And, after 3 is counted, Barney must go!

Consistency

So all through a particular month, I was really firm with my toddler. As in, I didn’t give her any chance to ‘play’ me. Whenever I sniffed trouble brewing, I immediately hopped on my toes and stayed that way until the discipline was established.  With my no-nonsense face in place, I actually stood my ground and ensured all instructions were followed through. I was finally able to lay ownership on uncompromised ‘Nos’ and ‘Yeses’.

However on this particular day, we were back in the supermarket and she decided to take a chance by reaching for a biscuit she didn’t need. I looked at her and it was evident that unlike me, she was on an energy high. Really, I was very tired and had little fight in me. So shrugging my shoulders, I let her be and went back to shopping.

The next time we were in the supermarket, she tried her ploy again. But unfortunately for her, my energy was back. So confidently I stepped into my no-nonsense shoes assuming that after one or two words from me, she would drop the biscuit. But I was so wrong as her reaction was an exact replica (if not worse) of what it used to be before the ‘days of discipline’.

The drama reminded me of sometime before then. My daughter was on a break from school and so feeling like the nice mom, I extended her bedtime by about 2 to 3 hours.

After the holidays, when I wanted to shift her bedtime back to its proper hour, I faced so much resistance that one would have never guessed that this was the same child who had some weeks ago successfully earned the honors degree from the sleep training class.

So, what’s the point here? Consistency is key. When it comes to discipline, there should be no such thing as holidays. Don’t confuse children. Keep it simple for them because they need structure and routine to function at their best. Let them know that this is the way it is today and this is the way it will be tomorrow. Once kids see that mommy is unstable in her ways, they will capitalize on the situation and really my response to that will be, ‘Can you blame them?’

(Picture courtesy: gettyimages, placester, sparkpeople)