"How do you get a child to do what he's told the first time he's told? Don't ever repeat yourself. "

Reservations about Resetting the Dial

Question

This question is for Sharon Lamberth: Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply regarding my family's discipline situation. I agree that my husband and I need to do the things you suggested, and hopefully we'll be able to do that soon - need time to develop a solid plan first. Without the tickets system however, I'm at a loss for what to do when the children inevitably test the new limits we set for the family. We've been using tickets for years, periodically adjusting the target behaviors, and I feel like it helps us to stay fair and consistent by not having to think of a unique consequence for every misbehavior. When I was in grade school in the '80s and '90s, my teachers used a variation of tickets (we had cards - green, yellow, red, black) to keep the whole class of 30 students in line. For that reason, I always felt like we could use it with our handful of children. I know that leadership has to be plan A, and consequences plan B, but I also know that my children will not immediately stop misbehaving when we reset the family dial, so what do we do then?

For now, while working on a plan to reset the family dial, each child's tickets have been reduced to 3, and target behaviors to 1 or 2 - disobedience for all of them, plus speaking to parents disrespectfully for the 2 oldest. The 3 oldest (ages 10, 8, and 6) also have "keep the peace" tickets. Tickets aren't tied to privileges, except that when the last ticket is lost they go to their rooms for the day and early to bed. Privileges like sugar and screens are tied to completing their schoolwork and chores.

Thank you again for your help!

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