Friday, December 16, 2011

Still Searching for that Magical Fix All . . .

You may remember when I talked about the whining problem we have at our house and how I was hoping to find something to fix it.  It's not that I have horrible children.  They are genuinely good kids and usually know how to behave but the CONSTANT whining and fighting is KILLING me!!!

I know they are cute:














but I still wanted some help getting them in shape a bit.

During my search, I stumbled upon the book:

Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman (click on the link for the GoodReads page with some review)

and have to say that I've already found the first chapter (titled: Monday) inspirational . . . as well as practical and kind of common sense.  Although I already knew a lot of the things I read in the book (I haven't started Tuesday, yet) I feel like I need a little bit of support putting some of the things into practice.  It's a lot easier to say you are not going to give in than it is to really stand your ground and NOT give the wailing 4 year old "just one piece of candy" before dinner. . . especially, when you have her 2, 2 year old, brothers wailing behind her.

However, Dr. Leman makes a point that I already know . . . if I'm consistent and stand my ground then I will only have to fight a few battles rather than battle with them my whole life.  They will know that I mean business.  

I also love that he talks about how it isn't REALLY our job to make our children happy ALL the time.  It is actually okay for them to be upset, disappointed, angry or even a little bit sad.  I hate to see my children that way, but I also know that life isn't going to always be there to protect and provide for them like Jerry and I do. That doesn't mean I'm going to make them start paying rent right now or make their own dinners but it does mean that they will be responsible for consequences of their actions.  (It also means there will be a lot of crying, fighting and screaming while we try to revamp our parenting style and put some of this into play. . . . good thing aspirin was on sale at GE a few weeks ago and I stocked up!)

So, today's little experiment ended up being with Danika.  Here's how it went...

Me:  Danika, can you please get me 2 diapers so that I can change your brothers and get them down for their nap?

Danika:  Can't you get them yourself?  You always ask me to do everything.

Me:  So, you are telling me that you won't get the diapers for me and that you don't want to help me anymore?  How would you feel if I didn't help you anymore?

Danika:  You just want me to get the diapers.  Why don't you just go get them?

Me:  Okay, but then the next time you ask for my help I am going to tell you no.

Danika: Fine.

So, I went and got the diapers and changed the boys.  I put them down for their nap and went into the kitchen for a drink.  Danika followed me with the remote control.

Danika:  I want to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Me:  Go ahead. (as I mosey on up to my laptop and pull out my chair)

Danika:  I need you to turn it on for me.

Me:  Can't you do it yourself?

Danika:  No.

Me:  Hmm...maybe you should have thought of that before you said you couldn't help me with the diapers.  Sorry.

What followed was kind of cool.  Danika looked shocked and kind of hurt (okay, I'm not saying that seeing my daughter hurt was fun).  Then, she started to cry a little . . . but it wasn't the big sobs that she usually throws at me when she wants something and doesn't get her way.  This time, it was kind of like a "I know I screwed up" whimper.  She went into the living room and found something else to do and Rudolph still isn't on.

Do I think I won that one?  Not necessarily...we will have to see what happens.  It will depend on if she will help me the next time I need something or not.  I will say that it felt good to set a consequence and follow through with it, though.  It was so immediate that I know she understood.

I'll keep you posted and am hoping to read Tuesday later tonight!  :)