What to Do for Consequence for Behavior?

Updated on December 21, 2009
C.S. asks from North Lawrence, OH
9 answers

Hello Mama's. I am needing some strong guidance right now. My ordinarily well-behaved daughter has been, well, venturing to the other side of being a kid. The other day she took her stamper and stamped an entire wall. I made her help wash it off and took all her stampers as consequence. Just a little bit ago she snuck past me ( I was in the laundry room taking care of a mess madeby kitty's) and I told her to stop. Needless to say she did not and proceeded to her bedroom and shut the door. In the length of time it took me to put all things down and get out of the room I found her in her bedroom cutting the hair off a Lee Middleton doll she just recieved two weeks ago for her b-day!!

Now, she has been spoken to about cutting anything but paper with my permission as she has previously cu her own hair. When this doll came into the house there was something said about cutting this doll's hair and my daughter was gain spoken to about the correct use of scissors etc. All scissors are put up but she is able to get the down regardless. I never thought she would go so far as to do something like this.

I have since removed all scissors from inside the house, I have taken all dolls and all stuffe animals (the animals because she has more of an attachment to them and felt a strnger impact by their removal). I also had her "put laundry away"- socks and undies. And she was spoken to about what she did and why it was so wrong.

How long do I keep her things and was this enough??? Christmas is knocking and I am hurt by her behvior in the last couple days- today in particular. I did not yell, scream or hit. I reacted quickly to getting the scissors and putting her on a barrel (equal to what some would consider a time out spot). I went to my room and had a real good cry and came back to her and addressed how badly she behaved etc. She was quickly made to remove the items previously mentioned and to do some "chores" all the while being reminded of why.
What else should I do? Was this enough? My mind is spinning as a result of her recent behavior!!!

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So What Happened?

After some sleep and some time away from the incident I feel very comfortable with the actions taken with my daughter. To clarify, yes, my daughter uses safety scissors- always supervised. She has been learning skills that will be needed for school and well, it is something she needs to learn period and does quite well. My daughter has "craft" time everyday, sometimes all day. Thanks to the mom who caught on to the fact that my daughter chose to be sneaky about her actions, this was NOT a random act of mischief.

While she is only four years old she is quite understanding of what she did (both the sneaking and cutting) and communicated such without provocation that she chose to be sneaky about what she did because she knew she was not permitted to 1) have the scissors without permission and 2) cut the dolls hair.

Regarding showing emotion- my daughter was not in the room when I had my cry but was aware that I was upset. Very little was said and no emotion was shown when immediate action was taken. While the actions taken by me may not be appropriate for all four year olds I ultimatley think it was suited for mine. It has brought awareness to her regarding her behavior and attitude in general. Yes, she is four and yes, she is to some degree going through a phase but she has also learned where my limitations are and what we expect from her in terms of behavior and attitude at least regarding this situation. In her own way she has further communicated her understanding of this applies in many different ways and has been exploring hypothetical situations and how someoneit might affect others. I might add she has explored this from within her own thought.

My daughter is much aware of emotions of others and how people affect one another. Ordinarily she is a kid who naturally operates in awareness of others. Because this was her doll and her terms she had no idea that the cutting would be bothersome to anyone else but she WAS aware the sneaking would. We have found the quick removal of cherished items was most effective and she volunteered ideas later that day as to how she could regain her lost items. She since has regained all but a few prized animals and the doll she cut. Upon receiving the items she exclaimed a sense of pride in having redeemed herself.

Because my daughter is sensitive we did not have to nor would we have used Santa as a tool. If ordinarily she were a challenging kid it would be an option to consider. In short, with the communication that has taken place I feel for our daughter the consequence fit the bill. Not sure what I would have done if she weren't such a mature thinker...

While it is good for her to earn her things back the fact she took it upon herself to really think about what happened was enough for me to give her the things removed. I will have to really start thinking for future purposes age appropriate things for her to earn priveleges when lost. We are on our way to the life lesson of freedom of choice but not of consequence. The fun has just begun.

Thanks Mama's!!

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answers from Indianapolis on

How old is she?

If she's old enough to use scissors, I'd say she's old enough to understand the impact of Christmas (or perhaps not having the Christmas she was hoping for). She seems to be old enough to understand that her actions have consequences.

Personally, I'd almost say let her see you cry so she understands the impact of her behavior on you. It sounds like she's pushing you to see what her limitations are and how much she can get away with.

Good luck.

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answers from South Bend on

Hello and Merry Christmas. I feel your pain. I have a nine yearold and who was once just like your daughter so there is hope that she will grow out of it. But to help me through the trying times was not just my usual glass of wine. When she was about four nothing seemed to impact her as far as discipline. As dr Phil would put it, "I couldn't find her currency." Well, Desperate House Wives brought to life a wonderful tactic that I thought I would try. I programmed into my cell Santa's number. It was actually my mother's. Well, Mrs. Clause was born. When I could not make an impact upon her I would say," Alright, you have given me no other choice but to call Mrs Clause." I would proceed to tell my mom, the issue, right infront of my daughter and then hand her the phone. My mom has this wonderful old lady voice that she uses and boy does she lay it on thick. Usually around the first of October I put the number in under Santa so I can use this tactic for a good three months. However at four, kids dont understand months so you could start now and continue right on until your "Mrs. Clause" gets sick of you. Good luck and I hope you find something that works.

