If It’s Not Working, Stop Doing It!


By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 26, 2012

One thing puzzles me from childhood, why did my mother keep that old sugar bowl for so long? It was small, wide at the top, narrow at the bottom, made of cheap melamine and always tipped over easily. With three children in the household and a lot of company, why didn’t she just get rid of it and fork over pocket change for a heavier, more practical, glass sugar bowl? She could have paid for it with the money she saved from all the sugar we had to throw out when the bowl tipped over!

How long should you wait for a change to become ingrained? I’m told old habits die hard but at some point you have to wonder— when. Like when you change a rule or how you discipline; depending who you listen to, it could take two weeks to three months for the new rule to settle in and become a habit or pattern.

In my Parents Anonymous® group we had a wonderful facilitator once who knew all about children and parenting but I thought she missed the mark on one point. Like any rule there are always exceptions to the rule. One young mother struggled with her children and a new way of doing things. The facilitator kept telling her, “Be firm and consistent.” For the next several weeks the mom returned and the facilitator repeated her advice, “Be firm and consistent.” The children were as frustrated with the way things were going as their mom.

My thinking was, “If it’s not working, don’t keep doing it!” Exactly like the poorly designed sugar bowl, some things may look great but if it doesn’t work for you like it is supposed to— just throw it out and try something else. At some point we have to listen to our instincts and go with our gut. When the mom in our group finally changed her method she was successful.

Why are there so many child rearing methods? No one method works for every child. Parents who have more than one child will tell you, what worked for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another and then it’s back to the old drawing board. Even my own two girls were as different as night and day. Our facilitator pointed out to me that even though my girls grew up in the same house their personalities were very unique and required different approaches.

Nobody knows what happened to that sugar bowl and it’s just as well— mom hated that sugar bowl and messes it caused. (Chuckle) We’ll never know why it took her so long to get rid of it because there was more than one design for sugar bowls too.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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