With so many ways to discipline a child, which is best? Every child and every behavior are different, obscuring which specific corrective actions might be most appropriate. While each approach should be child-centered, time assigned in a “Thinking Chair” can be extremely effective.
First Things First
Mothers can get ahead of a lot of problems by setting limits and expectations for attitudes and behaviors. Discuss household rules and their reasons at length and in detail. Lots of families even get children involved in setting rules and disciplinary measures; people tend to more readily adopt standards that they have had a say in creating.
When children ask, “Why?” refrain from saying, “Because I said so!” To strengthen their learning and development, a direct explanation helps them understand the reasons for something—namely—that mom won’t allow them to carry poor childhood attitudes and behaviors with them into adulthood.
With a proper understanding of standards and consequences, enforcement is crucial. While consistency offers comfort, inconsistency creates confusion. Believe it or not, children find solace and security in being held accountable.
The Thinking Chair: Directed by Mom
Let’s introduce using a “Thinking Chair,” where mothers assign a misbehaving child time to sit down for a set number of minutes (typically, equal to the age of child). Face the chair in the corner with a sign hanging at eye-level…
- Why am I here? What can I learn?
- No matter what someone else did, why did I choose a bad attitude?
- No matter what someone else did, why did I behave poorly?
- Can I always choose my response?
During the assigned time, a child should reflect on the above. As time wraps up (and tensions have subsided), mothers have a chance to reinforce the lesson by calmly and confidently getting on the same level as their child, eye-to-eye, asking for feedback on the above questions. An important caveat: If a child is disruptive during the assigned time, the clock starts over.
The Thinking Chair: Self-Directed
For children who are feeling overwhelmed, mothers can invite them to proactively reflect on negative attitudes and energy BEFORE they manifest as bad behavior. They shouldn’t feel obligated to sit in the household “Thinking Chair,” but a place they feel comfortable so they can collect their thoughts. Remind them that they can always choose their response, and sometimes, the most appropriate response is to think about things. Children can strengthen their personal resolve by taking the initiative to sit down and reflect on what they are feeling—and why they are feeling that way.
If WE as a parent are ever feeling especially heated about something, we can lead by example and take some time in the family “Thinking Chair,” right in front of everyone. One of the most powerful ways to influence behavior is to model it. Children imitate what they observe; with strong maternal leadership, mom can set the standard for her household.
Time spent in a “Thinking Chair” isn’t necessarily punishment, it is for reflection and self-regulation. The fundamental difference between a “Time Out” and a “Thinking Chair” is ownership and accountability. By allowing space to cool down, breathe, and reflect, children are better equipped to learn from their mistakes and minimize the likelihood of recurrence.
“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”
—Proverbs 4:23 NCV
When you’re a child, it’s not easy controlling your impulse reactions—kids do things before they think all the time.
When children don’t get what they want or expect, they often get upset and angry.
Blake generally has a good time… until someone interrupts him and tells him he needs to do something RIGHT NOW!
After an exhausting night of baseball, the last thing Braden wants to hear is Mom and Dad harping about everything he must finish on his to-do list.
Spring means great things like warmer weather, playing outside, and baseball! How is he supposed to keep working on his math test when it’s taking FOREVER, and he just wants to go outside?
Kids who have trouble adjusting to the unexpected and tend to overreact, can learn four steps for achieving flexible thinking in this story.
Braden’s brother Blake is ALWAYS losing things and everyone acts like it’s his fault. What’s the big deal? He’s just a kid!
The one thing all of us have in common is that we have to solve problems and challenges of various degrees and complexities.
Blake’s baseball team is doing a bake sale fundraiser. He just can’t wait for his mom to whip up a batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies!
With help from a caring teacher and plenty of opportunities to practice at home, Braden starts to learn and practice strategies for improving his working memory!
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.