4 yo Wrecking Bedroom


My almost-5-year-old daughter is well-rounded and generally very sweet. Sometimes when things don't go her way, however, she switches and has a meltdown. We have been using the ticket system in our home for over a year. Each time she exhibits one of her target behaviors, she loses a ticket and stands with her face in the corner for 5 minutes. We have found that "the corner" is much more effective for our kids than time out in a chair. If she doesn't go into the corner nicely or leaves/plays around while she is supposed to be there, she loses all her tickets and is confined to the bathroom for the remainder of the day (except for eating and chores). My husband and I are very consistent and speak to her in an unemotional, matter-of-fact way. We aren't interested in getting into a power struggle with a four-year-old.

She has one book and one very small toy of her choice in the bathroom with her and then she gets different ones every 1-2 hours. After about 30 minutes of sitting on the bathroom rug she begins to get into mischief. She gave herself a mild electric shock using a metal hair clip that she put in a socket (she can easily remove baby-proof covers). She de-grouted the base of our toilet using a toy plastic key. She pulled down the entire shower curtain rod. She's put things in the toilet and climbed into the pedestal sink. The list goes on and on. We've tried confining her to her bedroom and removing everything but essentials but she still finds plenty to keep herself occupied. She will bend her mini-blinds, chew on her furniture, scratch the walls, climb up the closet shelves, etc... If she does any of these mischievous things, she is confined to her room the next day as well. Sometimes she's had several days in there before she got her act together.

We think this is all her way of trying to get attention. She has quite a history of being very strong-willed. (example: She'd rather go a day and a half without any food rather than eat a single blueberry that she was served at breakfast. It's not that she doesn't like blueberries, she just doesn't want to do as we say.)

1. After she loses a ticket, should I give her five minutes to vent/cry/cool-down in her bedroom before putting her in the corner? I want my kids to know that it's OK to be angry and to have feelings, but not OK to misbehave as a result of them.

2. Should I "stay the course" with what I am doing or change things up?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you.

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