It is my belief that 90% of what I find successful parenting is simply being one step ahead of your children. A kind of, okay I’ve managed to think ahead of you and have what I need in place.
Then I would say there is a portion of inspiration, maybe 5%?
The other day I had a stroke of what I think was brilliance. My daughter has been a real challenge. Partially because she is a smart little girl and partially because she entertains herself very easily. Mostly because she is my second and my first has “pre-programmed me to respond in certain tried and true methods.”
For example, my son is disobedient I serve him with a time out. Having a Dennis the Menace and Calvin and Hobbes temperment a Time Out is close to Chinease Water Torture. Serve my daughter with a Time Out and she goes off eagerly, almost giggling.
Which makes me almost spitefully make her serve her Time Out in the dank basement! Naturally I don’t, but it is so frustrating when you are trying to make a point using something other than your hand that they really “feel.”
Well, the other day I had just about had it with the girl. The other thing with her is that her disobedience isn’t as overt as my son. I tend to overlook it simply because I haven’t paid too much attention. I can’t think of a good example off hand, but often it falls along the lines of “not doing” things she should be doing or doing it but not following directions. In itself not sounding too bad but if you realize that often she is doing it deliberately then it becomes the issue.
Well, the only thing I can kind of think of to reference is her eating supper. I’ve come to the conclusion it doesn’t matter what I serve, she will always dawdle while eating. Especially because when I make exactly what she wants she still takes several minutes (30 – 40 minutes) longer than the rest of us to eat. Even though she might have just eaten that meal in 5 minutes at Gram E’s house last week. Or, had 6 servings of that meal there at our house we’ll be lucky if she eats 1/2 a cup of the same dinner. My mother once sent me leftovers to fed her, but no matter!
The problem is that she waits until I’ve become fed up enough to walk away and then she’ll try to feed the food to the pets, into the toilet bowl or compost. I’ve caught her. Or she’ll “pay” her brother to eat it.
Anyways, we had to get going that morning. She was having the worlds yuckiest breakfast of Strawberries, Yogurt and Granola with a dash of Chocolate chips. Well worth over 40 minutes of whining.
Did I mention we HAD to go?
I was ready to stomp and scream. I happened to be standing near my container of clothes pegs. It had got to the point that I was ready to set a timer and tell her she had to finish by that time or she’d get a spanking. When the idea struck!
My daughter is very appearance aware. So I plopped the timer in front of her. I told her, if you don’t get finished within this time, I am going to pin a clothes peg to the front of your shirt.
She wasn’t done so I popped on a clothes peg. Instant wails! Nope it had to stay on!
Then I told her, if she wasn’t finished the last 3 mouthfuls of that vile and yucky breakfast in 3 minutes I would make her wear that clothes peg and one more while doing our errands. If she took it off, she’d get another clothes peg.
If she did finish her breakfast I would allow her to remove the clothes peg before we left the house.
She ate the rest of her cereal in 1 minute.
What’s even better, today I pulled out a clothes peg when she started dawdling and she sped right up!
I am thinking tomorrow I am going to try this with DS in a different manner. He is big at “talking back” to us. If we say, “Go do xxx'” he comes right back with 500 words.
So for him I’m going to give him a peg every time he answers back. I think that will achieve my goal of having him be aware of his habit! And give me something else to do other than getting highly annoyed!
Tomorrow I want to post about what we did today!