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Charting the Waters

Burke and Maggie have picked up a few bad habits, so in trying to break them, I thought a star chart might work.

What are we trying to break? Burke has this way of talking with his teeth clenched/through his nose…and it’s really hard to understand him. He also replies to things he doesn’t like with a high-pitched “Ehhhh!” (I can’t even describe it…). So…we’re trying to get rid of those things.

The funny thing about Maggie’s chart is that she actually asked for it…we originally just wanted to get rid of Burke’s habits and Maggie didn’t want to be left out. Easy enough to find something to get rid of…She screeches when she doesn’t like something.. For example, if Logan takes one of her toys, she screeches instead of saying “Hey! I would like that back, please.” So…we’re working on that.

We started out with 6 stars each. They get one warning of “Okay, here’s your warning. One more time and we remove a star.” They also have the possibility of earning a star back…usually for random stuff like cleaning up without whining about it, or helping each other out…stuff like that.

At the end of the month, if they have 6 stars, they’ll earn the toy of choice (a Gameboy game for Burke and a heart-shaped jewelry box for Maggie).

We’ve also found that the star “threat” works for just about everything…if they’re getting crazy and doing something we don’t like, we can use the warning. It’s great! LOL

Since I took the above picture, Logan requested a star chart as well. His is for potty training. When he uses the potty, he gets a star. If he has an accident one goes away. I’m not sure that he really cares all that much, but he has a chart just like Burke and Maggie – so he’s all good.

Unintentionally Rewarding Bad Behavior??

One of the only things that will calm Burke down when he gets…let’s say, upset…is turning the TV on. When he’s going on something like a “Maggie took all the good toys and I’m not going to stop crying for 3 hours” type cry, I am all for the calming effects of the TV. Right now, Curious George is our friend. However, when he’s upset because “I did something to upset mommy, she punished me, and now I’m upset” I have a hard time using the TV to calm him down…even though that’s usually what ends up happening. *sigh* Am I rewarding his bad behavior??

Take this morning for example, it all started with Burke coloring on non-paper items (with markers) so I took the markers away. Continued with coloring on non-paper items (with crayons) so I took the crayons away. Screeching ensued. After trying to talk with him and let him know that the screeching hurt my ears (etc. etc. etc.), he kept screeching so I took him upstairs (the normal progression). I left him alone to “think about things.” He threw books at the door. I went in and told him if he did it again he’d get a spanking. Did it again. Got a spanking. Did it AGAIN. Got another spanking. (I can’t not follow through on a threat!) So…now he’s calmed down a bit and we go back downstairs. Logan is “playing” with the Legos (which Burke thinks are HIS), and I can see a meltdown starting to happen, so the TV is used as a diversion (I have to put Logan down for a nap anyway and the TV serves as a mindless distraction so I know the twins won’t get into too much trouble while I’m out of sight)…but then I think “damn. Am I rewarding the bad behavior from before???” I can only hope that he doesn’t associate the two…