Miss Rose is easily susceptible to certain manipulations and, shamelessly, I use them.
There are two little girls in Rose’s life who she absolutely adores; Baby Evie and Jay. Baby Evie is nearly one and is our group baby. Jay is four and Rose’s aspiration.
“Do you want to be a baby like Baby Evie, or a big girl like Jay?” I will ask her. I want her to sleep in her own bed all night, I want her to use the toilet not nappies, I want her to sit still and listen to me speak. Whatever it is, I ask her that question.
She ALWAYS wants to be a big girl like Jay.
Of course, there are times when even the accusation of babyness isn’t enough. Today I removed her Dr Who privileges. Miss Rose LOVES Doctor Who. She had been promised that, if she was a good girl, she would be allowed to watch Doctor Who after dinner with mummy, daddy and Z. She was thrilled. Then she behaved like a little menace and TV programme choosing rights were transferred to Z. She has been golden ever since.
Essentially it comes down to finding what works for you and working with it. Owning it.
A lot of people are against bribery and manipulation for getting good behaviour out of children. I get it, and I have mad respect for the mummy friends I know who achieve good behaviour through other means. However, I am also okay with doing it myself.
When we work, we’re paid. When we’re nice, people are kind. When we’re criminal, we’re imprisoned. That is the way life works if you’re an adult.
In my house it works the same for the kids. If you want something you have to earn it. If you want to be treated like a big girl, act like one. If you want to watch Doctor Who, earn it through good behaviour. If you are violent, you’re removed from the situation and sat alone until you calm down and apologise.
And shamelessly using the baby state of Evie and the big girl state of Jay is, for the time being, one of the best tools I have at my disposal. “Baby Evie is too little to go to the playground. If you’re a baby like Evie you can’t go either.” “Jay is a big girl so she behaves in restaurants at night. If you want to be a big girl like Jay you have to act like one.”
Of course, one day soon Baby Evie is not going to be a baby anymore. At that point I’m going to need to start poking the people around me and encouraging them to produce a new baby to use as motivation manipulation.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!