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Parenting K-6 Kids/my four year old refuses to obey

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Steve wrote at 2011-12-20 20:02:01
Hi Jenny,



I hope you are making some progress with the "bedtime blues".  My wife and I discovered the Love and Logic parenting method a few years ago and it has changed our lives for the better. We have a child much like your daughter, but we've been able to understand and cope with it using the Love and Logic techniques.  Here are a few high level pointers that may help, along with a link to Jim Fay's "End the Bedtime Blues" article.



Love and Logic tips:

- Wise parents never try to control the uncontrollable.  You cannot force your child to sleep, eat, or use the bathroom.  This starts a power struggle that you will lose.  For example, you will not be able to enforce the statement “stay in bed until 7am”.  As detailed below, an alternative might be “I’m happy to [do something with, have fun with, serve a favorite breakfast with, etc] kids that stay in bed until 7am.”

- Set up a very repeatable routine for bedtime.  Keep times, steps, and the order of these steps consistent from day to day.  

- Give your daughter lots of choices, not just at bedtime but all day long.  Make sure both choices are acceptable to you, but offer them nonetheless.  Examples may be "do you want to use the bathroom upstairs or downstairs before bed" as opposed to "use the bathroom before bed". Or, "Do you want to get tucked in or do it yourself?" as opposed to "Get in bed in you want to be tucked in.”  This simple yet profound change in approach has made a world of difference in our house.  You'll be amazed at the almost instant change in response this approach elicits.  

- If it comes to handing out a consequence, always do it with empathy.  Ensure the consequence itself does the teaching, not your tone of voice or your words.

- Design an intervention.  Plan a very special day where you will take the family (your daughter, the two year old you spoke of, and anyone else if you have more!) to a special place that all would look forward to.  Maybe a trip to the toy store or a fun park.  Clearly state well in advance that "I am happy to take kids to the [fill in blank] if they've stayed in their room from bedtime until 7am".  Then just leave it at that, no more reminders.  You should expect your daughter to fail, and welcome it as a teachable moment. Plan for a baby sitter (ideally one she is not particularly fond of) to come over the next day.  When she leaves her room that night, if you catch her at that moment simply state "how sad, I was looking forward to going to the [blank] with you.”  Go back to bed.  In the morning, welcome the baby sitter, and embark on your extremely fun day without your daughter.  Make sure to use a lot of empathy and avoid the "I told you so" tone.  Let the consequence sink in.  You may need to do this a few times.  Other interventions could include having you spend the night at a hotel or friends house with a baby sitter at home.  For this you'd explain to your daughter that her night time excursions are keeping you up and preventing you from sleeping, and you can't have that.  Again, lots of empathy, but the goal is to help her understand how her decisions will impact her own life (in this case she loses the comfort of having her mom at her beck and call).  



Well again I hope you are making progress.  But if not, do consider the Love and Logic approach briefly outlined above.  Here's a link to the free paper that Jim Fay from the Love and Logic institute put out in 2001; it may help as well.



http://www.loveandlogic.com/pdfs/601bedtimeblues.pdf




Anne wrote at 2013-02-11 22:24:48
HI Jenny

With your daughter at preschool and your work schedule is it possible that she really just wants your attention so that even negative attention to her is something she will take? I'm wondering and I know it's really hard to do, but is there any way you can carve out more time to spend just with her? And keep that up for awhile. Stop dispel inning her when she gets out of bed, just tell her once its time for bed and then after that quietly walk her back to bed without talking?  Also I used a book called the sleep easy solution that was helpful. I hope this helps.


Anne wrote at 2013-02-11 22:25:04
HI Jenny

With your daughter at preschool and your work schedule is it possible that she really just wants your attention so that even negative attention to her is something she will take? I'm wondering and I know it's really hard to do, but is there any way you can carve out more time to spend just with her? And keep that up for awhile. Stop dispel inning her when she gets out of bed, just tell her once its time for bed and then after that quietly walk her back to bed without talking?  Also I used a book called the sleep easy solution that was helpful. I hope this helps.


Anne wrote at 2013-02-11 22:25:13
HI Jenny

With your daughter at preschool and your work schedule is it possible that she really just wants your attention so that even negative attention to her is something she will take? I'm wondering and I know it's really hard to do, but is there any way you can carve out more time to spend just with her? And keep that up for awhile. Stop dispel inning her when she gets out of bed, just tell her once its time for bed and then after that quietly walk her back to bed without talking?  Also I used a book called the sleep easy solution that was helpful. I hope this helps.


Anne wrote at 2013-02-11 22:25:17
HI Jenny

With your daughter at preschool and your work schedule is it possible that she really just wants your attention so that even negative attention to her is something she will take? I'm wondering and I know it's really hard to do, but is there any way you can carve out more time to spend just with her? And keep that up for awhile. Stop dispel inning her when she gets out of bed, just tell her once its time for bed and then after that quietly walk her back to bed without talking?  Also I used a book called the sleep easy solution that was helpful. I hope this helps.


Parenting K-6 Kids

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Randi Morse

Expertise

With experience not only raising our two biological children, but also children who have behavioral issues, I tend to give real-world advice. While I do not have a degree in child psychology, I do have a great deal of real world experience with children of all ages and types, thanks, in part, to our unique family and to being a foster mother.

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My husband and I have two children, both grade school age, and have helped to raise not only our nephew who was a teenager with a mental disorder when he moved in with us. As foster parents we see and have helped a number of different situations and use our real-world advice to help children and parents reconnect and understand each other.

Education/Credentials
I attended college for English, and I have taken courses about child rearing, but most of my educational background in raising children comes from life experience.

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