I was watching an episode of Super Nanny recently and she told the parents to use marbles to reward good behavior. So we have started a marble system.

I have to admit to being desperate at the time of induction. At first, the marbles represented 30 minutes of Nintendo, TV, or computer time (what we call “screen time”). If they disobeyed, we would remove a marble. The problem occurred when Samuel lost all of his marbles (pun intended) then had nothing left to lose. So now they cannot lose their marbles – just redeem them for their reward. The consequences come in the form of time outs and loss of privilege. This is especially effective when they are using one their marbles to have screen time, then lose the privilege (and that marble) for poor choices.

I really like this system of discipline because the marbles serve as a reminder for us to praise the kids and give them positive reinforcement. Meanwhile, when they lose a privilege, we try to word it this way “I’m so sad you made that choice! Now you won’t get to finish (blank).”. It’s called “the language of choices” and it serves two purposes: to help the boys take ownership for their wrong behavior (they also have to tell me what they did wrong and what they should have done before they are allowed out of time out), as well as maintain our relationship.

I think one of the most destructive things we did with the boys early on was to take everything they did wrong so personally. As a result, we often got angry with them and our relationship was temporarily severed. Besides mirroring our anger back at us, they also had no outlet for their feelings. By cutting them off, we gave them no way to work through the situation. This new way puts the burden on them, and they can still remain close to us.

Well, that’s my update for today. We continue to work toward getting everyone back to full health after another round of Strep, and I’m hopeful that once that is done, we can finally start to get back into some sembelence of normal around here. Maybe I can even get the garage sale stuff out of my living room!!!

(The pictures are of our living room, the blocks are at the pediatrician’s office, and the marble buckets – not necessarily in that order.)