"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Forward is Permanent; Backward is Temporary

This has been an almost mantra I repeat to myself, because progress is never a straight line, especially for rad kids. Especially when they've been making a lot of progress; it's scary, it's unknown, it's a kind of loss of control.

Yesterday was a doozy. Josh was outside with the kids in the morning. He came in to get something and was about to go back out when he noticed Princess at the door. He backed up to let her in, then heard her call, "Daddy says it's time for lunch!" Which he had not. Three times is a pattern that needs to be dealt with, in my opinion, and this was the third Saturday in a row. The past two, she came in to tattle on a sibling, was told to go find her own space outside, and told the "offending" sib that Dad or I had told her to tell them to come in. Josh went out and called her on it, telling her she would be finishing the chore herself and he and I would find a consequence for her. She tantrumed outside for awhile, then pulled it together to finish the job to join us for lunch. I hinted to Josh in her hearing that I had come up with a consequence, but I didn't say what. Usually, she'd respond to a comment like that with acting out and attention-seeking behavior, but this time she lurked around looking full of dread. It struck me as "regular kid."

After lunch, we told her she would be writing two letters to the two children she lied to, and they must include two reasons why lying was not ok. She spent the next THREE HOURS at the assigned space crumpling and throwing around the paper, dismantling and throwing her pen, and complaining about having nothing to write with. She whined that she needed to use the bathroom (yeah, right!), so I reminded her that she knows where it is. She went and stood in the hallway for a while. When I called her back to her space, she fussed that I wouldn't "let her use the bathroom." I said, "you're right, Princess, I wouldn't let you stand in the hall." "No, the bathroom!" "Yep, I wouldn't let you stand in the hall. You're right!" That threw her into two twenty-minute tantrums requiring my restraint, and that hasn't happened in a looooong time. When she was done and regulated, it was time for her to "pay back my peace" for 40 minutes (read: nap). When she woke up, FOUR HOURS AFTER THE INCDENT, she began to write.

Right away I realized I had to change the assignment because her anti-lying reasons were statements like, "it's not nice to lie." Pure hooey. So I had her write about what happens when she lies, hoping that would be a little more concrete. She came up with "if I lie I get a consequence," which was fine, but then her next ideas were, "if I lie I have to sit in the car," and, "if I lie I get spanked." I said, "but Princess, these aren't true. You don't sit in the car for lying, and you don't get spanked for lying." "I don't?" "NO!" "Oh." Finally, with extensive coaching, she turned out, "when I lie, no one believes me." The "extensive coaching" included this conversation:

K: "Who do people listen to- someone who lies, or someone who tells the truth?"
P: "Someone who tells the truth."
K: "What will happen if you lie?"
P: "I'll get in trouble."

Times three.

Five hours. The consequence took five hours. When she was done she said, "wow! That was a lot of work!" "No, Princess. It was not a lot of work. It was a lot of time, because you kept not working." "Yeah!"

Head. Brick wall. Head. Brick wall. Head.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kerrie!
    Thank you for de-lurking. I'd really love to hear more about the visual therapist. Truly think K could benefit from this.

    Hoping your head is not too sore from the head banging. It's been one of those days around here too.