One of my old go-to disciplinary techniques was the "naughty step." It never really worked all that well, and ended up being a battle of wills with my incredibly strong-willed children.
I don't believe in spanking/smacking/hitting and don't feel it does anything positive for the child or my relationship with that child.
Grounding, taking things away, threatening... sigh. I've done these, and still do them. I don't think they work, long term. I hate threatening to take a privilege away if they don't behave in a prescribed manner. I am trying to stop this method, but I don't think I'll be able to cut it out entirely - motivation is a powerful driving force with my kids, and it's very easy to use that to my advantage as a parent.
What I want and prefer is to instill a level of inner wisdom and discipline in my children.
I want them to be able to step away from a heated situation before violence or mean words erupt.
I want them to follow the (few) house rules because they appreciate living in a tidy, clean home, and realise that we are all in it together.
I want them to perform necessary tasks even if they aren't fun to do, because the work needs to be done.
I want my kids to grow into adults with a strong work ethic, an inner conscience, and a love for their fellow human beings on this earth.
Unfortunately, we all struggle with our temper in this house. I tend to blame myself, because although I am mellowing out over time, the kids have all seen me blow my top many times and they have copied that behaviour. Ugh. They absolutely HATE being sent to their rooms when they are in freak-out mode, to the point of me having to physically move them there (which is a bad, bad scenario), so frog-marching them to their rooms to "cool off" just doesn't help matters.
When I came across this blog post on teaching a child to find his/her center when feeling upset or out of sorts, it really resonated with me. It is a way of helping children find their own way of calming down and relaxing. It even has a meditative feel to it, which appeals to me as well.
So I did some online shopping, and came up with these items for our own special corner of the house, called the Quiet Corner.
Firstly, noise cancellation headphones. These aren't anything fancy, and probably won't work like the mega-bucks ones, but I'm hoping it will give a slight listening-to-the-ocean-in-a-seashell effect and help soothe and calm a wound-up child.
There's also the advantage of timing their stay in the Quiet Corner in case it all gets too exciting and other kids are waiting to enter.
Mood lighting. This little egg light slowly changes colours over a few minutes, and is hand-held. The soft glow and bright colours are sure to be interesting and calming.
Something for the senses. This little toy can be moved and manipulated into different shapes, and the rubber grips are bumpy, smooth, knobbly and lumpy. It will be a small addition to interest and distract.
Quiet Corner signage. Rules of the corner include:
1 person at a time
2 minute stay, but longer if there isn't a queue
all items in the Quiet Corner stay there
In use! There is some shiny gold fabric hanging from the walls to make it a bit more special. Behind the fabric is a string of lights wrapped around some willow sticks I bought as a Christmas decoration several years ago. Being behind the fabric makes the lights glow nicely. I also have a folded quilt on the floor, a small cushion to lean against, and books in a wicker basket. All the other items I bought will go in there, once they arrive!
I'm really happy with it so far. The fabric was a pain to hang up, but I am terrible with hanging things on walls anyway and usually resort to blue-tack or tape. I tapped a few tiny nails in the wall and hung the fabric from them, but some of the plaster chipped away while I did it. Annoying! That is going to take a lot to fix up when we come to move someday.
The Quiet Corner might not last very long. I don't know if it will still be in use when the newness wears off, but I'm hopeful. I have a toddler that needs to learn how to cope with strong emotions and I think this will help a lot.