Down for the count


Find me a parent who hasn’t counted as a motivator.

“You will come here now, 1, 2, 3.”

You know the method. And you know how your kids respond. When you’re at one, you get the are-you-serious look. At two, they know you’re serious. And by three, usually in high gear. Up until now, it’s been a staple in my parenting arsenal.

I need a new technique. Especially while driving.

“Lillian, you must share some of those Skittles with Clifford,”

“No. I won’t.”

“I told you when I bought them, they were for sharing.”

“I’m not sharing.”

“You will share. 1 ,2 …”

And she interrupted, “I will share. When YOU stop counting.” Shocked. I stopped. And she shared. But I was at a loss.

Out-of-box parenting needed.

If she pulled that at home, she’d be sent to her room. But driving in the car, I was stuck. And punishing her for it later would go right past her.

She tried something similar last week, demanding to wear plastic, three-sizes-too-small  princess shoes to the zoo. “I’m wearing these, or I’m not going.”I knew she wanted to go to the zoo, so it wasn’t a terribly hard negotiation. I called her bluff with an:. “Okay, you can stay home.” She responded with a “hmph,” marched into her room and returned with appropriate shoes.

But what happens when she pulls that on me when we’re going somewhere I want her to go, but she doesn’t?

Help. Suggestions welcomed and appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Down for the count

  1. Miss. Independent, yes, this is the age for it. I have experienced very similar situations with Jillian. Whenever possible I try to reason with her and whenever possible I try to let her ‘win’. I’m thinking of the plastic shoes scenario above. I’d try the explanation route and then let her wear them. She would be required to pick out a ‘just in case’ back-up pair of shoes to pack in the diaper bag, in the unlikely event that her mother was actually correct and the plastic shoes didn’t work out as she perceived they would. I can of course ‘force’ her to wear the ‘right’ shoes, but then she’s just mad at me for being a mean mommy. So much better to let her learn through natural consequences. Natural consequences have been VERY effective for me. As for the Scittles… if she continued to refuse, I’d just pull the car over, get out, take the scittles from her and give them all to Cliff. You don’t share; you don’t get. There would be some talk like, “We agreed that these were for sharing, and since you don’t want to share they you have broken our agreement and you do not get to enjoy them.” It only takes once or twice of pulling the car over to resolve a situation before they figure out that they can’t ‘bully’ you around just cause you’re driving. Now I figure you are looking for more then how to handle those two situations, I think Natural Consequences is the key. We agreed you’d share, you didn’t = no treat. You chose shoes that I warned you might hurt your feet = your feet hurt (but not for long we don’t wanna torture the children {not too much anyways}) But when our girls get to this “I’m bigger now and more confident and I think I know everything and should be able to do whatever I want” phase… yep, there’s gonna be some new challenge every day. I loved reading your stories and feeling a little less alone in dealing with my ‘new boss’. Thanks!

  2. I am reading this as my son (7yr) is currently running away from home because I won’t hang up his wet swim stuff on the line for him (after he sassed at me when I offered to do his job for him). Kristine, be prepared for a “goodbye” soon. I hear he’s on his way to grandma & grandpa’s – boy, he will be the one surprised. They’ve got Alzheimers and won’t have a clue what Peter is talking about. PS: anyone looking for more info on Natural Consequence type parenting, read Kevin Leman – he talks about Reality Discipline – I think it’s called “Making your Children Mind without Losing Yours.”

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