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Extra help, not punishment

I virtually tutor Tues through Thurs mornings before going to my "sister's" to work with her kids and mine. My kids have a schedule to follow during that hour and a half. Their schedule allows them playtime with the dog, and help with Kae. They also get some alone time to practice or mentally prepare for their day.

Last week, Mack (ADHD and ED), spent 30 minutes searching through his guitar book to practice identifying note names and staff positions for his practice time. When Will told him it was his turn to play with Ruby, the doggo, Mack argued that he still needed to put pick to guitar to practice, so he wouldn't be doing his Ruby time.

Leigh had to instruct Mack otherwise because I was tutoring. We have explained numerous times that dog and sister times don't get ignored because of poor time choices. They don't deserve that. We ask for just 30 minutes of time from each older kid to help while work is happening. Kae and Ruby deserve that time.

Mack then got to have a chat with both Leigh and me after I tutored. We discussed his "practice" methods and helped him fine tune them, so he didn't spend half an hour on one task that should take ten minutes if done efficiently. Then, we delivered his consequence for time poorly spent and trying to shirk his dog responsibilities. He was no longer going to have a rotation for Ruby and Kae during tutoring time. Instead, he would spend the whole hour and a half in my room/office where he could be monitored while doing perfunctory school tasks he doesn't need help with. He's to read, practice math, practice note names and placements, do handwriting, and play quietly.

Initially, he was none too pleased with our "punishment". We reminded him the consequence was designed to help him be successful. After the first day of following this new expectation, Mack cheerfully exclaimed he was glad for it, and it was helpful. He felt more successful with his overall day of schooling.

Sometimes, we introduce consequences to our children meant to ensure their behavior is appropriate. This was initially a stop gap so things would go more smoothly while Leigh and I were both working and less able to address needs. It became a refuge. A desire. Mack feels accomplished and happy. Leigh and I are (mostly) able to get our tasks completed without (much) interruption.

Creative consequences work. For both parents and children.

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