difficult creativity

remember the other day when i mentioned that in the morning i WOULD choose the three toys for samantha’s creative punishment?
well, as much as i love my sweet, SWEET and LOVING daughter, she’s also a bit of a handful and standard time outs and spankings and “no treats for you” punishments don’t really do much for her. on wednesday, instead of napping or quietly resting and looking and books in her room DURING rest time, she did this:
yep. that is a book TORN. TO. SHREDS. if i remember right, it’s the first 16 pages plus page 20 & 21. or something like that. [i discovered this right before we were supposed to go to the pool for play time and swim lessons - the FINAL day of swim lessons. it was not a good moment for me. i did NOT, however, lose my temper. instead, i started crying. and THAT, my friends, made samantha more upset than if i had been angry with her.]
she’s torn books before (LOTS of them) but this one was a little bit different. see, this book was Davey’s. NOT davey’s & sam’s. JUST davey’s:
and she RUINED it.
and while it’s not davey’s favorite book and he doesn’t care all that much about it, it’s the principle that matters here. she needs to STOP tearing books! she needs to REST during rest time. she needs to RESPECT property – hers and others.
i called dave (who was still at work) and we agreed that it was not “too cruel” for me to make samantha sit in a chair at the pool while the other kids played before swim lessons. and it would not be “too cruel” to make her get out of the pool immediately after swim lessons while the other kids played. so that was the start of her punishment for her poor behavior during rest time (which was not limited to only book-ripping).
that night, as we talked more about the situation, we decided to get creative with our punishment. dave looked up the cost of a replacement book on amazon. he went ahead and ordered the book. i was ready to have samantha go to the bank and take money out of her savings account (to buy the new book) and give it to davey. but that doesn’t mean much to her. dave had the idea that samantha would have to “sell” one of her toys to earn the money to buy davey’s replacement book. that way, it would have to COST her something. i was immediately “on board.”
so we called samantha downstairs and explained the punishment to her. she immediately piped up and said “i don’t want my lello blankie anymore. i’ll sell that.”┬áthat’s when the punishment morphed a bit. we decided/agreed that i would choose three of samantha’s better-loved toys and she would have to choose one of those to sell.
so even though the DESTRUCTIVE event happened on wednesday, the CHOOSING TO SELL event didn’t happen until friday morning.
without any hesitation, samantha chose those yellow princess dress up shoes. dave was holding her so she could see the choices that were up on our bed. she almost lurched out of his arms, reached for and immediately grabbed the high heels and announced (in her not-quite-pouty-voice), “i don’t LIKE these shoes anymore.”
well, i guess i made that too easy. perhaps i should’ve added the green Princess Tiana shoes to the pile instead of the yellow Belle shoes. or i think the light blue Cinderella shoes would’ve been a REAL stretch for her. oh well. i didn’t want to be TOO cruel.
Samantha promptly handed the shoes to us. I gave her a $5 bill (the book was more in the $10-20 range) and I told her she needed that money to buy Davey’s replacement book. I instructed her not to rip it, tear it, lose it, etc.
The replacement book should arrive today. I hope she can find the $5 bill to give to us to buy the book so she can give it to Davey and tell him she’s sorry for tearing the first one to shreds.
whether this will work or be effective, we have no idea. but at least we’re trying to change things up. we’re trying to teach our daughter to respect other people’s things. we’re trying to teach her that there are consequences to naughty behavior. wish us luck!

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