Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lost Impact

Raphaela was playing rough and kicking me, and I told that she does not kick Mommy, and that she will get a Time Out.  She said, "OK," and then walked herself to her room, closed the door and played in there for about a half hour.

Raphaela spilled about 50 very small and inconvenient beads all over the floor in the house, and I told her that she needed to help me clean it up, or else I would put them away myself and they would not reappear for a very long time.  She said, "OK," and didn't seem to be at all phased when I stuck it in the highest shelf of the highest closet.

I wish I knew what I was doing wrong here.  I have followed the guidance of my parenting consultant: I speak in a firm voice, I make eye contact and follow through consistently on my warning. Raphaela has no reason to think that I don't mean what I say, both in words and in actions.

There is a theory that the generation of children born after 1988 are "Indigo" kids, and that they have within their programming a completely different approach to Life, the Universe and Everything.  (Thanks, Douglas Adams...)  According to this theory, the standard rules and systems of child rearing don't work, and parents must adjust to a new reality.  These little humans are meant to be the peace makers, to fix the collosal problems we have created for ourselves and the planet.

Or maybe I am having a less than stellar day as a mother.


Midlife Singlemum said...

LOL - are you worried that she's not upset enough when you 'ounish' her? You are teaching her that there are consequences for behaviour and she is accepting this reality willingly. You don't need her to cry and protest in order to learn the lesson. I'd say you've aucceeded, well done.

Midlife Singlemum said...

* 'punish' succeeded (must proof read)

Ariela said...

If the parenting consultant isnt working for you, try something else. You WILL find something that works for you.

Sarah said...

As a teacher, I see how Raphaela's attitude has its merits. I tell my students all the time "if you hand in homework late, you'll get a lower grade. This does not mean I'm angry at you or don't like you. It's business. If you are having a bad day and decide to accept the consequences of late homework, that's fine. Just don't whine to me later. Take responsibility for your choices."

I then tell them the behaviors that DO make me personally angry (chiefly, distracting classmates from their work).

Raphaela has learned that actions have consequences -- and that she can make a personal decision to accept those consequences. She's learned that not having the beads is more convenient than picking them up. That makes sense. Personally I might choose that, too!(Actually, I distinctly remember my mother saying that if I don't do my chores, I won't get my allowance . . . and I chose to do without the money.)

But I don't think your goal is only to teach her that her behavior has consequences. Your goal is also to teach her not to kick people, and to clean up after herself.

It could be that there is a lost connection between "negative consequence" and "Mommy is angry." It might help if, with something like the beads, you say "if you don't pick them up, in addition to not having them to play with, Mommy will have to pick them up and it is NOT NICE for you to leave them for Mommy. And Mommy will be annoyed with you." Similarly "The kicking hurts Mommy, and it is mean to keep kicking someone when you know it hurts them." In other words, make the connection between her behavior and how the behavior impacts her relationships with others, not only how her behavior impacts access to her toys.

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koshergourmetmart said...

i remember when my daughter was in kindergarten and hated the teacher. when she got sent to the principal's office she chose to stay there sitting in a chair doing nothing than going back to the classroom. It does seem that RR understands consequences to her actions. But, does she normally have a time out in her room? Her room is a fun place and is not necessarily teaching her the lesson she needs to learn. If you give her a time out, it shouldbe some place where she basically is bored b/c there is nothing to do