Up until yesterday, our six year old’s prized possession was her football card book. Many of the kids at her school have one. They collect and trade cards with images of AFL players on them. Coming from a family which is not that into footy, Twiggy and I have been amazed at how she has embraced the whole thing. She counts her cards regularly, enthusiastically tells us about each player and recently made her own special Gold Gary Abblet card. She’s even been known to sleep with it.
Last night her football book was not by her side when she cried herself to sleep.
You see, yesterday, her behaviour lead us to angrily throw it in the bin. Trust me, there were many chances, many warnings. I can still see her face and hear her shouting: “Please give me one more chance, I can’t live without my footy card book. I hate you”. And as I sat in bed typing this blog post I was resisting all my urges to go and get her prized possession out of the bin and place it beside her now sleeping self. I am teary.
Despite being an engaged student, her bad behaviour at home has been a constant for many months. Screaming matches, talking back, hitting out with aggression at us and her sisters. We’ve been slowly taking away privileges – no lunch orders, no treats after school and time out has become a regular occurrence. Nothing is working. We have been worn down. So yesterday, after a particularly long session of defiant and rude behaviour we made the threat of threats. We thought of the one thing that she valued the most and we told her we’d take it away forever. We figured that it would take a big thing for her to start taking us seriously. We figured she’d back down. She didn’t. We couldn’t either.
I know a friend who struggled with a similar issue. She cancelled her child’s birthday party. It helped.
I am hoping this helps. If it doesn’t, I honestly don’t know what will.
So, it’s now I come to you my friends and ask for your advice. Have you ever had to resort to such measures to make a point? How have you dealt with discipline, reinstating authority and respect in your house? Do you have any ways to encourage positive dialogue with your children, rather than threats and shouting?
Miss Six is a smart, kind, funny, resourceful, sensitive, keen to learn, delightful, gorgeous and amazing child. We adore her so much it breaks my heart to see her learning the hard way. I want to give her the world, but for her to navigate her journey she needs to get her grounding first. I am not normally one to question my own parenting techniques, but I am also aware of when I need to reach out for help. We all want to do the best by our children and we all want our children to be the best they can be, the happiest they can be, I’m just not sure I’m navigating this right.
Anyone else struggling?
ps: The Football Book hasn’t been thrown out as Miss Six’s parents are weak. It is now safely hidden in Audrey. When her behaviour improves it may reappear. This may be when she is 28, but it will happen.
Oh, it is tough, this parenting gig, isn’t it! I know exactly how you feel. I have a Miss Six too. I think it seems to be the age where they are trying it all out. I have wanted so often to do what you did, but haven’t quite made it, but hubby has. ‘In the bin!’ he warns, and in the bin it goes. And, what can I tell you? She doesn’t live him any less. She respects him more and knows he is serious. Me? I fret over the waste of money! Hang in there and good luck.
Thanks for your kind words. It’s that respect issue which is the trickiest to establish. They really are into pushing boundaries. So tricky xx
Oh love. I hear you on this one. Sometimes I find it hard to remember who is the child and who is the parent. Hang in there. It will get better xxx
Thanks honey x
Oh, you could’ve been writing about my Miss 6 – an absolute joy in the classroom and a screaming banshee from the moment she has to be removed from the playground in the afternoon. I wish I had an answer, I need one too. We remove privileges – television, using the iPad – if she mucks ups they both suffer. Same goes for Master 4. I’m glad to hear that the footy book is still redeemable. We did the “You have to go to bed without carrying on for 3 nights in a row if you want to use the iPad” and it took them a week to get 3 nights in a row. Now if they muck up again up the iPad goes to the top of the cupboard and we start again. Yuck.
Screaming banshee – are you sure we are not talking about the same child?! It’s just so exhausting being so firm all of the time isn’t it? If only they just listened and behaved life would be so much more fun for everyone. Good luck x
It takes a strong parental team to raise kids.. By the way, single parents “dips me lid” because you HAVE to do it solo. In my experience kids not only need boundaries & rules they HAVE to have them. Hence, the good behaviour at school or elsewhere because the kids know that’s not only expected but it’s compliance that gets you accepted. Home is such a different place of couse! Parents need to apply all kinds of ways to rates kids at different ages & stages .. And I think this is where you & your Mr are finding yourselves.. She is not complying because she is possibly seeing the siblings getting away with things she can’t anymore. I am in no way criticizing..help was asked for.. Yes? One such plan to help her understand that her age/stage has different responsibilities from her sisters might be for you or her Dad to spend one to one time with her “as she is the school girl now” she will enjoy some time with you.. Not for treats or anything, just time… By the way, parenting is a gig with the need for constancy & consistency but oh so bloody hard .. You are doing it ok you know!! Denyse x
Oh Denyse your words of wisdom are fabulous. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide some guidance. Much appreciated. xx
We have footy card obsessed children in our house too. Our threats revolve around the throwing out of favourite ones first, though initially we did the ‘hide them up high until behaviour improves’ tactic too. Came back to bite us when we confiscated another card and were told ‘you’re just putting it up there, I’ll get it back’ very smugly. So it went in the bin. On bin night. One card is far less traumatic than the whole album though.
