Nov 20 2006


Published by at 3:19 pm under amy's head,daily,kids,likes & irks

Jocelyn has been really whiny lately. She instinctively says “NO!” to everything that is queried of her and she generally assumes the loudest and whiniest tone ever.

It must be very frustrating to have every decision made for you. You will eat now. You will get up now. You will get dressed now, and you will not watch TV with popcorn now. You may not use my new fabric to drag around the house and then pretend to sleep under, and you will go upstairs, take a bath, and go to bed now, because my nerves just can’t TAKE IT ANYMORE AHHHHHH!


No wonder she meets every approach with “NOOOOOO!!” It doesn’t help that when I’m trying to cope with an instance of Whiney Tantrumy Jocelyn, Ethan will choose that moment to come over and start talking to me.
Let me share with you the things we’ve (me, her father, and her teacher(s)) tried through this increasingly difficult stage.

1. Counting.

jocelyn: NOOOOOO!*
me: That’s 1.
jocelyn: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
me: That’s 2.
jocelyn: NO NO NO NO NO NO!
me: That’s three, time-out.

* Just assume that everytime you see a “NOOOOOO!” on this post, that the volume level is set on “migraine-inducing” or “nasal-whiney”.

Counting is better for activity that she needs to stop, rather than counting instances of bad behaviour. Like if she keeps running around her room naked instead of coming over to get her jammies on, I’ll start to count to three slowly, and before I get there, she’ll stop, run over, while saying, “I AM I AM I AM!” (as in, “I am coming! I am coming! I am coming!”) It also gives them time to stop, rather than just saying, “Come over here now.” If you give them til the count of three, it gives them time to adjust to the fact that they have to stop what they’re doing, and come over.

So counting. Kind of helpful, in some kinds of situations. Since you can’t back down once you’ve started (this falls under the very first parenting rule ever, which is: “When In A Battle Of Discpline, Never Lose Or Give In Or Then You Will Be Their Bitch Or At Least You Will Really Regret It When They Constantly Retest The Boundaries You Tried So Hard To Set”) always follow through, even if you realize that it wasn’t the best situation to use it in.

2. Giving her a choice:

me: It’s time to brush teeth!
me: Do you want pink toothpaste, or clear?
jocelyn: PINK!!!

And then the fight is over! When it works, it’s Magical! If only it worked EVERY TIME! IF ONLY!
3. Pointing out the different “voices”:

This one worked well, to a point. First, I had to make sure she knew what I meant.

jocelyn: NO NO NO!
me, first, getting her attention by removing her from whatever the situation is, and getting her to look right at me: Let’s learn about the different kinds of voices, Jocelyn.
me, talking normally: listen to this voice. This is a noooormal voice!
me, super over-the-top whiney: and this is a WHINEY voice!
me, normal: And this is a normal voice! Can you use a normal voice?
Jocelyn, in a normal voice: Yes! I can! I can use a normal voice!

It really is amazing when this tactic works. She will be in the throes of a full whiney temper, and I’ll ask her to use a normal voice, and she sometimes will snap right out of it. Sometimes though, not so much.

4. Brainwashing. Or, telling her what to say:

This all started out innocently enough. Jocelyn has always had pretty impressive verbal skills. Ethan didn’t even say “mommy” until he was TWO YEARS OLD (I am not exagerating. mama, yes. mommy, no) and Jocelyn was stringing a few words together not long after 12 months. That constant stream of conversation Ethan keeps up evidently seeped into her brain pretty early.

So, all that, to say, it’s hard to remember that she is still learning a lot of vocabulary, and perhaps is just instinctively saying ‘no’ because that is the easiest thing to say right now. She gets to make so little decisions about her life and her body, that it’s easier to blurt out, “NO!” than to think it over, analyze what she actually wants, and then construct a sentence to convey those wants or opinions. So at these times, I would just tell her to say, “No thank you.”
me: Jocelyn, here’s your drink.
me: Just say, “no thank you!”
jocelyn, all perky: No thank you!
then she eyes the drink, and says: I do! I WANT it!!
me: Say, ‘I would like the drink please!’
jocelyn: I would like the drink please!
me: Here you go!

I started to skip over the middle part of that conversation, and just tell her SAY, what I thought she wanted. Then I just started to tell her to say what *I* wanted… and she would say it!
me: Stop running around naked, and come over here and get your jammies on, sweetie.
jocelyn: NOOOOOOOO! *run run run*
me: say, ‘Ok mommy, I’ll come get my jammies on!’
j: OK mommy! I’ll come get my jammies on!”

AND SHE WOULD!! It’s BRAINWASHING MAGIC! I hope it lasts forever. It will be very handy when she’s 16.

me: I want you to be home by 11:30.
me: say, ‘I will be home by 11, I won’t TP anyone’s house, and I won’t drink or smoke and I love you forever!”
j: Oh, mom, that hasn’t worked since I was TWO! BYE!

sigh. jeez. My brain won’t even let me fantasize about the possibilities. MY BABY GIRL! DON’T EVER BE 16!
5. Praise, praise, praise until you feel like you need some pom-poms and an audition for ‘Bring It On 3: OH IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT-UN! ‘

This is something I seem to routinely forget, and remember, and it always helps a lot for whatever it is we’re doing… praise praise praise for the good stuff she does. The last week I have been tearing my hair out and losing it and screaming like a banshee out of the blue because this behaviour was just pushing me to the very edge of existence (work (as opposed to staying at home with kids all day) has SO made my “patience” supplies dwindle, sigh) and I just have to keep remembering this, because I know it will help. Praise praise praise. Over the top praise, even. Every time she does it *right* I coo and carrying on until I feel like an idiot, except for the look on her face as she absorbs every word makes it totally worth it.
Hopefully with praise and my magical brainwashing abilities, I will still keep a bit of my hair. Holiday parties are coming up you know.

do you have kids? any special disciplining tricks you have tucked in your sleeve you want to share?
-amy points you in a crooked line

One response so far

One Response to “noooooooooooo!”

  1. Rattling the Kettleon 28 Nov 2006 at 10:14 pm

    Ronen hasn’t gotten to the tantrum phase quite yet (though he’s got “no” down just fine), but I thought the book Kids, Parents and Power Struggles had a lot of interesting communication techniques when I read it a few months ago. Probably time to re-read now that he’s almost 1-1/2.