LoLo's Loft

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Unruly Child? See this Post!

Here's what I did at the suggestion of my great BFF So far it has done wonders!


You read right. She had a zillion toys and a TV in her room. They are now all GONE.... in the garage:)

I explained to Jippy that I had a child who refused to just do what we asked when we asked her. She always had to explain why she just couldn't possibly do what we asked. She's a negotiator. And I'm talking for anything we asked of her, from the biggest things like clean up your toys to the smallest things like hand me that pen. It was baaaaaad.

Disclaimer: My daughter is smart & I brought her up to speak her mind and to have an opinion. I was not of the "children are to be seen and not heard" mentality. I still believe this to be true, but you don't want your kids to use this power against you. And I was having no luck. I tried doing what my therapist suggested which was to dock 25 cents from her allowance every time she did not do what we asked. This did not have a big enough impact on her. She just got a smaller allowance but her behavior did not change. And boy we were tired, sick & tired of the battle. Smart and obedient is good, smart and I'll do whatever the hell I want when I feel like it IS NOT.

So I went into her room when she was at her dad's (Har, not sure when you could do this and to what scale but I'm sure you can modify it to fit your needs) and I boxed up, bagged up, tupperwared up every toy and stuffed animal, game and knickknack. I left books only because you know, reading's important:) I packed it all up and dragged every last item of entertainment into our garage.

When she came home she was amazed to see her room so spotless. She was very excited, but she did have this one important question - Where is all my stuff?

I explained in a very calm voice that I had put it all in the garage and we had some new rules to discuss. She was all ears!

I said that she would have to earn her things back one by one. She would need to change her behavior and do what she was asked when she was told with NO ifs, ands, or buts about it. I explained that if she started behaving appropriately she could earn a toy back and that we would decide when that time would be.

Her next question was about dessert. I had also put this rule into the mix at the request of A who was fed up with her demand for dessert every night after dinner. She now has to also earn dessert. It is not just to be expected but will be given to her when we feel like she's earned a dessert. So she asked, "Can I earn dessert tonight or is that too soon?" Granted is was like 5pm at this point and I hadn't really thought about how much she had to do to earn back so I told her we'd have to see and checked with A. He felt it was too soon and she needed a good dry spell before she'd "get it" (meaning get the concept, not get the dessert). And I agreed. No dessert tonight.

She was fine with it. With all of it. It was almost as if she was glad to have the burden off or her. She no longer had to bear the burden of playing know-it-all child who could always negotiate a way to get out of anything. Plus I'm sure the constant yelling and lectures from us was getting old:) This new plan seemed to work for all of us.

Since then she has earned one dessert & one toy. She's actually been pretty wonderful and the only reason she's only earned back 2 things is because we wanted to make sure it had really sunk in, to make sure the rules were enforced and her responses were in check before we let her get a toy from the garage.

So before we left town for our Labor Day excursion, I told her she'd been behaving and listening and she earned one toy of her choice to take on the trip with us. We went to the garage and she looked over her things and picked a little chihuahua stuffed animal.

In the meantime if she slips up and starts to negotiate or argue or give excuses I gently say, "hey didn't we ask you not to do that?" And she responds with "Oh, okay." And immediately corrects herself on her own. On. Her. Own.

It has been wonderful and peaceful and so lovely at our house. We are now the authority in our home and she is the child. She still has an opinion and a point of view and sometimes we ask her for it.

Now, please let me know if any of you try this on any level and how it works for you!


  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    I am so glad it is working out. I'd feel like the devil herself if it wasn't! Do you think it will work on me if I throw out all of my excess crap? I need to be able to check myself like your daughter can now do! You had a full days work if not more changing her environment. It's tuff love but her respect and the way she listenes to you is so worth it. You are such a great mom. You deserve to enjoy your relationship with your daughter. ALso, creating a new family isn't easy and I think You've worked hard to make this happen for both A and C. That was brave and you know, thank G you did it before that girl got the car keys! LOL You are the greatest!

  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous VHMom said…

    I just linked to your post from the Tiny Kingdom, but I wanted to say that we used this method with great results on our youngest child. We started doing this when she was about 4, used it for threats for years (of course, we meant every word, just didn't need to carry it out too often), and now that she's 14 and goes away for a few consecutive days, she'll ask me to go through her stuff and "put things away". We move relatively often, and she realized that all those boxes and bags of her treasures in the attic and garage just weren't that important after being without them for awhile. As she got older she saw how silly it was to keep some of the things she did (that special pine cone, etc.). Not to say that her things aren't important for many reasons I don't particularly want to understand, but no one can keep EVERYTHING. Your comment about being overwhelmed is accurate, I think!

    She's a sweet girl, but we still end up taking off her bedroom door when it gets slammed too often!

  • At 1:50 PM, Blogger LoLo said…

    Jennifer - Yes, you have helped us tremendously! And if I didn't have you to tell me things like I'm "a
    great mom" or "good job", I'm not sure I'd ever hear it or believe it for that matter.

    Thanks for being such an amazing friend Jen!

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger LoLo said…

    VHMOM - Ooooo! Good idea about the door removal! I'll keep that one close incase I need it. Door slamming is the worst! And also it's really nice to hear that it has worked for you guys over the years. I was sort of wondering what will happen when she gets some of her things back. Does that mean she'll just start acting up again? Or will it stick with her? Good to know that threats of doing it again can come in handy:) Thanks so much for reading and for your input. My daughter likes to save every important thing and believe me EVERYTHING is important has meaning and memories attached! But our house just isn't big enough, specail pine cone or not.

  • At 4:03 PM, Blogger HAR said…

    I can't wait to do this. I just battled it out with both of my girls tonight as a matter of fact!

    I've had enough. I can do it this weekend because they are going to a party. It's really perfect. It couldn't come at a better time. My mental health is at stake. Thank You!

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger LoLo said…

    Har - Oh good! You have to let me know how it goes. We've hit a few rough patches but it still seems to be working (it's her 1st week of school & I think she's resorting to some old bad habits. I had to remind her of the rules last night) Let's compare notes after your first week. Good luck, can't wait to hear...

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