As our children age, our topics of conversation as parents change. We progress from discussing sleeping to eating to discipline and so on. If unsure of our approach on a matter, or in need of a “second opinion”, we turn to books and to each other.
When you have a special needs child with unknown abilities, the area of discipline can be very tricky. For most people, the first child bears the brunt of the experimentation with new parents, but there is a level of certainty with the children that follow. This has not been the case for us. I fumbled my way through Virginia’s toddler years, but rather than being able to pull from that experience with Kimberly, I am at a loss.
Virginia is quick to point out discrepancies whenever possible. Slather on another layer of guilt, thank you very much. Yes, Virginia, I know Kimberly gets away with far more than you. Yes, I realize I have asked her 5 times to clean up the mess she made, and she is ignoring me. The question is, how do you punish the child who doesn’t really care all that much if you threaten to take something away, not allow future fun activities, or raise your voice in obvious anger and frustration?
Motivation is hard to come by for Kimberly. This applies to discipline as well as school work. Her teacher learned quickly that keying in on whatever passing fancy she may have is critical to encouraging her cooperation. Often without that tactic Kimberly will simply refuse to participate. Maddening? Oh yes, it most certainly is.
As she grows, being able to simply scoop her up and put her where you want her, or hold her still to get dressed or brush teeth is becoming more and more challenging. I am encouraged to insist on Kimberly being more independent…I agree with this, but the reality is that when we have a place to be or things to do I cannot wait for her to cooperate. I want her to want to do as I ask and to fear losing privileges so that I have leverage. Without it, I am lost in my ability to effectively discipline her.
I am not quite sure why, but she currently cooperates when I place her in “time out” on the stairs. I am shocked by this and admit I am waiting for this to pass. One day, I will place her there and she will simply get up and walk off. For the time being though, I am rolling with it. The only semblance of typical discipline I have available….here’s to hoping it lasts!