Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looking for a kid whisperer

I appreciate all of the comments and messages I received yesterday. Many of them were very helpful. And, since they are, I am back to ask for a little help. I have a problem.


Again, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the little twerp. However, since day 1 there has been something different about her. Even if you don't know her, I am guessing that you could probably figure it out by the fact that, since birth, I have oft lamented the fact that she was going to be trouble. And, she is trouble - BIG trouble. But, I don't mean that in a bad way. She is a lovable little snot and, if I might add, cute as a button. The problem, though, is keeping her from growing up and being BAD trouble.

Since day 1 she was given the gift of the word "no" and she has used that as her mantra. She is relatively fearless when it comes to voicing her opinion and will stand toe to toe with anyone. The problem is she is stubborn and if you don't agree with her she will turn around and do what she wants anyway. As in:

"Ainsley, do not jump on the couch."

"But, I want to."

"Ainsley, do not jump on the couch. You can hurt yourself or damage the couch."

"No, I want to."

"Ainsley, do not jump on the couch!"


At this point it usually requires physical movement. If you do not physically remove her from the couch she will continue to jump. Threats of punishment will sometimes suffice. However, this is only one battle. If you leave the room and come back you will find her jumping on the couch again.

Then, she must be punished. Isolation works well. Typically 5 to 10 minutes in "time-out" induces enough heartache in her that one would assume it a sufficient deterrent of future activity. But, we have not stopped there. We have also punished by taking away her favorite toys and by denying her, her true love, candy. We have punished her by denying privileges. You name it and I am pretty sure that we have tried it.

Regardless, 10 minutes later...

She is jumping on the dang couch.

Now, I want to be clear. We are consistent with punishment and I always follow through. There are no empty threats. Additionally, I have tried the gamut. Yes, for those against physical punishment - hate me now - I have even resorted to spanking on occasion. I can also tell you this, spanking does work in the immediate term, but the effect is not long lasting. The behavior always returns and, who knows what other side effects the spanking will cause.

Regardless, I have no solution. I am not even close with her. What do I do to "handle" Ainsley?

She is 5 years old, absolutely adorable, and, perhaps, the funniest of the twerp gaggle. She can also be the sweetest and most loving.

However, she is also the most obstinate and mischievous.

What do I do with Ainsley? How do I train her?

How do I grow a good human being?

I have purpose but no answers.


laulausmamma said...

Do not use the much "overused" word OKAY after telling her not to jump on the couch...when you do you are still giving her the choice of what action she wants to take. OKAY takes away the seriousness of your command, ie..."Don't run out into the street...okay?"

Debi Bowden said...

My son was a difficult child to discipline..if you took away his toy, he didn't care because "out of sight, out of mind". Time out was far too easy..he would sing the Barney song..what works..even until this day...shunning..the Amish not only can build barns, they know how to discipline (lol)..I told him that to be a member in good standing in our family, you must play by the rules..you will not engage in dinner conversations and such if you are not a member in good standing. The one thing he hates is to be shunned..it works like a charm...good luck! Debi the Social Worker now "just a mom"!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are you haven't found what really "matters" to Ainsley. I like the Love and Logic approach where kids are given consequences but the consequences are a surprise. Example, you tell Ainsley not to jump on the couch. You remove Ainsley from the couch. She continues her behavior. That evening, you load up Graham and Sydney to go for ice cream... You announces it. You make a BIG deal about saying... all of the kids who listened to the rules of our house are going. You load them up and you go to get ice cream. You leave her at home. You might check out the Parenting with Love and Logic book. It doesn't work for everyone but it has some really good ideas. To me, the main thing about parenting is teaching kids that there are rules that they have to abide by even when they think they are stupid. And that sometimes, things have to happen on OUR timetable not theirs. If they master these two steps they should be able to successfully finish school, graduate from high school and get a job. Good luck, we can't wait to see how Ms. Ainsely behaves next. I have to say that I have two kids and my first born is a girl. She is sweet and if you ask her to do somehing she does it pretty much without grumbling. My son, the youngest goes kicking and screaming almost every single time. I would suggest sitting down as a family and making up the "rules of the Dungan household". Write them down. Post them on the fridge. If you have ever watched Super Nanny, she does this. Sitting down and talking about the rules might get buy in.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add that for the Love and Logic to work you can't tell Ainsley, if you don't jump on the couch you'll get to..... it is all about the element of surprise and also remaining calm when you deliver the messages... finding whatever catch phrases feels right to you... Something like "so, sad...... off to your room....... looks like you need some alone time..... see you when you can be sweet........"