Recently my 6-yr-old has been going into her “pre-tweens” stage. Yes, “pre-tweens”! (Tween is the new word for describing someone between child and teen age, and I guess my girl belongs to the stage before that, hence, “pre-tweens”) She has been defiant and rude to her mummy and daddy. She challenges our stare or no stare, mumbles under her breath, knuckles on her waist, folds her arms, back talks, anything that you can see in an adolescent. Oh dear! You can imagine how devastated I feel. My natural instinct was to flip back on my childhood memories and nope, I could not find anything similar in my childhood days to deal with such behaviour. Usually I will think back on how my mother would have dealt with such a situation and mirror her actions or improvised from there. My next thinking is self-blame. This is bad. I start to think I may not have spent enough time with her. There were some changes in the house recently as we just moved house. Next on my thought list is that she picked up from her friends in school. Fair enough, I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she is not by nature a rude girl.
This bothered me a great deal, and initially, I could not deal with her well. I engage in shouting matches with her which I regretted my actions greatly. It did not help and gave her a wrong model to follow. Then I used firm and assertive tone. It only managed to stop her back talk temporarily but did not stop the behaviour completely. All my images from the “Nanny” series came back to me one day. I started a Behaviour Chart.
The Behaviour Chart works well and it’s easy to implement. I started with 4 things that I want my kids to engage in. First, be polite to your parents. Second, be polite to your sibling. Third, be polite to others (usually will mean Grandparents). Fourth, listen to your daddy and mummy (follow instructions at first call or second call). At the end of each day, if their behaviour is good, they will each receive a smiley face (2 points), at times good will receive a neutral face (1 point), if more of rude bahaviour for the entire day, they will receive a sad face (0 point). At the end of each week, if the accumulated points is more than 30, he/she will get to choose an incentive trip/activity (can be swimming, indoor playground, play beads, etc). For this, I had created a Rewards Chart for them to record down their chosen incentives.
So far I have implemented for almost 2 months, it has been rewarding till now. My girl’s back talking has lessen, most times, she follows our instructions and is more polite to us now.
Kids are motivated by small rewards and behaviour charts implemented as a game.
Here’s a printable of the smiley face behaviour chart you can print out to try!
Try it! You will be amazed at how fast it stops unwanted behaviour!