Monday, December 20, 2010

Reining Her In

Yesterday Vanessa said, "When you discipline Missy it's like, WOW different kid!!"

It's true. She is responding to discipline.

Sometimes it's hard to know when to bring everything to a complete halt and zero in on the behavior. Other times it's obvious. Yesterday was one of those obvious times. Missy had been doing great... then little things started creeping in. An unkind word, a disrespectful look, a lie, an attitude, a manipulation here and there. I correct her. I deal with each one, but somehow she gets more and more bold. It becomes easier to disobey than to obey and by yesterday morning she was doing her thing with reckless abandon. I pulled her aside to talk to her and I let her know that her forewarned consequence of not singing with the other kindergartners on Christmas morning was no longer a warning but a reality. Practice was last night and it was clear to me that her heart was not in the right place. She was out of control and I couldn't trust her. (Besides the fact that she can't carry a tune in a bucket!!)

Well, she flipped her lid.

You would think I would be used to it by now, but it still absolutely makes me sick to see a person that out of control. She screamed, she yelled at me, she was horrible. I put her on the porch - gave her a hat, mitts, coat, boots, and wool blanket. She threw them on the ground. I stood out there and just waited. Her yelling turned to pleading but I made it absolutely clear that she had chosen the consequence by her disregard of my word.

The rest of the morning she was confined to sitting on a folded baby blanket at my feet. She's been very, very good since. It's almost like she's relieved to be reined in.

I wish I could figure out how to get that same effect without her blowing her top first.


Mama in Uganda said...

Way to go Mama--stick to it. Consistency is SO important.

Missy needs to know that sin is never good, pleasing or beneficial. NEVER!


Reina said...

I know this makes no sense, but I can completely understand this. I see it every day with my daycare kids, although nothing so obviously blatant. Structure, boundaries, and security are an important developmental milestone. If a child is forced to skip a developmental stage, they inevitably have to learn at a later date.

These kids obviously had none when they needed it (2-3 y.o.) and are testing, testing, testing to see where those boundaries lie now that they have them.

I can understand the emotional and physical toll it would take for these kids to hold themselves together, and the screaming and venting would be a relief, especially knowing that you will be extra tough, and extra tight on them afterwards.

They just need the reassurance that you're going to still love them no matter what, and that no matter what they do/say, you are still in charge.

Coming from someone that doesn't know either you or them, I am only guessing. But when kids are required to be in charge of their own survival, self-preservation, and self-sufficiency, it is a relief, although difficult, to give that over to an adult.

They are lucky to have you, and not to have had to go their whole lives without knowing that relief.