We also have friends who’s twins’ 6th birthday party was cancelled for appalling behaviour from both kids. It helped.
Big hugs to you. I hope she works really hard to earn it back.
Twin 6yos. That would be way hard as they’d back each other up.Your friend sounds like a trooper. And you – congrats on having the strength to bin the cards! I never knew 6yos could be that smug until I had one! Good luck to all of us x
I threw out my sons Skylanders. The game, the dock, the figures…everything.
It shocked, it hurt… it did not work – for us.
If you find something that teaches that magic ‘R’ word, please post about it.
Far out. If I do…I will post about for sure xx
A theory I have heard several times, and one of Dr Phil’s favourites. Don’t react to the bad behaviour, encourage and reward good behaviour. In practice looks like. “I have had enough of you behaviour. I will take away ALL your favourite things which you can earn back one at a time with good behaviour.” Then teach the child alternatives to yelling, screaming and tantrums, such as punching a pillow, go back to basics remind about manners, give them very small jobs to do. MOST important, acknowledge the good stuff when it happens. I have done it on a smaller scale, it does work but you need to be consistent. Good luck. And if you don’t do any of that, just remember to breath. 😉
We are trying to encourage good behaviour today and stay calm. fingers crossed. Thanks x
Hi. oh my goodness, that ‘if only they would behave we could have so much more fun thing’ could have come out of my mouth. arrg. – I remember sitting with my son and making family rules WITH him. It seemed to be easier to get him on board if he was involved in setting the rules and jobs (mostly self care stuff at 6) that he had to do. then we agreed a few treats that he could have at the end of each day (a piece of chocolate, some TV time) if all the rules were met. At one point I even gave the treats a price in pennies, and dished out the pennies during the day for good behaviour on an agreed list (e.g. 2 pennies for brushing teeth before school without being nagged), then he could ‘buy’ the treats. I could take pennies out for bad behaviour as well. It made it really easy at the end of the day to say ‘i’m sorry but you only have enough pennies for 10 minutes TV this evening’. a bit more neutral. we only needed to do it like that for a few weeks and it settled down. good luck. it makes you so mad because you love them do much. Lucy
I really love this. It would also teach them about currency. It really gives your child ownership over their behaviour doesn’t it? Fabulous help. Thanks so much x
I was having the most horrid time with my son’s behaviour.He was 6ish and absolutely no amount of threats were working.I saw red and ripped his favourite book to shreds,his little face crumpled and the tears oh man the tears..33years later and the memory still cuts me.He cried for a day,I’ve still had guilts.Parenting sucks sometimes and after another 2 kids we were still learning and so were they and somehow it all just worked..I promise it will for you.Victoria
Oh far out, I can so feel your pain. I’m sure he loves you dearly regardless and after 33 years has moved on. Thanks so much for sharing and for your kindness x
I am creating a new morning paradigm with my kids (after my mum’s advice) which will involve a job chart (including being a well-mannered human). All the boxes have to be ticked to get screen time in the afternoon. I think I will include myself on that chart as well. At the end of the week they will get to choose from a prize list with choices like cook your favourite dinner or watch a movie of your choice etc. we’ve got the whole hip lifts to practice 🙂
That sounds like a great idea. I’m thinking of introducing a new chart thingy too. Good luck x
Parenting is a bitch. We have a five year old and oh my lordy she can be a little bitch sometimes. She can be rude and obnoxious. Sometimes I am so shocked at her behaviour.
She was recently threatened with the cancelling of her birthday party. Thankfully it was enough to threaten.
I’d tell we that you were angry and made a decision without thinking it all the way through (a good lesson for her to learn). Then I’d explain that she can have ALL her cards back and more. That each small act if kindness, following instructions without fuss eye will earn et back a card.
Parenting the Strong-Willed Child by Rex Forehand and Nicholas Long is fantastic. I’ve used the principles for over 10 years as a child psychologist and now (struggling!) to do it with my own kids. But when I do, everything is better. The focus is on improving the relationship with your child so they WANT to do what you ask. Just like you would if you has a great boss. It’s hard but worth it. You’re doing well to have a six year old. Some days I think my nearly three year old won’t make it that far!
My 13 year old has just spent 2 weeks without any technology. It has just about killed him, and me, but I think the message has finally gotten through. Also the thought of spending the next two weeks on school holidays ( with a five hour raid trip thrown in) sent him ( and me) into a panic & good behavior & pleasant attitude have been restored. He is only getting one thing back at a time & has to continue to be good or else things are taken away again. It was so bad the first week that when I went out I took his phone, iPod, Xbox & tv controllers, his brothers iPad & the Internet modem. He couldn’t believe it but I explained I couldn’t trust him while I was out of the house to stay off everything so that’s why it all came with me. I think it really shocked him which in turn pleased me.
Stick to your guns. She’ll get there eventually xx
Well done you – that would’ve been really hard, on both of you. You;re a great mum and he sounds like a great son xx