Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New parenting ideas.

Well, lately my little brainiac daughter has been using her smarts and directing them more towards smart comments from her mouth. Which hasn't been the most pleasant... nor calming for her mother... environment we've created because of all of this. So in wanting to have a light environment for her to subconsciously evolve to we're trying some new methods. On a normal basis we've been pro spanking, big on time out, and of course we get frustrated and the whole evolution of a day turns into fights and arguments over the end of the world. So, we're trying the "You Can Do This" idea from BYU David O. McKay School of Education research. The link is: You Can Do This and the idea is positive parenting. Not spanking or inappropriate punishments for things - discipline being something separate from punishment, etc, a learning experience.

I've never felt good about spanking, and I see my daughter doing the same thing I would do when my parents came for me or said my name in the tone (for Mom that was "Melissa Anne!") I would cover my butt with my hands and plop down thinking then they couldn't spank me, haha. :) As a parent I now know that was never an obstacle, LOL.

Regardless, everyone parents differently because everyone has different children. As mine have gotten older, mostly Liv, I've noticed that Daddy's spankings are more effective where as mine are like phhhft, whatever. So, rather than fully allowing Daddy to be the mean one and me just sitting back and letting him know who to punish I decided I wanted to try a completely new idea and philosophy on the subject and idea of parenting. How we were parenting our children.

I encourage you to peek at the link above, the site is very interesting and has some neat ideas. This morning we had a dilemma and I decided to try and use what I read to help Olivia and I through it.

We have a rule about after dinner. Livy has always had a problem with having "accidents" in the morning. It's not a problem of wetting the bed, it's not overnight, it's in the morning. She wakes up and "can't hold it" so she pees in her bed. It's a HUGE pain in my day considering she's the top bunk and it's SO obnoxious to clean and change the sheets, etc. So we started preventative actions.

- After dinner, no drinks before bed.
- Even if you don't need to go potty, you need to go sit on the toilet before bed, no butts about it. (No pun intended, haha - and yes, she ALWAYS ends up going even though she swears on her life she doesn't need to.)
- If you still need to go potty and you're in bed and think you're not going to be able to climb down, just yell for Mommy or Daddy and we will help you get to the toilet faster.

So this worked GREAT for a long time. But then as she got used to the routine of bedtime that way, she started pushing limits. Asking for sips of water or water before she went potty to go to bed, etc. Then last night that went to a new level. She knows that after bedtime, Daddy's done with homework, Mommy's beat from a long day so generally we're downstairs watching a movie or a show on TV. Last night she decided even though we had to told her specifically that night that she was not to have a drink, that she was going to get one anyway.

She snuck out of her room, into the bathroom, poured water into a "Dora" cup from her Dora kitchen in her room, drank the whole of it, and ran back into bed closing the door behind her. Well, Cam and I had no idea. Surprisingly enough I didn't even hear the door open and close! So later we went to bed.

Later that night she had to go to the bathroom, imagine that! So she climbed out of her bed and thinking she "couldn't make it" she sat on top of the toilet seat lid and peed in her pants a little. Then she lifted up the lid (grossssss) and finished the rest in the toilet. She then put her wet clothes back on (eeewww, KIDS, bleh) and went BACK to bed.

The next morning when the kids got up Liv came out and was walking funny. I asked her what she was doing. She explained to me that she snuck out of her room to get a drink last night. Knowing where this was going, I pryed a little more:

"You snuck out of your room?"

"Yes, in the bathroom to get a drink."

"Even though Mommy and Daddy told you not to?"

"Yes and then I had an accident in my bed."

"So what you're telling me, is that you purposelly disobeyed Mommy and Daddy? We told you that you were not to have a drink because when you have one before bed you have an accident."

Liv: silence. She shrugs her shoulders like uhhh, yeah.

"So you snuck in the bathroom, disobeyed Mommy and Daddy, got a drink, and peed in your bed?"


So I go in her room and there's the glass on the side of the bed with a little bit of water left in it. I asked her to climb up and see if there was pee in the bed or just in her pants, etc. And she told me she did it on the toilet. Lo and behold, there it is in the bathroom.

So NORMALLY. I would be TICKED. Still was, and I probably shouldn't have let that be known as well as I did, lol. Anywho, we probably would have not let her play the computer. She loves playing on Nick Jr. the Dora games, etc. She's very good and gets to play for a little bits throughout the day.

So I told her no computer and she starts BAWLING. Like full on two-year-old-style tantrum. "THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, I NEEEEEED MY COMPUTER! WAAAHHHH!" Freaking out, full on. So suddenly it hit me. Just TRY it I thought to myself.

"Okay, Olivia, stop. We need to talk."


"Livy, talk nicer please, you don't need the attitude."

"Okay, what Mommy?"

"Why doesn't the punishment make sense?" She doesn't even know what the word means but surprisingly she's beginning to understand the idea of it.

"I just peed and I was naughty, I'll just say sorry!" Like most kids her age, she's very into the "sorry" fixes everything.

"Sorry doesn't solve the problem Livy. It's important to let us know you're sorry but you can't say you're sorry and then disobey us again, it doesn't work that way."

She's sitting there looking at me like I'm insane with big alligator tears preserved on her cheeks.

"I'll make you a deal," I said. "You are right Livy, when you disobeyed Mommy and Daddy and had your accident afterwards, it doesn't have anything to do with the computer. So let's try something different. You need to apoligize to Mommy and Daddy for sneaking and disobeying. Then, you're going to help clean off the toilet from your mess and strip your bed to put your linens in the wash. Does that consequence make sense?"

She has this look like yeah it does, but that's SO much work. She gives her dramatic sigh of "aaahhhuhhh!" (Mom and Dad, I'm sure you remember mine...) and says "Yes. It makes sense."

I got her a Lysol wipe from the container and made her wipe and scrub the toilet seat lid, underneath, toilet seat, underneath, and the top of the toilet bowl. From the sounds and facial gestures I'm guessing she's not looking forward to having to do that again!

We then went into her room and she cleared all the stuffed toys and books from her bed and I stood on the floor while she stripped all her blankets and sheets from the bed, handed them to me and I threw them in the hall. I never realized how much I enable her with her bed... I'm always the one to make it and at her age that's perfectly normal, BUT, she didn't even want to pull the fitted sheet off. "I can't, I'm not a mommy," and she'd fake try to pull. I kept telling her, you're the one that made the mess, you're going to have to clean it up, pull harder. By the time she got to the 4th corner I think she was even a little proud of herself. :)

She put all of the linens into the washing machine, I plopped her up onto of the dryer, she pulled the knob to start the water, she scooped and dumped the soap into the machine and I closed the lid. She knows that when the washer's done she gets to help put them in the dryer.

And WOW was it an improvement. Because there was no spanking or yelling or inappropriate consequence she kept telling me that it DID make sense. I think she's starting to understand that when she does something, she's responsible for it. I've always cleaned up the mess, but now that she sees the hard work (and fun work from the toilet seat scrubbing) I don't think she'll be so eager to disobey that rule next time, lol.

Well, now that this has turned out to be a novel, I'll sign off. I'll share more "success" stories as they come. Cameron and I are going to go over the full ideals and objective on this style of parenting because MAN it would be nice if things went this smoothly everyday. Or at least on the not "bump on the road" days, lol. Wish me luck, and PATIENCE!