I need to explain something, my daughter is a very strong-willed, independent little girl. To top it off she talks like an adult. Now, I do know that I only have myself to blame for this. To start with she is a lot like me. I would describe myself as high-strung, determined and set in my ways. I see all of that coming out of her every day. Second, Johnny and I have never really talked to our kids like babies. I don’t mean we talk to them as if they were another adult but we don’t try to over-simplify things for their benefit. Kids are smart, they figure out more than you would realize.
So, back to my strong-willed daughter, I tried something this weekend that has so far completely back-fired on me. I was determined to get my kids to clean their own rooms this weekend. I told them all that if there were any of their toys not put away within 30 minutes, I was going to throw those toys away. Well, my very compliant 7 year old did exactly what I asked. He cleaned up his room and gathered all of his toys and shoes from the rest of the house without having to be asked twice. My 2 year old picked up a few things but I sent him outside to play with his daddy pretty quickly, he tends to destroy more than he picks up when I’m cleaning. My daughter however whined and complained the whole time. Everytime I told her to go clean her room she said she couldn’t do it by herself (in a very whiny voice might I add). I told her over and over again that I was going to throw away all of the toys that were on her bedroom floor. She continued to complain and refuse to clean up. Eventually she went outside to play as well. I took that opportunity to go into her room and pack away all of the toys laying on her floor, which consisted of all of her dress up clothes. I put all of it up in my closet where she cannot see it.
Fast forward about an hour, she comes in her room and notices that it is clean. She looks around for a minute and then comes to ask me where her dress up clothes are. I told her I threw them away because she wouldn’t clean up. Well, I did get the reaction I was looking for. She immediately broke down in tears and went on and on about not having dress up clothes for dress up day at school now (she has never had a dress up day but she is determined that one will happen soon). The tears lasted for about 5 minutes then she was off to the next thing on her mind.
Now, at this point I thought I had made my point. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Then she outsmarted me again. She came to me later in the day and in a very big girl voice told me that she knew I would give her all of her dress up clothes back if she would just “be patient.” Really, I mean REALLY!! She’s 3 1/2!!!! Today she has managed to make towels into “queen” dresses and she found one of her dress up shoes and informed me that she wanted to keep that one and not throw it away. She also told me again that she just has to be patient to get her toys back and that she has money to get them back too.
Back to the drawing board for discipline for her. I need to dig deeper into The Strong Willed Child to find some new ideas.