Monday, May 14, 2007

Creative Parenting, 101

Ella has developed this bad little habit of sticking her tongue out at me when she's upset at something I've asked her to do or told her not to do. Actually, she's been pretty uppity all around lately, and I'm getting tired of it. I think she gets told at school that's she's great on a pretty regular basis. Her teacher, who is otherwise a dream come true, can be a bit effusive in her praise of Ella. So now Ella thinks she's hot spit at home, too.

While we were at the beach this weekend, I told Ella to do something, and she stuck her tongue out at me. I just can't allow her to do that - it's rude and disrespectful. So I sent her to the bedroom while Brandon and I talked about what to do. I've tried time outs, I've tried taking things away like bedtime stories, and nothing has worked.

Then I came up with the most brilliant idea and Brandon agreed to give it a try. I called Ella back in and asked her if she remembered what happened to Ralphie in the movie "A Christmas Story" when he said a bad word. I got a very quiet, muttered "had to put soap in his mouth" in response. I told her that Daddy and I had discussed it, and we decided that any time she stuck her tongue out at us, she'd have to lick a bar of soap. Her eyes just about popped out of her head and she gave us the most horrified look ever - even worse than when I threatened to tell her beloved teacher about her bad behavior.

I pointed out to her that this was entirely in her control. If she never sticks her tongue out at me again, she'll never have to lick a bar of soap - the choice is entirely up to her. She fled the room without saying a word. Brandon and I waited until she was out of earshot and started laughing. Our guess was that she was in the other room, sticking her tongue out for all she was worth.

As long as she doesn't do it to my face, she's fine. But one of these days, that little tongue is going to fly out of her mouth before she realizes what she's done. And then the fun will begin.

1 comment:

Seamus O'Pine said...

Great parenting! I'm starting to get the pre-teen eyerolls, which make me crazy. he's only 9!!! Plus, I'm a step-parent, so my role is still a bit fuzzy.

I applaud your and Brandon's creativity in this. It also teaches her personal responsibility and accountability.

Can y'all come to my house, now?