The go-to punishment in our house is a common one: go to your room.
Now, I know that that’s a hot-button for Rory–go away from me, because you’re bad–and although she gets the sending, she rarely gets the leaving (other attempts, like a time-out chair and such, failed). She gets an immediate parental visit, a hug, a reminder of why she’s there, and nearly always, instant release–which she then inevitably refuses to take.
I’ve talked about this before–how hard it was to see that she needed to be soothed and brought out of her room, not left to come out on her own–and the various compromises and attempts we’ve made with Â it–we still won’t make a big party of her to excuse her behavior. Suffice it to say, we’ve mostly sorted it–and today we had a big breakthrough.
I walked into the kitchen to find her kneeling on the counter—as in, feet, body, everything, up on the kitchen counter. This falls into the category of absolute nos at our house, no, not under any circumstances, no, never. It’s hard for monkey Rory to remember–I honestly Â think she doesn’t see climbing on things as much different from walking–but she does know, and there’s no doubt about that. So–go to your room–and she went, instantly, and forgot to even start to cry until she was nearly all the way there.
Then, of course, she wailed–and wailed, and I went up, and I said, as simply as possible, you knew better, and you got sent to your room, and I am not mad, and I love you, and you can come downstairs now.
I don’t wanna.
I gave her the hug, I repeated the words. I don’t wanna.
I went downstairs, finished dinner, came back. Come on down now.
I don’t wanna.
This is a power struggle we’ve had before, and my inclination with any other kid would be to leave her to it—but that’s not right for Rory, who needs choices and control. It’s time to come down for dinner, i said, and if you don’t come down for dinner, then I’ll come up and get you ready for bed. And more words to that effect, and finally, gently, you need to come down before dinner’s on the table, or I’ll know you want me to come help you with your pjs.
I went down. I heard some noises, and called upstairs–Rory, come make your chocolate milk! Nothing. Rory, come choose your plate! Shuffle, shuffle thump. I called again, a couple of times-I could hear her inching her way down the stairs until she appeared–and got a hug, and the chance to stir her chocolate milk, and dinner.
She came down by herself. She recovered herself. It felt big.
And later, when Wyatt got sent to his room for jumping on the couch, I reminded her–see, when you break a rule, you go to your room–and all was good.
And then Lily pushed me over the edge and got sent to her room for the whole rest of the night–but that’s another story.