Mike and I had just about had it with Kenzie. The past 2-3 weeks she's been trying to form a coup d'etat and take over the household. Her techniques include bombarding us with screaming "NOO!'s," air attacks of ignoring all requests and small arms fire of kicking and hitting. We've tried drawing the blackout curtains and hiding, but this isn't working out for us.
On the way home from Grandma's on Sunday, we had a little talk with our budding anarchist. (And I'm pretty sure I've managed to hit on everything you shouldn't say to a child in the following conversation.)
"Kenzie, mommy and daddy don't like it when you scream and yell no at us. Lately, we've been seeing a lot of screaming, yelling and even hitting. That is mean. We don't like the mean Kenzie. We like the Kenzie that is nice to her sister and does what her mommy and daddy ask her to do. We like the Kenzie that listens and doesn't scream and yell. And we want to help that Kenzie and do nice things for her. The mean Kenzie doesn't get to do fun things like go to Joyschool, or play outside, or read stories. She gets to sit in her room. So to help the nice Kenzie come back we're going to start our ticket system again. Starting when we get home, you can earn tickets and use those tickets to buy a story before bed, a snack at snack time and other fun things."
Of course she said, "Yes mother. I know that you are trying to make me into a passable human being and everything you do is for my good." That's how Kenzie talks all the time, you know.
Really, she said, or rather screamed, "No!!! We'll start tomorrow! Tomorrow!!" We introduced the ticket system awhile back and it worked wonderfully. We noticed good behavior throughout the day and rewarded tickets, which could be lost with bad behavior or spent for fun outings and snacks. It worked well. So well, that I thought my daughter didn't need it anymore and I let tickets fall to the way side. My mistake.
"See," I said calmly, "that's what we mean by the mean Kenzie. We don't do nice things for the mean Kenzie. She doesn't get stories at bedtime or to choose what she wants for breakfast. We're starting tonight when we get home."
"Well," she hrummphed from the backseat, sounding like a teenager. "I'm thinking about it."
"Oh," I said. "Thinking about what?"
"The nice Kenzie."
When we got home I was pleased to see the nice Kenzie make an appearance. I feel like I can be more of the nice mommy now. Yesterday and today have been much more pleasant. We're still testing the boundaries and working out the exact process of rewards and consequences, but I feel much less deposed from my motherhood throne. How do you motivate your kids and avoid turning them into mini-Hitlers?