I am delighted that Mr. Q and I have figured out Ramona. It has made our family life so much more peaceful over the past few months.
She will respond beautifully to a direction/instruction that she doesn't mind doing. Putting on shoes or a jacket to go outside ? Wiping down the table ? Carrying Mommy's water to the car ? No problem. She will even respond appropriately to an instruction that she doesn't necessarily like about 70% of the time.
But it's a few things and the other 30% that are a challenge. Just like you are never supposed to stare a rabid dog in the eyes (or is it a bear ?) we rarely give Ramona a direct order for something she is not fond of if she is feeling a little ornery. For example, "Ramona, go brush your teeth" may result in the exact opposite and may result in tears, running around naked, or hiding under the bed in the way back corner. Instead, we say brightly "I saw some money on the floor in the bathroom earlier today, I wonder if it is still there." After she runs to the bathroom to look, we casually put the toothbrush in her hand and chat about finding money in funny places and it works like a charm.
I even enlist Beezus to help. For the most part, we try to let Ramona go to the bathroom when she feels the urge. But there are times when I KNOW she has to go and she just won't stop what she is doing. So, I whisper to Beezus and she says in a sing-song voice "I have to go to the potty. Here I go into the bathroom." Ramona will jump up and run in there to beat Beezus. I follow along, grab her favorite book, and say "Oh, look what I found. Your book, Ramona. I'll read it to you while you are sitting there."
About 40% of the time she will pick up her belongings after a brief prompt/instruction; another 40% I will work right along side her; and then there is the other 20 %. In those cases I whisper to her "I wonder if you or Esther will be able to pick up and put away 5 things and be finished first ? I'll help you." (I know, I know I should be ashamed).
For the most part, I believe that there is a wide range of acceptable parenting behaviors. Of course, mine work best for my family, and yours work for yours. But no matter how well these techniques work with Ramona, I worry about them. I want her to be able to respond to an instruction even if she doesn't want to. Conceding to these "tricks" definitely accomplish the goal (brushing teeth) and they make whatever transition it is run smoother. But I'm not sure they develop character. Or is it okay to only develop character some of the time and not all of the time ?
Do you have any parenting practices that totally work for your family now but probably aren't character developing or good options for the long term ?
5 weeks ago