Monday, November 1, 2010

Remove the offender

We spent most of our weekend locked in a battle of wills over picking up.

Girly has reached the age where she is certainly capable of picking up her toys. She used to do it with pleasure, but as 2 approaches, she uses it as a stall tactic or to annoy her mother. She spent a lot of time in the time-out corner, then finally asked to spend time there. She willfully pushed her toys or magnets or noodles into a pile, as if she was going to pick them up, then kicked them all over the place. Exasperating, FOR SURE, and did not bring out the best in me.

I am trying to work hard on curtailing the whining - by ignoring her - but there are only so many things I can ignore and only so many threats I can issue. (I try very hard to 'threaten' with only the things I am willing to follow-through on. So, "if you ever want to eat again you better pick up!" is not a very good threat.)

I finally realized the problem - I need to remove the offending item. There are certain items in our house that are guaranteed triggers of bad behavior (like alcohol for alcoholics and drugs for crackheads - she is addicted to mess). She used to love to pour noodles from bowl to bowl - now they are shrapnel in our kitchen. She loved to play with magnets on the refrigerator - I saved all the sports schedules that came in the mail - and now she yields them as swords. Little General Custer and I had our Last Stand over the linoleum floor many a time this weekend.

No more.

You won't pick up your noodles after countless time-outs and threats? Fine. I'll sweep them up and throw them away.

You won't pick up your magnets without collapsing to the floor in melodramatic fashion? Fine. I'll throw them away.

It won't work for everything ... the Love and Logic folks say not to threaten to throw away toys unless you are really willing to throw them away forever ... but it will help limit the battles, I think.

Or, if I'm really honest with myself, the battle will just move to another item. Items.

Sigh ...


Bets said...

I realize after reading here that I do a lot of Love & Logic things in my classroom that I don't do on purpose.

If they leave their classroom money out & it falls on the floor ... it becomes MY classroom money.

If they lose school supplies because their desk is messy ... they go in the trash (if completely germy & gross) or go in the community supply buckets.

If they drop, misplace or lose their ________ (fill in the blank here with Silly Bandz, Japanese erasers, jewelry, toys, etc.) ... then they become mine or go in the trash.

They learn pretty quickly to keep track of their stuff!

liz said...

My whining tactic has been (with cue from Love & Logic) "my ears must be broken - I see you lips moving but can't hear anything"...or..."there must be a bug in my ear - I can't understand you". Wildly effective. Until my kids declare, "your ears aren't broken, you are just pretending". Didn't trick them for long!