Help me stop nagging my DD! Help! Help! - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 8 Old 02-12-2008, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, deep breath, help! My 5.5 y.o. DD has never been spanked and I think I smacked her hand once. I might not be very consistent with time out, but I do try to apply it the best I can. I try to always tell her that she went to time out because she made a bad choice. She knew that x was wrong/undesirable behavior, and she made the choice to do it anyway. She only goes to time out if she does something after she's been told not to, or right away if it's a long standing rule that she knows and knows better.

I'm afraid she's inherited my temperament and not my DH's, which is too bad, because he is very slow to anger, and let's it go very easily. I, on the other hand, am quick to anger, and let it fester and stew for a really long time!

So, anyway, she is very active and very distracted. Both her old kindergarten teacher and her new teacher (first week of school this week) have told us that Claire is not bad, but she has to be constantly reminded of the rules, because she "forgets." I get it, she doesn't break the rules to be bad, she just forgets them or has impulse control problems I don't know.

Finally I'm getting to the point: She is constantly doing things and I find myself constantly riding her saying Claire no, Claire don't, etc. We're driving each other nuts, and I don't want to lose our special relationship by letting my reaction to her be nagging her. Lately she has been shouting out (when she feels bad about what she's done), "I'm just a bad girl!" or "I'm a loser!" (don't know where she heard that!), etc. I quickly tell her that she is not bad, she just mad a bad choice.

How the heck to I keep her from doing the undesirable behavior without constantly riding her about everything little thing? I really like the approach our cousin uses of logical consequence (their daughter is ADHD and has other issues), and she seems to successfully apply the "you knew that was wrong, and you made the choice to do it anyway, therefore you got punished." But, anyway, help. Any tools you can give me so that I'm not nagging her and she's not screaming in my face ... would be much appreciated!
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#2 of 8 Old 02-12-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Can you give some specific examples of misbehavior? What are some commong "bad choices" that she makes on a regular basis?

I think it might help me to be constructive if I had some concrete examples.
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#3 of 8 Old 02-12-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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Would you consider not punishing her, but just reminding her of the rule? If she's not trying to do something wrong, then punishing could make her feel bad about herself. Maybe you could post some specific rules like they do in schools. And when she forgets, you can point to the rule on the wall. It will help with her reading as well. I don't know how strongly you feel about punishing, but when a kids starts saying that she's bad, I'd back way off.

Second, if you share a temperament, then you can relate to her really well. My DD and I are so much alike it hurts. But I get her, so I treat her the way I want to be treated. It works for us.
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#4 of 8 Old 02-12-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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I agree that a concrete example or two would probably get you more "usable" advise.

But, in general, unless its a complete safety issue, I generally let both of my kids make the choice and deal with the consequences. Even with things that lots of people cringe at because of potential safety issues. There are only a couple of really major "no choice" items in our home -- carseat/seat belt, adult supervision while in the pool, that sort of thing. Other than that, I will remind a child once about why something might be a bad idea. Then they go from there. However, I do very little to mitigate the natural consequences of things -- didn't do your homework? Guess you are going to loose recess and team points. Didn't get your jacket when I suggested it? Guess you are going to be cold during recess. Ran through the house and smashed into the open closet door? Hm... here's an ice pack.

My DS, 8, is also very easily distracted. Rather than nag on specific things, I will give him directions and then watch. If he gets distracted, I will say something like "DS, you've gotten distracted." Neutral information, but enough for him to remember that he is supposed to be doing something other than playing with Legos -- like pulling up the pants that are half way on and half way down! Since I know he gets distracted and there are times I can't just wait it out, I do check in on him frequently and gently keep him on track. I've tried to teach him to do what he needs to do first, before he does anything else, to minimize the times he does something other than what he needs to be doing. Minimizing distractions when its important for him to focus helps too -- for example, he mostly still gets dressed in our room so he doesn't get distracted by toys in the morning because the morning routine has to go smoothly for everyone to get to work. A really regular routine for mornings and evenings helps keep things on track as well.

Since he is also very active, we go out of our way to ensure lots of physical energy-burning play and activities. He goes to a school with daily sports, he plays basebal and takes gymnatics, and if there aren't any programmed activities after school he generally gets an hour or two at the park. It helps a lot that he gets that much exercise.

Don't know if any of that helps, but its some of the strategy I've taken with a high energy, high distractable kid!
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#5 of 8 Old 02-13-2008, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
Can you give some specific examples of misbehavior? What are some commong "bad choices" that she makes on a regular basis?

