Implementing the Ticket Program


Hi, thanks for answering my question about my 4 year old. We are now on tickets for refusing to comply with requests, and for speaking rudely or being sassy to mummy/daddy (which only recently became a problem). We have removed her favourite bear, which we only do with bigger problems (she had been incredibly rude to me). We told her she will get the bear back when she gets 14 stickers in a row. She gets 1 sticker each day she gets to retain some tickets. Should rudeness/sassiness be a zero-tolerance? I have given her 5 tickets for a margin of error, given there are two main target behaviours.

Now she has started hiding under her blankets/crying sadly each time she loses a ticket or talked to sternly. She does seem genuinely distressed. I think she is genuinely scared of not seeing her bear for a long, long time. She tells us we expect her to be perfect and that she just can't do anything wrong at all. Partly, it is my fault for trying to correct too many things at the same time before I restarted the tickets. She has also said lots of things like "I feel you don't love me" and "I feel like I want to run away", to which I have told her jokingly "I'll help you pack your bags and find a new mummy and daddy and a new home". I'm not sure what to make of it! She seems frustrated and overwhelmed somehow. What exactly do you mean when you say 'muddle through with the rest of the behaviours not on the target list?' Do you mean ignore, or..just a few stern words?

I am also seeing a resurgence of tantrums/crying fits (but they are reasonably short) that took 3 months to cure her of! She had the habit of getting us into negotiations of all sorts (to get us to say yes to something, anything) then escalating if we refused to discuss. It fed the monster and so the only thing that worked was ignoring her outbursts, requests, negotiations and letting her cry loudly in her room. When grandma is visiting and she gets sent to her room for any reason at all (sometimes for snatching from her brother repeatedly), she throws a crying tantrum and asks tearfully if grandma will stay by the time she's out of her room. By the way, she's very clever and can be full of these sneaky tactics. Usually she makes her excuses so realistic that I never know if I should give her benefit of the doubt! So Grandma sees her upset, goes to her and stays in the room with her and calms her down. I was really unhappy though, because this was what I did initially and it just fueled the tantrums. Shall I ignore it for now? Grandma has got very defensive when I mentioned it. She thinks my daughter will outgrow a lot of her bad habits and that I am too strict. Any advice for dealing with reoccurrence of bad habits and with grandparent conflict?

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