When we moved into this two-story house, my son got the upstairs room at the front of the house and my daughter got the room at the rear. One of her bedroom windows opens onto the single-story flat roof above the kitchen. On her first visit to our new home, my mother warned that the kids would need to switch bedrooms someday, because our daughter could not be trusted with an obvious window escape route. I agreed wholeheartedly. My daughter was six months old at the time.
We had her number early.
I believe my daughter will be a highly successful adult. She is smart and determined, an independent thinker, and a natural leader. She will be in charge of something someday. Until that time, she tries to be in charge of me (and everyone else). Too often, I fear she succeeds.
My alpha female six-year-old is stronger than I am. Her force of will is greater than mine. She often exhausts me.
All the qualities that make my daughter so amazing and engaging make her a difficult child to parent. I struggle with the best way to discipline her. Neither incentive nor punishment is effective.
Sent to time out as a toddler, she wouldn't cry or show remorse. She'd refuse to stay seated and might be angry, but her standard response was "so what?"
When potty training, she had no interest in an incentive and reward system. If she wanted to use the bathroom, she did. If she didn't, she didn't. She trained early but on her own terms. This is how it goes.
I've given up on the time out chair. She doesn't play with toys, so there are no favored items I can take away. We don't have a promised amount of screen time or a regular dessert, so I can't take those away. For the longest time, the one punishment that upset her was to take away our bedtime read-aloud time (twisted, but I did it). She mostly reads by herself at night now, so I doubt this tactic would work any longer.
My standard response to her bad behavior is to send her to her room. I know I'm tossing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch, but we require separation. She and her brother need to be separated so they stop fighting. She and I need to be separated so I don't lose my temper and do something I'll regret. She needs to be separated from everyone else so she can calm down and regain her senses. Sending my daughter to her room is useful, but it's not much in the way of discipline.
What is typically effective discipline for a six-year-old girl? I no longer know. My daughter is a dynamic, engaging, bright kid and mature for her age, but she is a kid. My kid. It's my job to teach her appropriate behavior and that her actions have consequences. I do not want to fail at this.
Until I can take away the car keys, what should I do?
By the way, she is an attentive and well-behaved student in school and her after school activities. It seems she saves her best behavior for home. I deeply fear the pre-teen and teenage years.
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