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answers from Elkhart on

Just to let you know - this is probably fairly typical behaviour for 4 year olds. You're doing well in giving appropriate consequences, though I'd advise not overdoing the "talking". Deal with it and move on. I'd be more concerned about any sneakiness and about anything that looks like she's deliberately doing things she knows she shouldn't.
I do have another issue here though, not with your post, but with some of the responses - I've noticed in this forum before, people advising other moms to lie to their children. Moms, please don't ever lie to your kids! Even if it helps control behaviour in the short term, you are setting yourself and your kids up for a lifetime of mis-trust and dishonesty! They need to know that YOU are their mom, and you love them enough to do what it takes to help them learn appropriate behaviour. We cannot expect to lie to our kids and then have them be honest with us about their actions when they are older.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

She's four. I don't understand why you are so upset, to the point of tears, that she cut her dolls hair. It's just a doll. No, it's not right that she did it, but it's nothing to have a major meltdown over. It sounds, at least according to this post, like she's had a few major incidents of being bad. That's not a big deal, trust me! I babysit a little girl who is constantly bad. I think you handled the consequences right though. Taking everything away was a good idea! I would make her earn her things back. She has to help for 4 days before she can have her things back. (4 b/c she is four..) If she's good and helps for the 4 days, then she gets her stuff back. Or you could give her a certain number of things back at the end of each day. I would never ever let her see you break down like that though. It's going to make her feel like she's a bad kid. Seeing your mom cry over something you did (even though it was a bad thing) can be really really traumatizing to a kid.



answers from Cleveland on

She is four, and she is testing your limits. I can understand that this behavior is frustrating, but be careful not to "overdo" your reaction and her punishment. I would keep it quick and simple. An explanation of what she did wrong and what her consequence will be. I think that taking away all her dolls/animals plus chores and multiple reminders of what she did wrong might be too much. If she stamps something she's not supposed to, I'd take away the stamps and give her a time out, explaining once at the beginning and once at the end why she is in time out. If she then cuts the doll's hair, no more doll or scissors and another time out. She will learn in time that there are consequences for behaviors. Remember that she is watching everything you do. If she sees that something really gets your goat, you can bet that she will repeat the behavior when she's feeling mischievous. In my experience, the simpler the punishment with the least amount of talking and emotion works best. Good luck!



answers from Fort Wayne on

Well, I DO understand why you're so upset. If my daughter cut the hair of one of her American Girl Dolls I would throw a FIT! Anyway, I don't think that taking away the tool she uses when she gets in trouble is the answer. I think that what that does is teach her to be creative, like "well, so what that mom took that away, I can find something else to play with". There was one time that my daughter asked me if she could cut the hair of one of her barbie fashion heads. She rarely played with it so I told her sure. Well, a few weeks later, she came out with a bratz doll that she had hacked all the hair off of. The big deal over things like this does not come from the fact that it's just a doll. It comes from the fact that they were never told they had permission to do something destructive to it. When my daughter handed me her Bratz, I said "did you have permission to do this?" She said no, and so I explained to her why it was wrong, and as a punishment I literally cleaned out one whole side of her room with all her dolls in it. She had to go without any of those things for a couple of weeks. This end of the day stuff is ridiculous. What kind of punishment is that? If all a kid has to do is hold out til the end of the day, EVERYTHING would be worth doing! Also, for that particular doll that she cut the hair off of, just explain to her that you're going to hold onto it until she's old enough that she feels she can handle the responsibilities of taking care of her. Let her decide when she is able to take her back. If she forgets, oh well, but I'd make her wait atleast a week.


answers from Columbus on

I feel for you! That must be frusterating. I know that there have been times in raising my 3+ kids, I have truly thought they were lsoing their minds right along with me! LOL! I know that sometimes kids just need to assert their will. They push the boundaries to see what happens. Your daughter being 4, may be a little past that age, but it could still happen. However, the other thing I thought was that she may be needing some attention - even if it's negative. If you've been really busy lately with Chrismtas prep stuff, she may feel it. If things in your house are different or out of whack, that may be why she's needing to regain some control. If it were me, I'd be doing exactly what you are...taking her things and making her clean up what she messes. Sometimes, it seems when I am too over-bearing "warning" my kids about cleaning up, being good, etc. it actually backfires. Have you been talking a lot about being "good" so santa comes? I'm not sure you'll find a reason for her behavior, but keep doing what you are - there has to be consequences. One thing that seems to really get to my kids is going to bed early. I can take away the wii, toys, games, etc. and it seems to have to effect. But, when I tell them they are going to bed even 15 minutes earlier that night, they are upset. My kids are older, but it works better for us than taking material things away. You'd have to be sure to make the connection from the behavior that day and why she's going to bed early. That might be a little harder with a 4 year old, but if the taking of her dolls, etc. doesn't work, it's an option.
Have you tried to exlain how it hurts your feelings when she misbehaves?
Good luck!!!



answers from Terre Haute on

Sounds like you are being appropriate. Remain consistant. Did you think to ask why she did it?
she is only 4 so even a day seems like a life time.
I believe you judge it on how long you feel is acceptable.
Is this the first of her misbehaving?
Can you think of any reason she would be acting up? Did something change in your household? or is she showing her independence?
Many children cut hair/ theirs and their dolls.
she sounds like a creative child. does she have time where she can use the stickers on paper and time to practice her cutting? She will need these skills in kindergarten - like cutting on a line. How about starting fresh each day and setting aside time for her to get these skills. Could you make her feel like she is really helping such as we really need decorations for christmas could you cut out these shapes?
Best wishes.



answers from Youngstown on

I to feel this is just a fase she will outgrow. My twin girls went thro a very bad attitude fase about this age. THey just push boundries to see what they can get away with. Just lay down the law and be consistant with punishment, and she will outgrow this. My girls did to and now they are lovly well behaved children.

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