Going to Battle

“How many times should I have to ask you to do something?”  This is something I’ve been saying a lot to my daughter lately.  Kiki knows that the answer to this question is once.  Although she knows, in theory, that I should only have to ask her to do something once, practicing this concept is a whole different story.

We’ve been butting heads on this matter a lot lately.  It seems like every day we go to battle.  I ask her to do something.  She seemingly ignores me.  I ask her again, pointing out that I already asked her once and that she should listen.  She ignores me again.  This time I pull out the ultimatum – if she doesn’t do what I’ve asked, she will lose some sort of privilege.  She still does not do it.  So she loses her privilege.  Then she scrambles to comply with my original request in order to win back what she lost.  I tell her that it is too late to win back her privilege and that next time she should listen when I ask her to do something.  Then Kiki storms into her playroom and sulks.

This battle certainly doesn’t happen every time I ask her to do something.  Oftentimes if she doesn’t listen the first time I ask her to do something, she will comply if I bust out my go-to line of, “how many times should I have to ask you to do something?”  But it does seem like almost every day we have to go through the whole gamut over something.  It’s exhausting.

I wish I could figure out how to avoid these battles altogether.  Hubby says I give our daughter too many chances.  This could be true. But I don’t want to go to war with my daughter over everything.  There’s a reason that they say “pick your battles”.

My daughter lives on preschooler’s time.  This means that she feels no self-imposed sense of urgency when it comes to putting on her shoes, washing up for dinner, putting on her pajamas, or anything else for that matter.  The urgency all comes from me.  So I feel like it’s not fair for me to expect her to immediately drop what she’s doing every time I say “jump”.

To compensate for the fact that I’m always asking her to stop doing what she wants to do in order to do something that I want her to do, I give her a heads-up when she’ll have to transition soon.  Then I give her a time countdown.  This helps, but it doesn’t eliminate all of our battles.

A lot of our blowouts are related to getting out of the door to get somewhere at a certain time.  It doesn’t seem to matter if my daughter wakes up at 6:30 in the morning or at 8:30, I still struggle to get her to preschool by 9.  To deal with this particular situation, I’ve recently been trying to double my lead time for getting us out the door.  If I know it’ll take us 15 minutes to get somewhere, I try to get us out the door 30 minutes ahead of time.  I’m hoping that this new strategy will give me some cushion so that Kiki can move at her own pace a little more without me getting upset.

I soldier on.  I’m trying my best to avoid backing us both into a corner.  I’m trying to be laid-back so Kiki can have some freedom.  And I’m also trying to figure out the secret to getting Kiki to realize that when Mommy uses her “serious” voice that she should listen up.  If I figure out how to do this last thing, I’ll make sure to let you all in on the secret.


4 thoughts on “Going to Battle

  1. My 4 yr old can be so poky too!! I can relate! I try counting slowly – saying her name, repeating what I asked, 1, waiting, then repeating till I get to 3. If I get to 3, there’s a consequence. Ugh…it’s so hard because you know they CAN do what you’re asking, but they just don’t.

  2. we are on the same page here! when I remember, it helps to really get down on his level and remind him to listen to my words (instead of saying or shouting it from another room). I don’t always remember of course. I do the 123 counting and I do the if you don’t do x, y will happen.

  3. I agree that it’s the adult who is asking the child to do things at a certain time, seemingly all the time. And, I try to think about it from the perspective that if someone was asking ME to drop whatever I was doing all day long and do what they wanted me to do, I’d be pretty unhappy about it. On the other hand, she’s a child, and all children have to go through the tough time of childhood in order to become an adult and then they get to be in charge (sort of) of their own time. I certainly don’t have an answer because we go through the same thing. But, I really, really like having one day a week (Tuesdays) when there is nothing on the schedule. I think that helps. Next year it will be Fridays and then after that she’ll start actual school and I’m not sure what I’ll do!

    • Glad I’m not alone. Yeah I do a non-scheduled day too to give Kiki a break. It does help. She’s been sleeping in pretty late lately, so it’s been extra challenging to get her to school on time.

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