Monday, November 12, 2012

Fit Throwing Be Gone ... Part Four (the ultimatum)

Since it has been so long I will start this one off with the same introduction that I have the others. E and I were having a massive problem with the amounts of fits thrown ... I needed something .... I turned to the moms of facebook for advice ... I came out with four very solid ideas ... but I still needed to try them to see which one worked for my little four year old. So we started an experiment ... E has been told at the start of every week what is going to happen ... so it is not like the experiment is being done to her ... it is being done with her. So far we have had pretty good success! These past two weeks (whoops ... we lost track of time) we have been giving E an ultimatum ... either she stop throwing her fit or she goes and does something awful (I used scrubbing the floor).

What happened with E these past two weeks was something different ... She didn't throw very many fits ... but she didn't seem to click either. When E comes back to us from her moms house usually something clicks ... she is back with us ... back in the routine ... emotionally ... physically ... mentally ... she clicks and it is back to business as usual. I can't fully explain what it was ... I don't think I even fully understand ... but something didn't click ... there was a distance these past two weeks. This distance seemed to prohibit a lot of fits ... but it also kept her far from us. It was so odd ... there is no real way to describe it ... maybe I really am making the transition to being a mom and can just feel these things now (that is a weird thought). 

Regardless ... there were fits and we were able to continue our experiment! I will say ... this one worked very well! 

E is like your average four year old ... loves making messes ... but she is unlike the average four year old because she loves cleaning house. I was nervous as we started this one because I didn't know if there would be anything horrible enough to deter her from continuing to throw her fit. What I came to find out was that it didn't matter! If E didn't stop throwing her fit I gave her a rag to scrub the floor (it may sound bad ... but the amount of hard floor that we have in our apartment is super minimal ... I mean ... don't call child protective services on me or anything) ... what this did for her was turn her mood upside down ... she started singing songs and called herself Cinderella (after ... of course ... at least five minutes of crying). I cannot say if this will happen to all children ... E really likes to clean ... she tends to be as OCD as I am when it comes to house cleanliness.

 There was this one day though ... seriously ... it's like a nightmare as I look back on it ... E was having one of her rough days ... where everything is miserable ... yup ... one of those. What I remember from that day is the sink stayed filled with floor cleaner all day. Her fits would stop long enough for me to say okay you don't have to clean the floor ... but would start up not even ten minutes later. I should have had her just clean the floor ... but she would stop that fit ... it would be another one that picked up after that one was done. I only made her scrub the floor once that day ... and man ... it was dreadful ... seriously ... dreadful. This girl scrubbed for twenty minutes before her fit was over ... screaming at me ... I could have swore I heard a swear in there ... but I cant be sure ... so I didn't get upset ... but seriously ... I don't think that anything would have worked that day. 

All in all It was a successful two weeks ... I got my floor cleaned twice ... the other times fits were deterred. Is this for everyone ... I would say no. Some parents have difficulty following through with "threats" ... that is a must to have this work ... or else you will just end up with a bunch of empty threats and a screaming child.

What I learned this week:

  1. You shouldn't feel guilty for having your kiddo clean one of your chores ... lets be honest ... take that break ... if you have a child who is going to be more turd than child take it as a bonus that at least you get your floors cleaned out of it. 
  2. Follow through with your threats ... as I said above ... if you don't do this then the child will have learned nothing and nothing will have been accomplished ... child will still be throwing a fit and mom will still be miserable. 
  3. Choose what you want to used based on your kiddo ... E likes cleaning ... so I shouldn't really have chosen cleaning. However, by choosing something with cleaning it allowed for her to get out of her funk (the time that wasn't the nightmare time). By providing E with something that wasn't necessarily fun but that wasn't terrible to her she was able to make the choice herself. This created a sense of independence ... she consciously made the decision each time I told her she could either stop throwing a fit or scrub the floor. Apparently (I was reading something on pbs.com) this is very important to four year olds. They like having control over their own lives ... over things that they have power over. This form of dealing with Es fit throwing gave her more control.
Next week E and I are venturing on a fit/yes chart ... I think that this one is going to be awesome! E is super excited about it too ... she is ready to get a present ... I think that this will cause super success with this upcoming week!

Ok ... good luck parenting my friends!