Hey there, I am a single momma of a VERY spirited 3.5. Lately, I have been trying to use her bedroom as a sort of time-out recharge place and as a break for me when things get tough. She will not stay in there voluntarily so I put a hook and eye on the door and yes, I locked her in a few times, for a few minutes. I know this is not popular but I am single, stay at home, trying to work form home and sometimes things get really intense here, and going to out separate corners seems to be the only thing I can think of.
My daughter has completely destroyed her bedroom, she has torn down the wallpaper, smashed her lamp, upended the plants and gouged the door with a neat rock we found at the beach. Not all in one setting of course. The problem is, SOMETIMES, she goes to her room for a few minutes, calms down and we can regroup. other times, she ruins something, and occasionally, she would go to her room herself and "take a little break". That is why I let things go on... well that and I have no idea what else to do? I am not into counting, spanking, threatening, bribing etc.... but I am also really not interested in many of her behaviours right now, hitting, screaming, smashing plates at mealtime, tormenting the dog, going off like a siren the minute I answer the phone... I think I understand that because I work from home I am home all day but not really present all day, she is calling out for more attention. Even if I didn't work from home, I couldn't be her nonstop entertainment, and that is what she seems to want.
So my query is this, how can I help my daughter respect that I am not on this earth JUST to play with her- I have momma things to do too, and that doesn't mean I don't love her.
AND, what on earth can I do as a BOTTOM LINE with this child who runs my household? I feel like I am a textbook example of an attachment seeking mom turned permissive parent. I do negotiate many things with her and understand that at this age, if you negotiate, you will keep negotiating.... but I need a cut and dry bottom line for safety things and just plain unacceptable behaviour.
It is not ok to break dishes because you don't want lentils, it is not ok to hit your mom because you wanted another story etc...
It has been suggested that I take everything breakable out of her room and continue to use it as a safe place... I wish I could do this, we live in a 120 year old house and under the beautiful wallpaper she had been stripping is layer upon layer of lead paint. I have sealed it up and vacuumed/washed everything, but I am just not comfortable with this continuing. I explained about the paper, but you know how that went over :) there isn't any way to make that room safe for her type of tantrum, and there isn't another room that would work either. I have tried putting my self in my room to get some space/clear my head...but then she feels wronged and has the run of the house- not good... she goes right for what she knows will bring me out of my room. "moooooommma ! I am playing with your computer!, I am breaking things!!" yep, the works.
I understand that her crying out for more attention and then getting me locked in my room or her locked in her room is not solving anything. But seriously, I feel like I might really screw up sometimes if I allow myself near her. I look at her destruction and often I am speechless because I am paralyzed by anger, but conflicted because although I want to kill her! I really know I am not meeting her needs, and blame myself.