Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Good Cop//Bad Cop:: The Disciplining Dilemma

Tiny is one of the most feisty little tornadoes you'll ever meet. 

She's a real fireball. 

One minute she's full of cuddles, snuggling into you, the next a wildcat. 

This last couple of weeks has left the Doctor scratched, crying and sore due to Tiny's feisty outbursts. 

It might sound funny - but the reality? It makes me sad and cranky - the Doctor wears these scars because his little sister can be a real brute. He, on the other hand, is Mr Placid. At almost eight years old he's the cuddliest, warmest, chattiest little boy. 

So tonight, when I was in a separate room, I heard a little outburst - came out to the living room to discover the Doctor crying and Tiny standing beside him looking nonchalant. 

I promise, you would have seen steam coming out my ears. 

Just yesterday I had spoken with Tiny (with my Mum) about how she wasn't to hurt her brother, and how it made everyone sad that she kept scratching him. I'm not talking little scratches, I'm talking cheetah scratch marks down one side of his face, or the long scratch that went shoulder to the middle of his chest. 

I sent Tiny to her room and tended to the Doctor. She'd pulled his ear - and hard - because she said he was annoying her. Tears streamed down his little reddened face. 

Yesterday we'd told Tiny that if she continued, we'd have to punish her. And that would mean taking her Barbies and her Monster High dolls away. I've tried other ways of disciplining her, but the little punk doesn't give two hoots. She smirks, does this lame apology and then re-offends a few days later. 

I sat her down and talked to her about hurting the Doctor. About how sad it made us. And that her dolls were going. 

She smirked and said "Well at least you're not taking my Trashies."
I snapped. And she cracked. Here started hysteria in the household. For over an hour there was sobbing, uncontrollable sobbing. But it wasn't just Tiny crying her heart out. The Doctor sobbed because he felt guilty.

I am the bad cop. But I didn't feel bad (I am SUCH a hard ass). It was hard to punish Tiny, but ultimately, I know this is what she needs. Boundaries. 

image via here


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samstone76 said...

Our little Miss 4 is going through a feral phase. We were trying the sticker board until she told me that she didn't want the stickers anyway.
Setting boundaries is hard. Good luck :)

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.: Cath :. said...

Oh yuk. We have always found the removal of favourite toys works a treat. Have you tried the other way too...? We have a star chart divided into 5 mornings and 5 nights. Good n the morning as in I dont have to sound like Marco Pierre White while getting her ready for school as in get dressed get dressed get dressed dressdressdressed now now now etc and same at night, gets a star when she has ten stars we go to the gelato bar orsome other thing.? It's really hard. And I also have been known to loose it. Xxx

Virtually Sally said...

In our house there is a child (maybe two now?) that resort to violence to express their feelings. We've been to OTs and child psychs. to discuss the behaviours and overarching consequences for the whole family. I have walked away with many skills but perhaps the most valuable is translating the behaviour into words for my child. "I see you are angry with ... " "I think you're angry with ... because...." Once everyone has calmed down then explain that it is ok to be angry, but that it is not okay to hurt people. Talk about things the child can do when they're feeling angry. We've found lying on their bed listening to an ipod a real winner in learning how to self soothe. "Use your words" is a mantra in these parts. Also there are some really awesome books about feelings for children that you can borrow from the library - in the back they've got tips for parents. There are ones about feeling angry, jealous, scared and so on. We've found that once our child learnt more about their "tricky" feelings (because no feelings are bad) the better they have managed their temper, violence and outburst.

Good luck.

Kate Moore said...

I know how much that would hurt too. The Trashies? Really? Whoa. That's heavy man. She's really gone too far when the Trashies are taken from the mix. ;)

You are not the bad cop. No. Not. You are a good mum. The end. Amen. Done talkin'