When one of the kids misbehaves, repeatedly, and won’t listen my favorite tactic is:
- Calmly ask them to join me away from the activity (and with 4 kids in our apartment there’s ALWAYS activity).
- Quietly tell them that it’s not OK while they hop from foot to foot wanting to rush back.
- Ask them what THEY think the consequence should be if I have to talk to them about it again.
This serves a couple of purposes. First off it makes them actually focus on the problem not just say “yeah dad, OK… can I go play now?”. Secondly because THEY set the consiquence if it comes to pass, I just quietly call them over and they know what’s coming. The waterworks are at a minimum.
But an interesting thing I’ve observed is *most* of the time the kids pick harsher penalties than I would have picked. I’m not sure what the psychology behind that is, and I rarely “lessen” them, but it’s interesting that when a kid is misbehaving THEY KNOW IT, and they KNOW THERE SHOULD BE A CONSEQUENCE that they should feel.
This is something we’ve used since Max was little. I’m honestly not sure how this works on older kids (9 years old or older)… because I just don’t have these problems with the older kids. If they’re melting down, they need food or sleep.