I think it might help me to be constructive if I had some concrete examples.
Irritating/tormenting the cat (the cat sees her and runs, she cries because she wants the cat to be her best friend. Yet, she can't /won't apply any lessons learned).

Not listening. Continuing to do things even though she's been told 3, 4, 5, 600 times not to do it. What it really comes down to is this. Not listening. Not being able to stay at the table and eat breakfast in the morning, or lunch or dinner etc.

The reason I give to her about why she absolutely *must* listen is safety. Suppose she's about to step in front of a bus, I need to know that if I yell "Claire!" that she will stop when she hears me call.

Right now that is what I am trying to work with most. That when she hears me call her name, her response should be stop what she's doing and answer me to find out why I've called her. I mean, we live in the tropics and there are all sorts of safety issues including poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, etc.

But, she doesn't so it escalates into Claire. Claire. Claire. Claire.Claire! Claire!Claire!!
"what?" I can't always get up and go over to where she is and interrupt what she's doing because of the baby. I just need her to answer me, and at least make an effort to remember the rules.

If it were once or twice a day it would be different, but this has devolved into her constantly being into something she's not supposed to be into, and why I feel like I'm constantly riding her.

I mean, what do I do here? Put up a chart a la Super Nanny and give her stickers when she remembers a rule and chooses a desirable over an undesirable behavior? Accentuate the positive.

Ideally I would like to have more time for fun with her. But, DH is away most of the week because we are in full coffee harvest, I have 5.5 month old DS, translation work, and the housework.

thanks for your suggestions!
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#6 of 8 Old 02-13-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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The reason I give to her about why she absolutely *must* listen is safety. Suppose she's about to step in front of a bus, I need to know that if I yell "Claire!" that she will stop when she hears me call.
In this sort of situation, I wouldn't actually use her name (or at least only her name), for exactly the reason you gave -- they learn to tune us out. Teach her to play "Red light / Green light" and then yell "RED LIGHT" when you need her to stop. Or use "stop" or "freeze" and then only use it when you absolutely need her to do sol. We use "FREEZE" here. When they were little (a bit under 2, I think), I would say "DS, FREEZE" and then literally hold her still. She thought it was a great game. But both kids will completely lock into a freeze when I yell it. I don't do so unless I really need them to do it. But it is very, very comforting to know that they will absolutely obey that one single command. Given that your child is a bit older, you might have better luck with "Red light", especially if she is in school and this is a game they already play.
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#7 of 8 Old 02-13-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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I have a very active, distracted five year old who does not listen and does not respond to her name. When she's about to run into traffic, I don't yell her name. I yell "DANGER!" and she stops cold. She had to be taught to do this after once she actually did run out into a busy street. We had "danger" drills for weeks after that. I don't use the word "danger" unless there really is danger, and she knows it, and she listens to that. She won't listen to her name, though, or requests like "go get dressed now, it's almost time for school." I share your frustration!
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#8 of 8 Old 02-13-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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"I'm just a bad girl!" or "I'm a loser!" (don't know where she heard that!), etc. I quickly tell her that she is not bad, she just mad a bad choice.
I'm wondering whether she doesn't actually know the difference between a bad choice vs *her* being bad. It probably all means the same thing to her. I personally don't label any of the kids behaviour like this, coz even I would have trouble separating the difference if someone said that to me kwim? I just imagine I'd still feel terrible if my boss said to me "you made a bad choice" and still feel bad anyway.

I also use "stop" if I want the kids to adhere to safety rules - and it's only ever said if we're out and about and they genuinely *are* in danger.

You say that you are saying "claire no", "claire don't" - these types of things can also be very confusing for children. How about rephrasing as "pens draw on paper at the table" or "please walk inside". Rather than see those things (or whatever the issues are that you're having) as rules - how about just keep it all work in progress and stick to gentle directive reminders. Sometimes just stopping and letting them talk back, you find out that they were actually trying to do something else and it's a way of connecting and helping them do what they need to do - and it's not about non-compliance at all if that makes sense? I've sometimes stopped myself from telling ds off from doing something to only let him talk to me and find out he had a burst of creativity and we were able to channel him in that direction instead - that's where the fun lies here - when the kids are able to self-direct themselves and for me to just tweak things as required to meet my own needs.

As far as eating food at the table - we're pretty lax there and the kids can come or go, but generally if they get down they're done. Breakfast usually takes a while and we just go with it - so no advice there.

HTH

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