April 29, 2011


          SB received her first negative report from school this week. Normally, they rave about her, so it was a pretty big deal to have the director tell me she had been, "a pistol" that morning. I believe she was putting it mildly. SB had been a holy terror at home, so I wasn't surprised they had trouble with her.
          She was apparently quite naughty and disruptive, and gave lots of attitude. They don't normally do time outs there, preferring an approach known as "redirection" instead. But she got three time outs that day. I made her apologize to the director, and said we would talk about her behavior.
          We had been planning to give the dog a bath out on the deck that afternoon. It is an activity SB LOVES. She gets to wear her bathing suit and play with water. The moment we walked in the door after returning from school, she squealed, "Dee Dee baff!"
          I told her we would not be giving Dee Dee a bath that day, because she had been naughty at school. I explained it was not OK to not to listen to her teachers and refuse to follow their instructions. Which resulted in SB throwing herself on the floor of the laundry room and having a massive tantrum.
          I walked away and let her go nuts. Once she calmed down, I returned and said that if she could be a good girl at school the next day, we would give Dee Dee his bath that afternoon. Another tantrum ensued, and I went to the kitchen to make her lunch.
          She calmed down, ate and had her nap. Upon waking, she screamed, "DEE DEE BAFF!!!" repeatedly at the top of her lungs (in that really high pitched way I think only girls are capable of, that leaves your ears ringing) for what felt like a really long time. I kept my cool. Calmly and repeatedly explained to her why we would not be giving the dog (whose real name is Shaggy, btw) a bath.
          The rest of the day was not fun. By the time my hubby came home, I was so done! It was beer thirty. Every time I asked SB if she was going to be good at school the next day, I got back a, "NO!" so full of attitude it nearly knocked me back.
          The next morning, SB declared herself, "Happy, happy!" over breakfast. Which was a good sign. And, she had a very good day at school. She of course remembered what her reward would be, but those awful storms that caused so much devastation across the country were headed our way.
          We stayed indoors and baked cookies instead. And enjoyed some fresh out of the oven with milk. Today, we will give the dog a bath out on the deck, and fill up SB's baby pool and have some good, fun water play. And all will be right with the world.
          I believe in setting boundaries for children firmly and in a loving way from a young age, and letting them know what is expected of them. I also try to make sure my discipline measures are appropriate to SB's age. I don't always know if they are right or will work, however, until I try them.
          She was less than 18 months old when I first used a time out. I wasn't sure if she would get it, but she totally did. It worked like a charm. Now that she is older, time outs are not proving to be as effective. So I decided on the fly I would try taking away a privilege or activity.
          There is no one-size approach for discipline. Every child responds differently, and any one child can respond differently to the same approach depending on a variety of factors. How do you handle discipline with your child(ren), and how can you tell if your methods are effective?
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