This morning while getting ready for school Story threw a fit about not wanting to wear a jacket. Then she threw a fit about me packing her lunch for her last night without her. Then she threw a fit about me making her come to where I was sitting to help her with her shoes.
Do you see a pattern here? She was losing it. I told her that I was not leaving to take her to school with her acting like that. We would wait until she got herself together. Well by this point we are late. I'm willing to wait though. This has happened once before and I sat right in front of her until she got herself together and then we left, and yes we were late.
Finally we made it to the car and on the way to the car she threw a fit because I tried to help her get her backpack off. Poor girl can't climb into my big ole' car with a big ole' bag attached to her. I was helping, and she was not having it.
I tell her that I will stay home with her to nap. As we were driving I thought to myself, I keep saying that I will keep you home from school to nap (which is equivalent to telling her that I'll cut both her arms off with my teeth) but I never do. I mean that changes my day up to, so it's not so easy to just change things around like that. Not like I had nothing planned for the day! She always ends up at school, even when fits are thrown. This is not every day for sure, but a hand full of times since July this has happened, and so today I did. I turned our car right back around and we marched to her room and got her in bed.
As I was doing that and she was screaming I wondered if I had made the wrong call. Is preschool more important? I think not, but still I'm second guessing myself. I just know that if I always make empty threats to my kids, my word won't mean as much to them. When I tell them that if they disobey I will keep them home from something then I need to be willing to back that up. I know that maybe you shouldn't keep your kids home from school, but she's FOUR for the love, and that was so devastating to her.
I'm hoping that this time of me following through with my words will help in future times when she's having a melt down because she didn't get her way. It's so hard to not get what we want, when we want it, all the time. Being four is hard.
So, did I do the right thing, or should I have taken her to school? What would you have done?
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I’ve done that before – keeping the girls home from something because of fits/bad attitudes. I think it’s so much harder to keep them home than to let them go. Cause then ya gotta really deal with the situation. Ha! But, in the end I think it’s better for both you and her because you want her to know that you will follow through, that you are a mom of her words, even when that is hard for you.
I think you totally did the right thing. She obviously needs something – whether it’s sleep or time with mom or both. And you’re right, its so easy to threaten stuff and not follow through. Sometimes it’s because I don’t think before I say what the potential consequence is and I realize after I came out of my mouth that it’s either 1) out of proportion to the problem or 2) not possible without major issues w/ our schedule, etc. So when I do follow through on a tough consequence it’s good for both of us 🙂 I bet things will be much better after a nap. Call it a “mental health day”. I think we all need those sometimes, just four year-olds don’t know how to tell us.
Yes! My parents tried this ONCE when I was in kindergarten and I’ve never forgotten it. Never had to miss school again either. 😉 Totally worked.
Of course you did the right thing! But of course it probably cost you some alone time, just some time to kick back and have some sanity. 🙁 In the end we can only hope it pays off. Be careful what you say as a consequence though…think it through,you have to be willing to pay the price also. I remember a parenting class where we had to try to find consequences “to fit the crime” so to speak. I will try to remember the resource…..it was a LONG time ago.
I am clearly not in this stage yet, but I always remember my mom saying that the hardest part of us being punished when we were young was that it was like a punishment for her as well. Missing out on something, canceling plans, etc. I feel like your answer would be exactly what I would have done. I feel bad for smiling though as I read…knowing sweet girl so much I could literally vision this whole story playing out….I love her!
I think that missing school now and then is absolutely no big deal for a child when compared with learning a bigger life lesson. Good job, Jamie. 🙂
Like Laura, I am obviously not in this stage yet, but I was totally reminded of a principle we were taught in a Love and Logic seminar I went to when I was teaching. It was about “turning your words into gold” – the idea that you have to use enforceable statements and then stand by them or you basically lose your credibility with the kiddos. So I totally think you did the right thing!! And I hope that I remember this when I have to follow through with consequences even when I don’t want to! 🙂
Absolutely -you did the right thing.. I think when we tell our children something and then do the opposite we are giving them permission to continue the unwanted behavior.. This is a lesson I have to continually remind myself of – say what you mean and are prepared to do – or say nothing at all! :0)
If you say you are going to do something and don’t, then the children won’t believe you. Whether keeping her home from school is right or wrong really isn’t the point here – you keeping your word about something is what really matters. Similar to what some have said above, I once took my son’s favorite toy away from him forever after warning him over and over to not say something that I viewed as highly inappropriate. He was 8 then and is 18 now, and still remembers that happening.
YES, you did the exact thing, in my opinion. I had a friend , when my kids were little. One of her little girls , that was Brad’s age , would not get ready for school. She was in kindergarten or first grade at the time , I believe. Susan had been asking to get ready to leave for about 45 minutes, but Ashley had something else she wanted to do and disobeyed. So, Susan took her older sister to school and left her at home with her dad. When she returned, Ashely said she was ready to go. However, Susan tried a different response. She told her that she was sorry , but that she had an errand to run and that when she was finished she would drop her off at school. Well, they ran the errand. By now, Ashley was at least an hour – hour and a half late. They entered the school office to check in and of course the office asked why. Ashley had to tell them why. The very wise secretary told Ashely that her reason was not an excusable late reason . She then had to go to her room and tell her teacher the reason , also!! Needless to say, the next day, she was ready with a smile on her face at least 45 minutes before they needed to leave for school. It NEVER happened again!! Correct consequences for the action!!
Also, we all have bad days, tired days, etc. Those days sometimes even end up in ” adult ” fits or ” losing it ” moments! Maybe she really did need a day at home. If not, lesson learned. Tough love is hard !
did she take a long nap?
YES Jamie< you did the right thing because now she will know that if you say you will you will…. and she will remember and think about maybe she should do something else beside throw a fit@
The sad thing is Staci that I had to wake her up. I had to be somewhere at 3pm that I couldn’t change. But she did nap and has been pleasant all afternoon!
You know your kiddo and know what she needs. Clearly, at 4 she needed a nap. And one day at 8 or 9 she may need that sleep too. You don’t need to second guess yourself. Like everyone else said you have to follow through with the consequence. I know that with my one year old even when it is inconvenient for me I still have to follow through with consequences or do what she needs…sometimes that’s cancelling plans. It’s hard and it stinks, but we have to do what’s best for them.
You totally did the right thing! Even if she was older…
You did the right thing.
School is never, ever, Ever! as important as learning from parents.
Even if she is in grade 4 or 6 or 12.
School is to learn how to learn. That’s it. Everything else is just details.