I have a lovely yet challenging nearly 6 y.o. daughter who is very headstrong. She must do everything her very own way and will not follow my directions 9 times out of 10. It is very exhausting and takes a lot of patience. I try to see this as a positive thing. She won't be a pushover as an adult. But my role as her mom is to help her learn to navigate her strong fire and resistance.
I need some ideas for how to help. I'm getting more and more negative in my responses to her. I really want to have a more positive way of guiding her. This morning she suggested a rewards system and I'm not really enthusiastic about it. My parents tried to use positive incentives for good behavior and getting chores done, but I really disliked them. Today, as an adult, I feel like I want my children to learn internal motivation rather than doing things out of external motivations. The trick is how to actually do that in a way that gets results.
The problem is, I really don't feel like I'm anywhere near achieving that goal. Instead, these days I'm yelling more and using negative consequences for difficult behavior.
I'm single with sole custody and have a young toddler in addition to my older DD. So, I find I just don't have the patience, energy, or time, to really give to the disciplinary issue that come up. I just want results and I want them now!
So, I'm really falling short of where I want to be. I'm starting to rethink the idea of using some sort of incentive system to get DD to shift her behavior in a more helpful direction.
What sparked this post is that this morning, out of no where, DD picked up her room (which she has never done on her own before), made her bed and offered to help me with my room and office tidying. She was so positive and helpful! After that she suggested that perhaps we should get a treat for the work that we did. Not sure where she got the idea, but I sure did have a different child!
It got me thinking... if she really can work in such a positive and happy way because she is striving to get something she wants, maybe I should use that to create some sort of behavior chart to help encourage more of that. At least the consequences would be positive rather than negative.
I still have a lot of hesitation, though. I hate this sort of thing. I've always expected that she will just do the things around the house (as well as listen to me) because that is what needs to be done. I'm not sure it is helpful to learn to do something simply so that you can get a reward, rather than learning the joy of doing something just because it is the right thing to do. But then I feel like I've really just been doing the other side of the coin in taking things away when something doesn't get done or she won't follow my directions. So maybe use the positive rather than negative?
I'm curious what others think.