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Response to "treats"

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 5 yo DD has a really hard time with anything that could be considered a treat. This could mean edible treats (candy, cookies, etc), a television show/movie, specific play time plans, etc. Anything that is deemed special.

 

She does this with tv. She does it with one-on-one time with me-we have 15ish minutes of Mommy-Lorien time every day, and this is never enough and every time it ends it is awful. Crying, whining, screaming. She does this when playing and then leaving friends houses. She is still nursing, and she does it about that, too (which is one of the hardest ones to deal with because I don't want our nursing relationship to have any negativity associated with it- I want that to be a safe place for her). She does it if we have candy or other treat type things in the house.

 

I have tried cutting some of these things out all together (edible treats and tv) and that did seem to help. However, that is not really a plausible long-term solution, especially since many of the things that cause problems are not things I would WANT to take away. I also don't like that "I AM IN CONTROL OF YOU" attitude that seems to be taking over my body when I am frustrated that she is AGAIN throwing a FIT while leaving a friends house, or to nurse or...

 

We have tried setting reasonable limits:

"You can have ginky (what they call nursing) at home, as often as you like. However, my body is part of this equation and I need you to be able to respect my choice to say no sometimes." I rarely say I can't...but if I do- oh boy! She threw a fit at my dad's house in front of tons of people because she wanted to nurse.

"One TV show per day." As soon as that one is over, she cries. She begs for more. 

"Finish up your current activity, and then we have to head home for dinner." She agrees, finishes what she is doing, helps clean up and then LOSES it. 

 

I have thought about just letting her have as much as she wants (namely in regards to TV and edible treats) and let her make the decision and "burn out" on those things. BUT, I have a 2 year old as well who doesn't have this problem, and I just can't expose him to tons and tons of TV, etc. Plus, there are other people involved in some of these issues and I need to help her understand how to respect that. 

 

Help?

post #2 of 6
My first thought is, how consistent are you about the limits? And is your DH involved at all? I find a lot of our sticking points with DS are things where I made a one-time concession, or didn't communicate the limits to DH so he made exceptions or was less consistent/lenient... What happens then is they start to rally all their strength and screaming & tears because last time you let them watch 2 shows, or Daddy allows more candy, etc. so they get this feeling that if they just protest loudly enough, they can get what they want.

If that's the case at all, one solution would be to restate the rules (in writing/pictures) -- maybe reworking the limits a bit so she feels like it's a "new" rule and this one might be enforced, unlike the others... and then spend a week or two being militant about enforcing it. For the first week or so, she might react worse, but over time she will probably realize you mean business, the limit is the limit, and she'll stop protesting it so much. (Theoretically, at least! lol)

The other option, like you said, is let her self-regulate, which I think would be my preference. Is there a way you can limit what your 2yo watches etc. while still letting your 5yo self-regulate? Once she realizes she can have/do as much as she wants, she may go crazy for a but, but in time it should even out to a more reasonable amount. One thing I notice is that when I want to say STOP, enough, etc. that if I wait just a couple more minutes before saying it, often DS will stop himself, with absolutely no prodding/effort from me. His comfort zone is just a bit more than what I'm comfortable with, but seeing time & again that he WILL stop eventually, and usually not unreasonably, has helped me let him take the lead more.

Also consider small Yes's instead of big No's. For ex., DS loves treats. He is allowed to have some whenever he requests it -- but we often give very small pieces, sometimes just a single bite, unless everyone else is having treats too (then he gets a larger portion). We also keep things like no-sugar yogurt pops in the freezer to give him a treat fix without the sugar & unhealthiness. Another ex.: if he wants to watch a show, I can pick a 5-minute story on youtube, instead of saying no.

I find mixing the above 3 methods together works best. Let him self-regulate, but when it's not possible/feasible/desirable, use small Yes's, but always be very consistent, rigid really, about any non-negotiable limits (like our rule about no chocolate in the evening due to caffeine).
post #3 of 6
Coming back to share one other suggestion... tokens? You could give her, say, 3 TV tokens a day, each good for one show. She can choose whether/when/how much to watch, but when she runs out, she's done. Kind of shifts the control back to her, but within your limits. I know there are other situations besides TV so maybe try it with TV or food-treats first and see how it goes?
post #4 of 6

The tokens worked great with my 5 year old this summer when we had the "just one more" problem with tv.  She helped me make three tickets and a holder for them, and when she wanted to watch a show I said "do you have a ticket?"  Zero fits once we got that system going, and after a couple weeks we abandoned it and the fits didn't come back. 

 

Another thing that I notice is if I can make sure she knows what to expect before turning on the show, the fit can be avoided.  Like, "this is going to be the last show today, right? And you're not going to have a fit when it's over.  OK, then I'll turn it on." 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Coming back to share one other suggestion... tokens? You could give her, say, 3 TV tokens a day, each good for one show. She can choose whether/when/how much to watch, but when she runs out, she's done. Kind of shifts the control back to her, but within your limits. I know there are other situations besides TV so maybe try it with TV or food-treats first and see how it goes?
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

My first thought is, how consistent are you about the limits? And is your DH involved at all? I find a lot of our sticking points with DS are things where I made a one-time concession, or didn't communicate the limits to DH so he made exceptions or was less consistent/lenient... What happens then is they start to rally all their strength and screaming & tears because last time...

I'd think something along these lines.  There has to be something that is reinforcing her behavior to have these meltdowns otherwise if she got nothing out of it, she wouldn't continue to do it.  Best comparisson:  slot machine.  You put in money, you loose, some, but always win just enough back to keep you playing.  That tiny bit of reinforcement works on a subconcious level to keep people coming back for more and it's the same with any behavior, be it good or bad.  Something has to ocassionaly reinforce it (could be positive, could be negative) and bc it's ocassional and usually random, it is a very strong reinforcer making the behavior more powerful - in your case the meltdowns continue to be an issue and until you step back and think about what could be reinforcing them, they won't go away. 

 

As for the tickets/tokens - love it!!!

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Everything suggested I have tried, except for tickets/tokens, and I may do that.

 

I think you all hit the nail spot on the head with daddy being more lenient. He has never been the primary provider, and now I am in school all morning. He now has much more parenting time than ever before, and I guess I just didn't realize how much that has changed their behavior (especially hers). I do think this difficulty in letting go of something to move on to something new is part of her personality (as it is somewhat part of mine) but I think being more consistent as a whole family is key. I am consistent, but he is not. That hasn't made a huge difference before, but now that he is with them more- it is.


Thanks everyone! I'll update if there is any noticeable change.

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