Need help with Rules and Consequences

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2005
Need help with Rules and Consequences
Tue, 09-30-2008 - 3:17pm

We're really struggling with our DD right now. I just had a baby 2 weeks ago so I know there is a bit of an adjustment for her with that but this has been going on for a while.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2008
Wed, 10-01-2008 - 2:45pm

I would like to start with the idea of the naughty anything. Labeling children is more detrimental than parents and others realize. You do not want your daughter to ever feel that she is a naughty (bad) person. She has a lot going on right now and she is not making good choices now but she is not naughty. As for consequences, they should fit the action. If she is hitting than she is not being safe and needs to be separated from the family for a bit. If she does not clean up her dolls than she cannot play with her dolls that afternoon. You seem to have a lot on your plate right now. I am a Parent Coach and would love to take the time to discuss some of the things that you are going through right now. I offer a complementary 30 minute session for parents who want to see what coaching is and how it feels but being that you are a fellow ivillage member I would like to offer you two complementary sessions. You can regain your happy house.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2008
Sat, 10-04-2008 - 12:58pm

First thing I'd do is remove the TV from her room. You say she's addicted, maybe she needs screen time limiting.

For this I give one warning. "In this house we don't speak to people this way." After that, she would go to a time out place until she can reset. No talking, arguing or interaction other than to lead her to where you want her to go.

<No climbing on the coffee table or jumping on the couch (she always does this!)
No Yelling>>
Is she very active? Does she need lots more time to be outside where she can run and jump and shout? Is there anywhere in your house where she would be able to do these things? I was just thinking it might help if there was an appropriate area to redirect her to.

<No Begging (ask once, if the answer is no then that’s the end of it)>>

Try your hardest to disengage and ignore this behavior. You'll need to be really quick to catch her when she stops so you can praise her correct use of voice.

Timers can make it a fun race. Can you beat the clock putting x away. If she does maybe a sticker or smiley face on paper as a ticket. Something to reward her hard work. At least until it becomes routine.

Get DH/SO on side with the strategies you decide on and then hold a fun family meeting. Put out some snacks etc and make it something she can participate in. Talk about things you like seeing her do and guide her to come out with the things you're not so happy with. Like ask what behaviors make mommy and daddy not very happy etc. She'll probably come up with your list for you. This will help her to own her behaviors. KWIM? Then explain to her that you will be implementing x consequence for y behavior. She will probably up the ante big time to see how serious you are so you need to be in a place where you are mentally resolved to see it through.

Another thing that someone suggested to me is start the day with 10 pennies in 1 pocket. Everytime you praise her(be very specific: eg "I really like the way you put your toys away. What a helpful girl you are." I think this is called labeled specific praise)transfer 1 to the other pocket. Aim to praise her at least those 10 times a day.

I'd also invite you to the spirited/high needs children board. Even if she's not either of those the ladies there are amazing at giving advice and may have other ideas for you.

I've written a novel LOL. Hope some of this helps.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 10-13-2008 - 2:59pm

I use the word choices a lot. You are making poor choices. You are making good choices. Think about what you are doing and make sure you make the right choice. You know that you get put in time out if you hit so you made the choice to go to time out when you hit your brother.

I like to praise good behavior when I see it. I don't really care if they made the choice to stop doing something only because I'm now there, I will tell them "that was a good choice to stop."

Because you are in a condo does she get out every day to run around, climb, jump? I know it has to be hard with a baby too. But if she has places where she can do that stuff she will not do it as much in the house.

My mom use to do this thing she'd call a do over. When you jumped off the bed, she'd make you get back on and get off the right way. You might still get a punishment but you would have connected the fact that you were in trouble for jumping off the bed better than if she would have just yelled and punished you. Because she made you do it over the right way it was very hard to say I don't know why you put me in time out (or spanked me).

When my older son was being difficult about computer game time, I took it away completely during the week and started setting a timer on the weekends. He felt like he was entitled to it and would pout and throw a fit if he didn't get to play. It didn't matter that he'd had lots of homework that day and it was time for his shower and bed, he felt he should have been able to play. He'd get rude and obnoxious and just nasty to everyone. If he gets too much I see it coming back.

How are you telling her things? Are you getting down on her level to tell her about things? Are you telling her things while she is doing something else? If you want her to know something is important you need to stop what you are doing, get her to stop and then tell her, get her to tell you back. The other thing I found is that I need to be respectful of what the kids are doing. If they are end of a cartoon, they should be able to finish it rather than having to stop and go wash up for dinner right then. Letting them say "can I finish watching this show?" means I'm not mad at them because it is taking a while and they are not mad because they had to miss the end of their show. They are more likely to listen when I tell them they can't because we are running late and we need to go now. They know I would give them that time if I could so even though they don't like it they accept it.

As far as cleaning up after themselves, I have much better luck if I'm specific about what I want picked up. Put away the games works better than clean up the mess you made in the living room when you were playing. I'd like your clothes in the laundry basket and the legos back in their place gets results while pick up the stuff off your floor gets a "is this clean enough?"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2005
Wed, 10-15-2008 - 11:46am
thank you for the advice everyone! I've started making up a list of things she does with some notes on how I should react under each item, based on the advice I've been given here and on another board I posted on. I've already noticed a small improvement just by trying a more "positive parenting" approach.

Mila and Kian Siggy


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2007
Wed, 10-15-2008 - 3:07pm
I'm glad you are thinking about positive parenting.
The first thing I noticed on your list of rules was a lot of no, which is a lot of things the child can't do. I'm a foster parent so my demographic is a little different, although still a 4-year-old, and what we focused on in training is turning no rules into positive rules or no phrases into positive phrases. It is much easier for a child to follow a rule when it is something she can do vs. something she can't do.
For example, instead of "No jumping on the furniture" you change it to "Sit on the furniture nicely" and demonstrate what you want.
Sometimes it is less about punishing bad behavior and more about teaching the correct behavior.
It's actually a very hard habit to get into because i think we think in no's. For example, with my former foster who was 18 months, instead of telling him not to throw his food on the floor, when it looked like he was going to I would say, "In your mouth or on your plate please." Since the floor wasn't one of the options I gave him he stopped throwing on the floor.
It takes practice and sometimes when I'm in the middle of just being frustrated I forget to use my positive language, but I'm working on it and I promise it is so worth it!