Friday, June 15, 2007

Calgon......Take me away!!

Jennica has been giving us a "run for our money" lately. She is SO strong-willed and far too good at figuring out new ways to manipulate the adults in her life. Fortunately, Mike and I make a point of being absolutely consistent with discipline, and our Day Care also works with us, so behavior expectations are the same wherever she is and whoever is "in charge" at that moment. I shudder to think of what a monster she would be if she could play us all off of each other.

Even with great communication between all of us, she's still a busy little handful. Mike and I have stepped up our expectations at home and we're making sure that we're consistent on all the little things that make a huge difference--such as deciding how many times we ask her to do something before she is disciplined, etc. It is so easy to fall into the trap of asking them 10 times and then just doing it yourself, and pretty soon you've got a kindergartener that won't do so much as take their own coat to their room. We ALL know a few of those kids...

Life at the Day Care is a different story. She is driving them insane!!! We absolutely love our day care--the staff is fantastic, the activities are excellent, the cleanliness is superb, and their discipline is absolutely fair and consistent. I've seen it in action and have been nothing but impressed. However, Jennica has "got their number" for some reason.

The root of the problem is that she won't LISTEN. If you are saying something to her that she doesn't want to hear, its like you've flipped a switch to "off". You can even hold her little face in your hands, make her look you in the eye and repeat it, and she will continue to ignore you. You would honestly think that the child has a serious hearing issue, but if you whisper in the quietest voice, "Let's go outside...", the girl is grabbing her shoes and coat and she's ready to roll. It is SO annoying......

So.....Mike and I sat down the other night after she went to bed and brainstormed some solutions. We're intelligent people--we should be able to outsmart a 3-year-old. Right?

So yesterday, the Day Care started something new with her, which we will also be doing at home, in keeping with the consistency theory. We're going to add a reward system on top of the punishment system. Not rocket science--simply reward the good behavior as well as punish the bad behavior. Obviously, the reward needs to be something she looks forward to, but not something monetary, or food-related, which sends the wrong message. So......we decide to try stickers. Yesterday morning went well. Yesterday afternoon was a complete and total disaster. We're trying it again today.

In the meantime, we are continuing to verbally communicate positive and negative responses to her actions. I thought that I would help her out this morning by taking a moment alone to briefly go over the expectations again. When I pulled up to the Day Care this morning, I let Tiersten out and sent her into the building. Looking at Jennica still strapped in her carseat (a captive audience, literally), I said to her in an upbeat tone, "You're going to have a good day, aren't you?"
Jennica: "Yeah!" (excitedly)
Me: "Are you going to listen to Jodi today?"
Jennica: "Yes Sir!" (Not sure where they got it, but the girls have been answering that way for a week or so.)
Me: "How about Amber? Are you going to listen to Amber and do what she tells you to?"
Jennica: "Yes Sir!"
Me: "And Sheila, too?"
Jennica: "Yep!"
Me: "So what are you going to do when Jodi asks you to pick up a toy?"
Jennica: "Go to time out!!!!"
That wasn't the response I was looking for. Me: "No.........You're going to pick up the toy and put it away, aren't you?"
Jennica: "Uh huh." Getting serious wiggles in the carseat now.
Me: "Jennica, you need to listen and follow directions. You'll get a sticker if you listen."
Jennica: "Okay!" I mentioned stickers. She's back on board.......sort of.
Me: "No hitting, no biting, and follow directions."
Jennica: "If they hit me first?" I shouldn't have gone there.
Me: "No.......even if they hit you first you don't hit back. You tell Jodi."
Jennica: "Okay." Wiggling again.
Me: "So what are you going to do when Amber tells you to put your shoes away?"
Jennica: "Go to time out!!!"

I give up. We'll see how the day goes. Anyone know a good psychologist? Not for Jennica...for me. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

aw my name is Jennica, and I have yet to meet ANYONE with that name.

Maybe you should have a chart where she can put her stickers, and if she gets enough stickers throughout the week, she will get another reward? I don't really know.. it's so hard to look into their little faces and be mean. :(