I have an eight year old granddaughter who comes to visit me for spring break, Christmas break, and summer. She lives out of state and her mother likes John Rosemond's wisdom, so we work together. My granddaughter will ask if she can do something, or I will tell her she can't do something, and when I say no she turns right around nonchalantly and does it anyway. Last time she did it, I nonchalantly informed her that she was staying in with me and we were cleaning the house, which we did. Her attitude is huffy and she folds her arms and says things like "really" when she doesn't get her way or is asked to do something. Her mom, my husband, and I are all in the process of reading John's book, "The Well Behaved Child," so we are on the same page, but her mother admittedly has been lax on consistency and is working to improve. Is there anything we should do to nip the attitude? Thank you!
The fact that your daughter likes John's wisdom and that you, your husband and your daughter are working together to follow his philosophy is commendable. It would be a much more problematic situation if all of you were on different pages regarding behavior expectations for your granddaughter. Consistency is key to successful discipline.
It is not acceptable for your granddaughter to disobey your directives. Making her stay inside with you and clean the house was an acceptable response to her disobedience. As far as the 'huffy' attitude and folding of the arms when she doesn't get her way (or is asked to do something), you have a couple of choices. If your granddaughter is trying to get a reaction out of you, you may try ignoring her shenanigans. When she sees that her antics are not getting the intended response, she may decide it's not worth it to continue. On the other hand, if her reactions are overt and continual, I suggest implementing one of John's behavior plans as outlined in chapter 3 of The Well-Behaved Child. For ages 8-12, John generally recommends starting with weekly charts (pages 85-88). Keep in mind that successful discipline is not accomplished by merely manipulating consequences. It is about providing proper leadership combined with unconditional love.
The Well-Behaved Child has a wealth of good information. Chapter 2, The Seven Fundamentals of Effective Discipline, highlights a number of helpful principles as well as the importance of Alpha Speech (p.21). Say what you mean and mean what you say. With clear expectations and meaningful consequences, an attitude adjustment should not be too difficult to accomplish. Lastly, keep in mind that it is your granddaughter that should be feeling the pain of her inappropriate behavior, not you.
Wishing you the best,
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
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