Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tricks of the Trade

Lately, I've been trying to find a better way to discipline my children and get them to do things, like pick up their toys.  A way that doesn't involve me yelling, crying and opening a bottle of wine at four in the afternoon.  Something that makes me less of a "mean mommy".  Yesterday, I thought I had found a that way.  I think it may have been something I tried before, but the problem with all these "tricks" is they only last for so long.  Some last a shorter time than others.

After the girls had dinner last night, I decided we were going to take a shower.  When we walked into my bedroom, I remembered the mess the girls had made in there earlier that day when I tripped over a baby stroller.  Instead of my usual, "GIRLS!  Clean up your toys right now!" rant I went for a more sunshiny positive approach.

"Oh look at all the baby strollers back here," I started.  "I sure am happy that Sonya is putting her stroller away right now.  Oh and Lana is doing such a good job getting her baby crib back to her room!  What good girls I have."

Now keep in mind, while I'm saying this they are running around my room screaming.   Sonya is the first to realize what I'm saying and immediately runs over to her baby stroller and starts to push it back to her room.  The other two, see her doing this, hear what I'm saying and go over to their own toys and start to carry them back to their bedroom.  I continue to compliment all of them on a what a great job they are doing, until every last toy is carried out of my bedroom. 

 It worked!  I couldn't believe it f'ing worked!  Then I used it again to get them into and out of the shower.  Saying what a great job they were doing, even if they weren't doing it yet.  Once they heard me, they would do whatever it was I was praising them for.  

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for abandoning my threatening, frustrated ways, and finding something more positive and fun that the girls responded to.  I WAS feeling proud.

There were just a few more things to clean up in their rooms, so I decided to try it again.  The three of them were on the floor of Sonya's room,  playing with some plastic Easter Eggs.  I'm pretty sure Sonya was trying to hustle the other two with the shell game.  

"Oh girls!  I love the way you are cleaning up your rooms and putting away your toys right now!  Great job."


Maybe they didn't hear me.  "Wow you guys are doing such a nice job cleaning tonight.  It makes me so happy. Thank you!"

They were still playing the game, and ignoring me.  Then Sonya said, without looking up, in a matching condescending tone to mine, 

"Oh Mommy, you are soooo welcome!"


Well, I guess THAT trick isn't going to work anymore.

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