I have this theory, and so far i have been proven right… my theory is this, a child will every 2 to 3 months test the boundaries. They will see if the lines drawn in the past are still there and push them A LOT to make sure of this.
Because I really don’t believe in the children should be seen and not heard rubbish Tris, my son, has a say in the house rules. We all sit together and decide what is expected of each individual living under our roof. Yes this includes S and myself. Even grownups have rules, the amazing thing about including us is that Tris feels less of an inmate in a max security prison and more of a junior board member with some say in his treatment and future. What makes this effective is that giving a child a choice in what the punishment will be if a rule is broken is this, they truly believe that they will never brake a rule so they make the punishment much harder than you would.
Keep in mind that as the adult you will need to reign them in, the punishment for not picking up the clothes off the bathroom floor can NOT be that you take away his clothes for a week! Agree to negotiate punishments and make them doable!
I love this type of rule building, and these rules are revised and rewritten regularly, as he grows his responsibilities grow so the rules need to be built with this in mind. But even with all the family input every 2 to 3 months he will start pushing his boundaries… it will start small with a “but why”. The “but why” is used every time he is asked to perform a task not on his task list, for instance helping with the dishes… and soon becomes the standard reply for EVERYTHING!
Even with the “but why” he will start doing whats been asked reluctantly and on slow-strike, this is the first step… and when you get frustrated with him and ask him again to do what you asked, the sulky voice comes “but I aaaaaaam!”. This is likely to drive me up the wall all by it self!
Then comes step two… the I’ll find an excuse. At this point they no longer do what was asked (slowly) they respond with a “but” this is used with good excuses or bad ones “But I’m busy doing (enter activity here)” this tend to work for a while because how can you argue with “But I’m busy cleaning my room, I cant help you with the dishes” unfortunately they very seldom have a valid excuse, so more often than not you will get a “But I’m watching my cartoons” or the ever popular “But I don’t want to!”. At this point my vision starts turning red around the edges
Follows step three…lets see what I need to do or say to get mommy and daddy beyond peeved to pure, no holds barred, pissed. This usually entails the direct stare, you know the one where you ask them to do something and they look you right in the eyes while doing exactly the opposite.
Yes my child you have now tested the boundaries and found that they are still fully intact. That should you choose to act like this you will be demoted from Junior Board member right down to janitor… yes we still love you BUT unless you start acting like the well mannered young man we have been doing our damnedest to raise you will be treated like a voiceless entity. You will have no say in the following punishment, you will take your long lip and suck it back before i make shoes out of them… all this is running through your mind, yet you know deep down that he needs to test to see if what was true yesterday is true today and will be true tomorrow…
So after counting too 186, since counting to 10 no longer cuts it! You sit your child down, explain to them exactly, and for the umpteenth time, what behavior has gotten him into the soup. You explain that it is not going to be tolerated and why not. You pull the “when you’re a grownup” card and confirm via your partner that this behavior would have gotten him fired in the real world.
Then you run over the house rules again, revise where needed and your set for the next 2 to 3 months…