My daughter believes in monsters. We introduced monsters to her and it works for us. We don’t mean any harm to her and know she will outgrow it. Some parents use treats, charts, and other incentives to get their kid to listen – we use monsters. Monsters that live in secret passages. As a matter a fact, I used monsters this morning. Allow me to elaborate…
Me: Ciara lets do your hair
Ciara: No, I want cereal
Me: Ciara you’ll get cereal once I’m done with your hair
Me: Ciara I need to do your hair now. I need to leave for work
Ciara: I want cereal. I don’t want to do my hair
Side note: I didn’t do her hair yesterday because she threw a tantrum and I was running late for work
Me: Ciara, I need to do your hair because its very messy.
Ciara: (walks out of the room) No I want cereal
Daddy: Ciara go do your hair with mommy and I’ll bring your cereal
Me: Ciara come do your hair now or I’m calling the monster
Ciara: noooo mommy (while reluctantly walking to me)
Me: let’s go or the monster’s mommy has to do your hair and she doesn’t brush it nice like mommy.
BAM! Job done.
The monster works for us. Helps us get the job done. My daughter and I’m sure many other kids have no patience. She wants instant gratification. I’m sorry but she is not always going to get things when she wants them. She has to learn that now. Everyone is not always going to cater to her first. I always say, “Pick Your Battles”. I probably repeat this daily.
Do you know what I find to be the issue? I’m a working mom and I come home burnt out. Driving almost an hour each way is exhausting. I don’t want to argue with my two year old. The mornings are hectic for my husband and I. Luckily she is in the age where she can put on her own clothes (she just needs assistance with the left foot, right foot shoe) and only wants to do it herself. She does not want help from us and I’m OK with that. Teaches her independence. She is two years old going on 13. Now that she is two I’m getting the, “get ready it only gets worse”. Worse? It’s a struggle every day. She usually loves when I do her hair. She would sit while I brushed and she picked the colors she wanted to wear.
The monster shows up when she is being defiant. Throwing a tantrum at the store? We will throw out the monster card which typically goes like this, “Do you want me to get the monster?” She’ll say no and immediately calms down. We never say the monster is in her room or in any place we feel she won’t feel safe in. We typically say he lives in a secret passage which only opens if mommy and daddy call him. The monster can hear when she is not listening to mommy and daddy. He can also see if she is hitting her brother. You can see we have guidelines for this monster situation.
How did the monster tactic come about? It all began on her first cruise. We took a family cruise in late August. We had a nice balcony room with a decent amount of space. It was a nightmare for us. A total nightmare. My son was old enough to go to the kids club but my daughter was too young (the minimum age was 3 years old). You can read all about out Norwegian Cruise Adventure here. The kids were jumping, stomping, running all over the room. We kept telling them please be quiet there are people above, below, to the right, and left of us. I didn’t want to shout at them every 5 mins. We tried to stay out of the room often by keeping them busy in the outdoor activities. We even came back so they can nap. No matter what we did they still made a huge ruckus in the room. Then it came to us – the Monster. It worked like a charm. My daughter would sit on the bed playing with her tablet. It was a miracle (and I’m sure the neighbors were happy!). “Ciara no running in the hallways or I’ll tell the Monster”. She would walk next to us instead of ahead of us. She would stay sitting in her chair at dinner. We could not believe the effect it had on her.
It did make me feel guilty – was I doing the right thing? Am I harming her in anyway? I really battled about it internally and came to the conclusion that it worked. It made our family outings more enjoyable. I didn’t dread going out to lunch or entering a store. I always worried about what other people would think of me. Imagining all the negative stares and everything they are saying in their minds about my children. I have very active children. I can’t change that but I can make it easier on myself. I know this is just a phase but it cannot pass soon enough! Love my kids to infinity and beyond and would not change who they are. Just need through get through the bumps in the road!
What is your secret to keeping your children under control when they are not listening?