Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Discipline. (I don't know how it works.)

I have this kid, see? And she is smart. She's adorable and funny and silly, and she's just too smart for her own good. And I don't know what to do with her right now.

Lately, this kid (we'll call her Brigid) has been testing her boundaries with me in ways that I wasn't expecting until she was a teenager, when I assumed she'd start telling me she was going to a friend's house, so she could go somewhere else to meet up with some boy or something. But she's not a teenager, and yet...the other night? She waited until she thought Steve and I were asleep to sneak into our room with her flashlight, hoping to find an iPad to take back to bed with her. You know, so she could stay up all night to watch her shows, even though she's probably seen each one a million and a half times. And when I 'woke up' and caught her?

She pretended that she had come into our room, at 11 o'clock at night, to grab the rubber band that was sitting on my nightstand.

(For those of you keeping track at home, she's smart enough to lie to me, but not smart enough to realize I wasn't born yesterday. When she does realize that I'm smarter than I look? I might be in serious trouble.)

This isn't the first time she's snuck out of her room to find the iPad we've taken with us after letting her play with it for a few minutes before bed. Several times, when I've checked on her before heading to bed myself, I've found her asleep with on next to her.

She talks back to us. She does the opposite of what we tell her to do, every time we tell her to do something. She won't stay in her bed, ever, when she's supposed to be going to sleep. She won't clean up after herself, or help us when we ask for help, or even take herself potty (which she did at school ALL OF THE TIME!!!) without a meltdown of epic proportions. And I can't help but wonder how much of this is just typical toddler behavior and how much of it is OMG WE'RE RAISING DEMON SPAWN DOWN HERE IN GEORGIA SEND HELP NOW!!!

So. Discipline. She needs it. And I need to figure out how it works. I have some vague thoughts of behavior charts and consistent punishments and all sorts of things that I think will make both my husband and my mother-in-law (who will be responsible for enforcing these new rules with me) hate me forever, but that's about as far as I am right now.

She doesn't look worried, does she?


  1. The sticker chart worked well for Kyle (we were especially struggling with him staying in bed at bedtime and not getting up a million times when we introduced it) but a couple things that worked for us with the chart was to give him a few things on it that he was already awesome at, so filling it up didn't feel impossible. We also let him name a couple "chores" or tasks that he wanted to add, so he felt he had some control over the chart, and we let him pick absolutely anything he wanted when he filled it all up. A couple of those rows were tough to fill (staying in bed without getting up) but he was filling other rows so well, I think it was good motivation for him.

    Also -- and all kids are so different, I always feel a little strange giving advice on ANY parenting thing (I only know how to parent Kyle, you know?!) -- it was nearly impossible to communicate or discipline mid-tantrum. I wanted to get angry and threaten and yell and try to get control of the situation but oh hot damn that never worked. I'd let him go to town with his tantrum, I'd even leave him in whatever room he was tantruming in, and then once he calmed down, I'd go back to talk to him about his behavior. That worked way better. That was also WAY harder.

    Toddlers, man, they're like angry drunks, I swear.

  2. And...I thought you has asked for advice and realize now you actually hadn't, so I'm feeling kind of like a jerk. I'm sorry! I hate unasked for advice more than I hate Texas summers, so thumbs down to me.

  3. Jennie...they ARE like angry drunks. You witnessed mine the other night. Delightful, yes? She's also a weepy, despondent drunk.

    Tara...I just kept hearing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" in my head while I was reading. Sorry, can't help it! It's honestly just typical TODDLER behavior, so no need to break out the rosaries and novenas, yet. Hang in there!

  4. Hahaha. I think you should just bring her over here to play and they can plot together.

  5. Ugh, I feel your pain. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a difficult 4-year-old. BTW, I realize that some of the fonts on your page are broken, let me know if you want me to fix it!


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