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.