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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My almost 7 year old tells me NO for just about every request I make of her. This is a normal day.

Me- Go brush your teeth, it's almost time for bed.

Me- Can you get your room cleaned up before dinner?

Me- Let's sit down and do homework!!
DD- Nope.

Uhm, what should I do?

This whole parenting thing just keeps getting harder and harder. It takes us a good hour to get her to brush her teeth which results in getting to bed late, it takes HOURS to get her to do her homework, and her room is a disaster zone most of the time. Time outs don't work with her. She would rather sit in time out than do any of the things we ask of her.

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Check out the Accountable Kids program

It is more deeply organized than your typical chore chart system. It has lots of layers and a lot of substance to it. I recommend implementing the family meeting as well. It has made a huge difference for our 5 year old. Then once we had a nice routine established with the Accountable Kids chore system and family meeting, we added The Virtues Project to act as a solid base for developing character.

Consistency with these 2 systems has made a big difference for us and eliminated most of the battles over chores. Accountable Kids is well designed to let parents stop nagging and let kids take accountability for their choices. Oh, we also started having a one hour session on Saturdays after dinner where everyone does a speed clean on the house so we can vacuum. It has become a family ritual and everyone feels good pitching in and seeing such immediate results.

Good luck. I know it is exhausting to always be battling.

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I hear you, mama! I thought nothing could be worse than colic and toddler temper tantrums, but the challenges just get harder, IMO!

I really like How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk by Faber and Mazlish. It really did help my parenting skills, and it is extremely easy and practical.

Go brush your teeth so we have time to read a story before bed. (Then, if she doesn't, or drags her feet, there is a logical consequence - no story before bed. Next night, bet she'll brush her teeth faster!)

If you can do X, X and X to tidy your room (very specific things, like putting away her clothes on the floor, picking up toys, putting away her shoes) before supper, then we can X after supper. (something fun, like a board game or going for a walk, etc. Again, gives her some incentive, and a logical consequence for you to use should she not cooperate)

Incentives, and logical consequences, seem to work much better for my kids than any kind of punishment. My eldest especially, we haven't found a punishment yet that will faze her, but she is easily motivated when I find the right button, y'know? And with her one key word is "helpful" - she will do just about anything if I say "It would be so helpful if you could...." and it works the opposite too, if I don't like what she is doing I say "That isn't helpful, please stop" it gets her to quit without a huge argument. My middle daughter is my slow as molasses child, and the best thing I have found is to actually do things with her - I feel like it slows me down and keeps me from getting stuff done, but it is less frustrating than telling her fourteen times while I do get something else done!
I do think that seven was easier than six, if that is any encouragement. And if you are interested in ages and stages, there is a great series, old but still helpful, called Your Six Year Old (and all other ages) by Ames which is awesome for realizing that it isn't a failure of parenting, it is just a stage and will pass! In fact, if you click that link, you see that she subtitles it "Loving and Defiant" which may sound like the caption for a picture of your daughter right now!


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this is the hard part.

its time to change your parenting.

you should look upon it as guidance.

take the lead from your dd.

your time of making commands is over. it is now time to make requests.

its all in how you words these.

instead of 'go brush your teeth, its time for bed.' i would say something like i see its nearly time for bed and i am getting concerned that you havent brushed your teeth. i am concerned that if you dont brush your teeth you will get unhealthy teeth and gums. and that will not be good.' i mean that IS the truth. you will be surprised at the reaction. my dd hates doing some stuff. when i explain i dont like doing them either but i do it for ----- reasons she goes and does them.

or maybe find the language of your dd. my dd has always enjoyed the why so if i give her the reason it helps her make the decision.

for instance we were fighting over homework a lot. i sat with her and told her look i really dont care whether you do your homework or not. and it IS true. i dont care if she does her homework or not. but the school expects her. they have a v. strict school policy. so if she doesnt do her homework she has to sit on the bench during recess and do her homework. i told her all this. the first week she didnt do her homework. i told the teacher what was going on. she enjoyed sitting on the bench the first few days. but then it got old. and she didnt like sitting on the bench. so we sat and had a conversation. i wouldnt bring up homework unless it was getting late. and boom. homework is no problem at all. i just remind her when its getting late if i need to.

by explaining our strategy to you, i am trying to show you if you connect with your child and find your common language - it wont be so hard on you.

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We LOVE the Virtues Project.
We started with it when our kids were really young though.

My dd's have gone through short stage sof this type of stuff and what I generally found helpful was making sure to phrase things as directives.

Rather than "Can you get your room cleaned up before dinner?"

"Please clean up your room now, dinner is nearly ready."

It's kind of tricky - this stuff is so subtle...
It helps me to remember to look at what's behind the behavior. IME, when my young kids were acting like they wanted to be in charge, they were really looking for sturdier boundaries. ( I think that actually being in charge would be terrifying for a young child despite how they are acting.)
It often helps just to check myself and make sure my expectations are very clear and that my energy is not wishy washy. My kids pick up on that type of stuff SO fast! It's hard to explain, but it's like they'd get nervous if they sensed any hesitancy in me and would push the boundaries a bit just to see where they were. Like they were trying to clarify the limits.

I might say
"Please clean up your room now, dinner is nearly ready." and walk with dd into her room just to clarify your expectation. You won't have to do it forever.

Another key thing I found was to remain as unemotional as possible. It's so tempting to match our children's climbing emotions until we overpower them, but IME that is usually disastrous. I try to remain calm and centered and very clear in my expectations.

This accomplishes two things, it leaves room for them to see their reactions are their own, and that there's room for them in your family - and it let's them see that their emotions are not going to sway you off balance.

I think it was Jean Liedlloff's book that claims how kids don't do what they're told as much as what they perceive is expected. I've found this to be pretty accurate.

When I am calm and clear I can convey my expectations and dc seem to pick right up on it. When I'm not, they pick up on that also. It's like they don't know what's expected so they act out in order to find out - like trying to right the ship or something - "who's in charge around here?", "what's expected of me?"

Even with my older dc - for all the squawking, I see them relax once they see the boundaries of a situation. I try to make room for their disappointment - let their reactions be their own rather than try to argue them out of it - it's okay that you didn't get your way and you're upset. It passes quickly and they are off to something else.
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