Thursday, April 08, 2010

A milestone has been reached...

Yesterday, a monumental milestone was reached. A summit was mounted. A tide was turned. I actually won a battle with my children.......somewhat.

Yesterday afternoon, I got up the gumption to walk on the treadmill in the basement family room. The kids played while I walked. Afterwards, I went upstairs to cook dinner and the children remained downstairs meticulously dismantling the entire room. After dinner, I asked the kids to go downstairs and clean the immense mess they had created in the basement. Immediately, before I could even complete my sentence, the whining began. Sophie vehemently refused to clean. She was "so tired." Lucas was yelling because Sophie and Nicky weren't cleaning...though he wasn't either. Nicholas didn't complain. Rather, he wandered from room to room trying to avoid detection. I am sure he thought he could fly under the radar with Sophie and Lucas squawking so loudly. I remained calm. I simply told them to go back downstairs and clean up their mess. I listened to their rants and shrieks and all-out battles. I gave them every opportunity to comply with my request. I refused to be dragged down to their level, as I have so many times in the past. Rather, I held my ground. I did not rant and rave. When they refused to do as I asked after numerous requests, I simply shut them down. As calm as could be, I got up, sent them to their rooms, got out their pajamas, told them we were going to bed,'s the kicker....I followed through. Craziness! Never mind that it was 7:00. They were going to bed. I calmly dressed Sophie in her pajamas, while she screamed so loudly she could barely breathe. I told Lucas to get his pajamas on while he cried hysterically that Sophie's screaming was driving him crazy and he "couldn't take it anymore." Nicholas, however, didn't shed a tear. He dressed himself in his pajamas and happily chirped, "Look momma. I put on my jammies and I am in bed." Is he an angel child? No...not quite. He simply assumed he was getting out of cleaning the basement, so he was happy as a clam to go to bed early. I called them into the bathroom one by one to brush their teeth, then I tucked them all safely and soundly into bed. I informed each of them that I would not be cleaning the basement. I told them that they would be cleaning it the following day when Lucas got home from school. When Lucas realized that I was indeed serious, he hugged me and apologized for his behavior. He stayed in his bed quietly reading until he fell asleep. Nicholas grinned and giggled and had a grand old time until he, too, fell asleep. Sophie continued to scream until she finally fell asleep with me laying next to her in her bed. She was still sniffling and snuffing when I left the room, but she had finally drifted off.

I am proud of myself. I didn't lose my cool. I remained calm. I actually felt in control, rather than teetering on the edge as I often feel when the kids act up. Today, when I pick Lucas up from school, I do plan on making them clean the basement. Perhaps we will be rehashing the events of last night. But I will stand firm....I will stand my ground against the onslaught. The beasts will not take me down. Try as they might, momma is winning this battle.

Update: The kids cleaned the basement this afternoon with NO problems whatsoever...after being asked only once. Hmmm...perhaps consequences DO work with children? Perhaps the empty parenting technique of choice up to this flawed? I am still in a state of shock at this moment, but definitely something to think about....


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