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The Reign of Terror has begun.

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Yesterday I was reminded of the kind of parent I USED to be — back when I had one child and I was determined to do everything right.  Back when I wasn’t tired of doing this parenting thing.  Back when I had energy and perseverance and pride in my children’s behavior.  Maybe a little bit of pride isn’t such a bad thing.

You see, I used to be horrified when a child looked at his mother and said “No” with a defiance that only a 3-year-old can deliver.  I used to look at MY child with horror when he attempted such a feat.  And let me assure you, he only attempted it once.  He was my first.

But somehow, over the course of having three kids, I have become somewhat desensitized to disrespect and defiance.  That is, until yesterday when I saw the veiled horror on my friend’s face when my 3-year-old acted out and I was too tired to deal with her.

My 3-year-old is a pistol, but her spirit isn’t a bad thing; it just needs to be channeled in the right direction.  Unfortuantely I haven’t been doing a very good job of that lately because I’m lazy and tired, but it’s time to snap out of it while there’s still time. I know if I don’t nip this in the bud, I am setting myself up for a loooooong road with this stubborn, willful child, so this week I’m instituting a reign of terror — a zero-tolerance policy, if you will.

I have sat her down and explained my expectations and the consequences.  She is a smart kid.  She knows what I’m talking about, and she knows she’s been getting away with disrespect and defiance too often.  Inconsistent parenting is probably worse than purely permissive parenting, and I have been guilty of this inconsistency for far too long.  My other two children never acted like this, and I’m pretty sure it has more to do with ME than with HER.

Not only am I making a promise to myself (and her) that I will begin to implement consequences consistently, I am also making a commitment to give her more attention so that she doesn’t feel the need to act out for that reason.  I’m pretty sure that if I start responding to her needs in a more timely manner AND implementing discipline consistently, we will get over this hump quickly.  Here’s hoping anyway.

Let the games begin.

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21 thoughts on “The Reign of Terror has begun.

  1. Good luck! You just inspired me to get on the stick with my just-turned-four year old. He gets away with so much more than his older brother did. I would’ve loved to have had many more children but you just outlined the primary reason I didn’t. I can’t imagine how tired and resigned I’d be by the time my fourth or fifth child rolled around if I’m like this with my second!

  2. Let the reign begin….I love it, and SO agree. My first 3 wouldn’t think of not responding right away with a good attitude (fairly good) :), and then my fourth came…and I was tired, and just wanted to instruct from the coach or computer. Well, we had to do the same thing – and it makes all the difference. And now we have five. 🙂
    See you at Blissdom!

  3. My sympathies!! I literally JUST put an almost 4 yr old boy in the corner for hitting his sister and screaming at me. It’s so much easier to consistently discipline when you aren’t tired! It’s something I’m also trying to work on- both the tired and the discipline.

  4. Oh my goodness, we are living parallel lives! Except I only have two kids and they are 5 and 7 going on 16 and 18. My oldest (son) thinks that because he’s older he can tell my youngest (daughter) what to do and my daughter is extremely willful and will not tolerate it. Which in turn makes my son all kinds of frustrated and the next thing I know, I’m somehow watching the WWE Smackdown take place in my living room thinking I probably should have jumped in at some point to put an end to it. However, being that I’m constantly tired from cleaning up the house in which they continually destroy, I don’t have the energy to do more than say “Stop now or no more Wii”. That, sadly, usually does the trick. But, I too, decided yesterday that enough was enough and I decided that “Mama is throwin’ the hammer down!” I don’t know exactly what that phrase means but neither did they so they were both intrigued and possibly frightened which in turn made them complacent. They were told what I wanted them to do and they did it! Now I just have to stick with it I guess and hope that we’ll have enough money for the therapy bills when they’re older!!!

  5. Good Luck! Man its tough to be consistent.. My son gives a good glass eyed look.. where I have a double take of whether or not he understood what I said or not 😛

  6. Good Luck! I admit, sometimes I let bad behavior slide, but disrespect puts me over the edge, and my kids know it! But I totally understand where you are coming from…I often don’t have the energy to deal with the whining, and then I pay for it later! Hope your week goes well!

  7. Good luck! I am in the same position right now. I’ve let things slide while I’ve been pregnant with #3 because half the time I’m too exhausted to deal with it properly, but you’ve just inspired me to get better about it before #3 is actually here and the craziness really begins.

    Thanks!

  8. It must be *that* time of the month or year or whatever! I’m dealing with that with my 9-year-old *only* child. Yep, I’ve been lazy too! Ack! I got tired of her whining and got in her face last week. Totally freaked her out for me to stand up for it — but this week has been much better. Definitely get a handle on it now before she gets much older!!

    Let’s fight the fight together — go get ’em girl!

  9. OMG, I could have written that post, except reign of terror really begins next week beacause we are leaving town for 5 days on Wed. and we all know starting something new before something big never works…you have to be able to be consistent for at least 3 weeks for it to work…

    I started the night time reign of terror Saturday night, No more Mrs. Nice Gal…one strike and your out – It is holding strong so far, kids need our direction wheather we have the time or energy to give it is the question.

    Please keep me posted. Any tips you have for my week next week are appreciated too…

    The biggest challenges with my 3 year old spirited child are:
    1. Asking over and over when I say NO
    2. Everything is on her time, she cleans up when she wants to not when it is necessary
    3. GRUNTING when she doesn’t get her way
    4. Lately she is very needy, entitled…wants to “get” something just because someone else does –

  10. I find that I’m having to have the zero tolerance with my 14 year old, then switching gears to the 4 year old. It’s right wearing on the nerves some times.

  11. Been there, still there. It’s a never ending battle of wills with my children. Surprisingly my 3 y.o. is the one I don’t have to discipline…it’s the 2 older ones. You’d think they’d know better by now. I do get glimpses that things are getting through. Stay strong and consistent with your discipline. Good luck.

  12. Sounds like we live with the same three year old girl! I have one that sounds identical to yours. She is a spitfire and I cannot tame her. I need to be more consistent as well, problem is I have a 10 month old and while attending to him she gets away with a lot!

  13. HA. I, too, could have written that about my own 3rd child. Even Andy has been commenting about her. But, I think you’re right — more about ME than about HER.

  14. I was really comforted to read this. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels tired. Lazy. Worn out. I was just thinking the other day that I haven’t been the parent I “used to be” when I only had one or two children. I do need to snap out of it. Because I have a strong-willed one over here, too, and if I don’t become more consistent, I’m going to have bigger problems in the future.

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