Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

Mother Hen on Raising Chicks and Kids

Mother Hen has always wondered why humans call their young baby goats. People are a puzzling species.

Naturally, Mother H. has a few things to say about the matter of parenting. After all, when you’ve raised 263 hatchlings to be responsible hens and roosters, like she has, you will be quite the authority as well.

Rule Number One:

Never tell a young’un more than twice, tops.

Tell them once because, well, how else are they supposed to know? Tell them twice only to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they might have fluff in their ears and not have heard you the first time.

Continuing to cackle simply teaches the little beggars that they only have to move their precious tail feathers once Mama starts to really squawk. By that time, Mother is about to have a conniption, which is bad for her mental health.

Rule Number Two

To every action there is an equal (but not necessarily opposite) reaction.

If a young’un does the right thing, fuss. Do everything short of throwing a party in her honor. Sing her praises. Give her a high five. Put a sticker her chart. When parents fuss more about the negative than they do about the positive, guess which kind of behavior a little chickie will choose more?

If a young’un does the wrong thing, don’t fuss. Calmly enforce pre-determined consequences that fit the crime. Time outs, complete with a little egg timer are Mother H’s favorite. The trick is that the whole time out must be spent quietly by the little delinquent or the time starts over again. If that naughty little rooster hops away before his time is done, pick him up and put him back. After a good time out served, offer a hug. Mama still loves her baby even when he messes up, now doesn’t she? (Hint: The correct answer is yes.)

For bigger offences, there must be bigger consequences. Say your little chicken crosses the road, a definite no-no. Well, there is one hatchling who is going to have her freedom curtailed for a while!

Rule Number Three

Don’t threaten. Have rules, have consequences, and that it is that. However if you do by any chance threaten, make sure it is something that you are willing to follow through on, Mama and Papa.

Typical family conversation as overheard by Mother Hen:

Mama: Stop that, Junior! Put your little sister down, right now!

Mama: I’m warning you Junior! I am going to count to three!

Papa: Listen to your mother, Junior. [His eyes are glued to the game on TV.]

Mama: One! Two! Three! I’m not going to tell you again! That’s it: a week in the coop for you!

Junior: Awww, Mom!

Papa: Isn’t that a bit harsh, dear?

Mama: Well, okay. Go sit in the nest for three minutes, Junior.

Junior: Just give me a sec.

Mother: One…

Junior learned his lesson all right. He learned that parents don’t mean what they say, and that any consequence is negotiable.  Which lead us to:

Rule Number Four

Present a united front. If there is more than one parent, back each other up.

“Well, what if he’s wrong?” you say. Discuss it, later, away from the chicks. Remember, someday soon, you will want him to back you up!

Rule Number Five

Don’t lose it, and we all know what it is, don’t we? Our nasty bad tempers that’s what! When you lose it, you have lost, plain and simple. The little monsters have won. Need we say more? Mother Hen didn’t think so.

That’s all, at least until MH feels like it.

Problem Child

sad girlDear Mother Hen,

My five-year-old is driving me crazy! Her father says that he wants full custody, and I am seriously considering it. Let him and his skinny little girlfriend deal with her if they can!

I told her on  Monday that she has until Friday to shape up or they can just keep her. Since then she hasn’t exactly been an angel, but she has cooperated some. This morning she brought me her dirty clothes, separated them, and put them in the washer without complaining – for once! She didn’t fold them right though.

She was supposed to dust the living room after lunch, but I found her playing with the cat instead, so she got a time out for goofing off. Next time I turned around she was gone out the door, and she hadn’t even done her whole time out! I had to haul her back from the neighbor’s in front of everyone. She got a spank on the bum for that one, you bet!

Since then she picked up her room okay, I guess, and didn’t make too much of a stink over her bath time. I almost fell over when she volunteered to go to bed early! Like that ever happens!

Thank goodness she goes to kindergarten every other day, or I swear I wouldn’t make it through the week. Watching her all the time is wearing me out! It is only Wednesday and I can’t wait for the weekend.

No man is ever going to look twice at me as long as I have a bratty little kid. Should I just let her dad have her and get on with my life?

Fed-Up Mom


 

Dear Fed-Up Mom,

Raising children takes a lot of energy and time. It is huge commitment, and a 24/7 responsibility. Putting the needs of your child first requires major sacrifice as a parent, and I sincerely question whether you are you are prepared to put your own preferences aside to focus on your daughter full-time.

I am very concerned about your statement, “…she has until Friday to shape up.”

Children need to know that they are loved unconditionally, not only if they do the right thing or have a good day, but when they make mistakes and have bad days. I am willing to bet that well before Friday, she is going to test you to see if you truly care for her or if you will disown her when she misbehaves. I think that you have already answered that question, and unfortunately, the answer is that she had better stay in line or else she is gone. That is not good enough.

Ask yourself, “Am I prepared to provide a secure, consistent and loving home on a daily basis, or would I be a better part-time mom, with time to prepare myself for her visits, and time to myself in between? If I were only required to supervise her some of the time, would I have more patience, and maybe even some fun, with my daughter?”

When children get positive attention, they don’t feel the same need to act out to get negative attention. Try playing with your little girl, so that your time together isn’t always so stressful. Blowing bubbles or going to the playground at the park together, for example, would be enjoyable and relaxing for both of you.

Catch her doing something well or trying hard, and then praise her like crazy. Give a hug or a high-five too! You will be surprised at how much of a difference little things like that can make in your relationship.

If your daughter’s father and his girlfriend are reasonable people who treat her well, and who truly want her in their home, then it may be best if they have primary custody of your little girl. It is important that she not see going to her dad’s place as a punishment though, so stop using that as a threat for bad behavior. Instead, tell her that Daddy wants to spend more time with her, and reassure her that you still want to be part of her life and will see her often. Make sure that you keep that promise, too, because someday when she has children of her own you will be so happy that you did!

Mother Hen