I decided that he needed MORE discipline and STRONGER punishments but the more I pushed, the harder he pushed back. After several months of complete turmoil I wanted to call it quits. I threw in the towel and declared that was his personality and there was NOTHING we could do about it. But I knew in my heart that he needed to be discipline, he longed for it and I needed to find that secret formula that worked for him. So I decided to do wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. I decided to play opposite day. I met his tantrums with soft quiet voices. I tried to speak peacefully even when I was enraged. I got down on his level, made him look me in the eye and spoke loving words of discipline to him and his reaction was astounding. He was calmed and receptive to my quietness. Before I’d been trying to strong-arm him, force my will upon him but he is a unique individual that needs loads of encouragement. While he may be wild and crazy he has a tender little heart. The results of positive praise were amazingly different than when we tried to sternly rebuke him.
We still use stern voices when needed but most of the time he just needs a little encouragement. Encouragement to do the right thing. Encouragement to accept our discipline. So I’ve become his biggest cheerleader. I praise him when he does what’s right. To often we only rebuke for what is done wrong and don’t give credit when things are done right. I encourage him to apologize, ask for forgiveness and make things right when he’s done wrong. I encourage him that he can do the right thing and that he knows how.
While we still have difficult days I wouldn’t trade him for an “easy-going” child in a million years. I love being the parent of a “spirited” child. (If I tell you differently I’m just stressed out.)