As parents, my husband and I find ourselves throwing out statements like, “If you don’t sit down, get in the bathtub, try a vegetable, then xyz will (or won’t) happen.”
I don’t know if this is the most effective method, but usually when we mention withholding something fun like dance class, the treat after dinner, an upcoming event, etc., they suddenly do what they are told.
Today, we were giving the girls a bath and Maddy had already gotten out. Libby stayed in saying she wanted to “swim.” This was fine, but she kept kicking and splashing water – all over C and on the floor. C had already told her twice not to splash. She kept looking at him and throwing her leg down.
He finally said, “Do not splash again, or you will not go to dance.” Two seconds later, SPLASH.
It took her about 45 minutes to completely calm down and stop saying “I want to go to dance.”
What she doesn’t realize is it’s just as hard if not harder to change the schedule, not send her to dance, one of us stay home with her, etc, but we both fully agree if you make the threat, you have to keep it no matter how hard it is. It’s hard to see your child that upset, but I know we have a lifetime more.
I was proud of C for not backing down. No one wants to be the bad guy, but Libby deserved the punishment. We explained to Maddy that Libby wasn’t allowed to go to dance because she didn’t make a good choice.
I think we all learned something today. Being 4 years old and being a parent ain’t easy.