Routines and rewards

Well that was fun!

I had to speak to the Psychologist at school today about the boy. He had finished his tests at school as part of his diagnosis and the psychologist just wanted to give me her report and let me ask any questions about it all.

I then told her about the girl and how a lot of behaviour was getting worse and that the man and I are at our wits end with it all. She let me explain about the night time routine and how it is not working for us (even though the girl thinks it is) and how much of the evening is spent either trying to reason with the girl, or argue with her.

She said that is sounded like the girl was getting a lot of negative attention from us, as we jumped through hoops to get her to go to bed without a battle. That sounded about right. She went on to say that all the girl has to do was say no to something or put up a protest and then mum and dad start paying her a lot of attention, and then one parent disagrees with the other and hey presto, the girl has one humdinger of a fight over her in her bedroom. Free show!

So tonight we started a new routine. We told the girl that we were changing the routine because the old bedtime routine just wasn’t working. She was happy with that – until bedtime came!

The first part was easy. She had to go to the toilet and brush her teeth BEFORE getting into bed. Then if she did that she would get a chapter of her book read to her as a reward.

Sounded easy to me!!

She cried and threw objects around the room and banged on the walls and yelled out to me and ripped up the new routine that I had written on a piece of paper. We had calmly told her through gritted teeth that we wouldn’t be back until she had gone to the toilet and brushed her teeth.

‘I HATE THIS ROUTINE AND I WANT MY OLD ONE BACK’ was shouted a few hundred times. Cos apparently she knew better than us.

The man and I did not rise to any of her attacks on us, and whenever she screamed at us from her room we just replied that we would return to read her book when she had done as she was told. And that we would be glad to spend time with her then.

After a while (read one and a half hours) I went into her room and tried to give her her toothbrush again. Another meltdown from her but I didn’t react. I then reached over and managed to get the toothbrush into her mouth and did her teeth. This made her cry harder but it was all over pretty quick.

She then coughed, blew her nose and smiled at me. A completely different child. How do they change so fast?!

We spent some time chatting and then reading her book. Yes it was late by then but she had to have some positive attention. Even though I had ended up doing her teeth for her she had not had any fighting or extra attention about that, so I figure that is a start.

I figure this will not be an easy road but it has to be done for our sanity. Although, according to the boy we are already dimwits so maybe there is no hope for us at all!

I think I have earned my wine tonight, two hours of a bedtime routine will do that to a person.