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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Discipline, Rubber Bands and Positive Reinforcements

Not too long ago, I read a post on LJSkool called How to Discipline a Child - The Rubber Band Method. In it, Jackie Ryan Masek told the story of how her son's psychiatrist gave her the following homework:

"I had to place three rubber bands on my right wrist in the morning. The goal was to have them all moved over to my left wrist before I got into bed. The only way I could move one from the right to the left was to catch Logan doing something good. ANYTHING. No matter how small. For any amount of time, even for a second. Three. Times. A. Day."

When I was at a work conference a few weekends ago, a colleague asked the significance of a ribbon I was wearing on my wrist. It was just a hair-band, which I always kept on me. I preferred to used pretty ribbons over traditional elastics.

Well, lo and behold I come across this post. I thought to myself, why not add two more hair-bands and give them some significance. I made a decision to find three things every day to praise Buddy for. Big, small, whatever. Just three things.

Do you know what I have noticed? Buddy really appreciates it! He has commented to me more than once on the fact that I am thanking him for things he has been doing "forever" and never heard a peep from me about. And then does the little dance he does when he is pleased.

I grumble occasionally about the lack of appreciation I get from Buddy for the work I do for him. This exercise has made me realize that he probably feels the way I do sometimes. He has chores that he doesn't enjoy, just like me. He works hard at school all day, just like I do at work. Plus, he is new to rules and expectations and, well, how to be a member of a functional family.

Buddy still has his chore board, because that works for us. He is expected to do his "jobs" and he is compensated for it. It gives him a chance to learn about the value of a money, that a dollar saved is a dollar earned, yada yada yada. But on top of that, I am making a real effort giving him positive reinforcements. I have noticed that he is more willing to complete tasks he doesn't care in for when I thanked him for doing so in the past.

I love this part of the original post:

"We need to appreciate our children. We need to show them that we are glad just for them being in the room with us. We need to remember they are learning. Do we teach them how to love or do we teach them how to stop trying because no matter what it will be wrong? Ah, there’s the rub. We are always teaching them something, whether we mean to, whether we are aware of it."

I love Buddy, and on top of that I appreciate him. I appreciate how hard he has worked and grown in the last 15 months. I appreciate his hugs, how he volunteers to help out, how he tells me I look young and beautiful when I am feeling tired and worn out. He makes my life better just by being in it.

And he needs to know that.


  1. That's really interesting. I find I can slip into being a nag and notice only the negatives, which only makes things worse. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. You're welcome! It has really helped me remember to look for the positives and let Buddy know how much I value him.