My daughter, Honey bunny, is 8 yrs old. Recently, I had a bit of an “experience” with her. Let us just say that she’s been speaking to me in a manner that I don’t care for, oh F**K it, she’s been talking back to me like there ain’t no tomorrow. All consequences be DAMNED. She don’t give a shit. Well, to put it mildly, I had had ENOUGH of that. So I tried with all my being to keep my patience and I managed to refrain from slapping her silly and sending her to her room without dinner (and maybe even breakfast the next day). I told her that her behavior was completely unacceptable ~how was that for acting like an adult?~ and that she was going to be the one to decide what her punishment should be for that kind of behavior. FYI, I have a bachelors degree in Psychology which means that I don’t know SQUAT about how to raise a child and I’m just winging it most days but I think I know it all.
So! She decided that I should take her Nintendo DS away for a week. I agreed that this was a fair punishment considering she is as addicted to her Nintendo as I am my iPhone. Almost immediately after agreeing to the terms, she starts backing out. “But, but, but Mom, I don’t think it should be a week, I really meant to say three days!!” she’s pleading. “Oh, no, we agreed. I think you were right. A week is perfect punishment since the WHOLE point of a punishment is that you are unhappy and therefore won’t commit the crime act or speak in that manner again.”
She spent everyday for the next three days begging ~either myself or the husband~ to give her the Nintendo back. Everytime we went anywhere in the car she whined about wishing she had her Nintendo back, she whined about being bored ALL THE TIME, she found every opportunity to complain as loudly as she thought she could (without going so far as to incur the wrath of her father) about her Nintendo being gone.
All right, now you know the history. Here is what happened over the weekend which was day 4 & 5 of the week without Nintendo. Better known as HELL WEEK.
Her: Mom, I think that we should re-negotiate the time for my Nintendo being taken away. How would you like it if someone took away your iPhone?
Me: Well, I would be pretty unhappy so I wouldn’t do whatever it was that got me in trouble ever again. And I respect your request. I think that after this week is up, we will re-negotiate the time for any future issues.
Her: OK, Mommy. But can I please, please, please show it to Nana?! She hasn’t seen it yet. I’ll just show it to her, that’s all I promise!
Me: Sure, honey, you can show it to Nana. Then it has to be put away.
Her: I will!
Me: Well, that went better than I expected.
That night we had friends over for our monthly texas hold’em tourney. I was discussing the particulars of HELL WEEK with several people & one of the guys (yeah, a guy) suggested that I come up with a couple things that she could do to earn time back & maybe get her Nintendo back early. Again, as stated in the beginning, of this boringly long post, that I have a degree in psychology so I knew the point he was getting at… Reward works better than Punishment. Well, I decided ~while walking 8 miles on Sunday morning, cause I had plenty of free time to think without distraction~ that maybe I’d have her to a couple tasks to complete in order to earn the Nintendo back a day early. Hey, it’s better than nothing, right?
When I got home from the walk I proposed my plan to Honey bunny and after much discussion, she agreed to complete the tasks. And surprisingly, when it came time to do those tasks she did them without complaint or prompting! AMAZING.
Finally! I gave her the Nintendo back on Monday, as promised, and the thing has barely left her hands since. To this point, it’s only Wednesday mind you, she has not talked back to me about anything I’ve asked her to do. We shall see how long it lasts….
Thanks for listening (or reading, if you must be technical),