Our oldest daughter, she’s about 3 1/2 now, is a great kid. (well, they’re both great kids, but today it is all about Busybee) She’s very well behaved. We get comments all the time from strangers when we’re out at restaurants about how well-behaved our girls are. She’s so full of joy it just bubbles from every pore in her body. As I’ve told our caseworker, she’s like walking sunshine. Her smile (I so wish I could share pictures with you!) is so bright, and so big you can’t help but smile back at her.
But she’s also a broken little girl. She comes from the foster-care system and lived with a drug addicted mother in abusive relationships. We don’t know a lot about her past before she got into the system. But I know she’s lost everything. Multiple times. When they brought her to our house, she was such a sad little thing, weeping for the family she left and terrified to be in a new place with people she didn’t know. She was scared of any number of things including the bathtub and she wouldn’t change her clothes for two weeks. Thinking back to those early days still dissolve me into a puddle of tears. My beautiful sweet girl.
She’s blossomed since then. Loves bath time now. She’s like a mermaid! And she’s a total clothes horse! She’s resilient and a survivor and herein lies the beauty and the problem with her. She’s nearly impossible to punish. We’re a time-out family and we do both where we put the kiddos in time-out and we put toys in time-out. But with Busybee, well, she might be initially upset by the sight of her toys going up on a high shelf, but then you see that resilience come in, she swipes her tears away and she smiles and says, “That’s okay, Mommy, I can play with that now.” And off she goes to something new.
Now like I said, she’s not a bad kid, she’s not ill-behaved most of the time, but she is a typical three year old in many ways…she doesn’t want to share with her sister, she’s beginning to fight her naps (despite the fact that she still desperately needs them!) and well, she obviously doesn’t mind all the time. What kid does? But we feel so stuck with the tools we have. We’ve tried positive reinforcement…if you do such and such, then you get to do this or you get a new that. She gets excited, but it doesn’t pan out. We’ve tried negative reinforcement…if you don’t do such and such, then you don’t get to do that. That doesn’t really work either.
So we stick with our time-out for both her and toys. And frankly we’ve seen no improvement on the behaviors that she struggles with. Now like I said, I probably shouldn’t complain, for the most part we don’t have big issues. She doesn’t really talk back, she doesn’t get out of her bed, even when she’s not napping, she doesn’t sneak toys that she knows she’s not supposed to play with, but she’s still not learning from her mistakes. Clearly we’re probably expecting too much because she’s so darn smart we forget that she’s only 3 and probably only 2 emotionally speaking. But there you have it, our big timeout conundrum.
So what are your discipline solutions at your house? Do you have defiant kids?
I’m Robyn DeHart, AKA Basket-Case Mama, but not because I’m crazy (though really, what mom isn’t?) but because I have a slight obsession with baskets, well containers really. I’m a bit of an organization nut and I love to containerize stuff. And yes, I’m authorized to use words like that because I am also a writer. But back to the kids, so I’m mom to two ridiculously beautiful little girls and I can say that without bragging because I didn’t actually make them. Last year my husband, The Professor, and I adopted said little lovelies from the foster-care system here in Texas and now we’re a big happy forever family. Busybee is three and so full of joy it just oozes from her. Babybee is a walking-talking toddler who has a heck of a temper but is so cute, it almost keeps her out of trouble. Though neither of my girls are newborns, I’m fairly new to motherhood compared to the other peanut butter moms, but we’ve settled in as a family as if we’ve always been together. When I’m not trying to keep up with my two bundles of energy, you can usually find me on my laptop on Pinterest, no, that’s not right, um…you can find me writing, yes, that’s it, writing my latest historical romance. www.robyndehart.com