Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ground rules

Last week I was at my wit's end with my girls. The seemingly constant whining, bickering, disobeying and downright negative attitudes were enough to drive me completely insane!

So on Wednesday morning last week, when they were upstairs brushing their teeth before school and yet another fight ensued, I lost it.

"That's it!" I bellowed. "You're both grounded. For a full week!!"

This was new to them as they have never officially been grounded before. They've had a loss of privileges for a short time, but usually only one thing at a time - no Wii or no having friends over, that kind of thing - and only for a couple of days. But this time I was serious. No friends, no TV, no Wii or no computer.


For a full week.

{Gulp!} What did I get myself into???

As it turns out, it was really a very great thing. They were both upset at me while heading off to school that morning - and Joelle still humphed at me upon coming home later that afternoon - but it wasn't long into Wednesday evening where they made the best of their situation.

They were much more obedient, they were playing nicely together - and with toys and imaginations that had all but been forgotten lately - and were just much more pleasant to have around. I breathed a sigh of relief that Day 1 had gone much better than I had anticipated.

As Day 1 turned into Day 2 and Day 2 turned into Day 3 I really could not believe the change in these girls. No, they weren't perfect - but they had done a real turn-around from what things had been like before. And they didn't even complain about their punishment. There was no begging for their privileges back (as I had made it very clear that it wasn't going to happen) and no feet stomping or doors slamming.

(On Day 3 though, Joelle did say that she thought it had been long enough - they had learned their lesson already. Uh...nice try sweetie!)

Other than that though, it really went very smoothly. Sunday afternoon was one of my favorite times; they played outside together for close to 3 hours, just the two of them. It was pure bliss. There were actually even times where they said they liked being grounded! I think it was that they were giving themselves the opportunity to be creative. Now, this isn't to say that before this grounding act that all they did was sit in front of screens - far from it actually. Wii is usually kept for the weekends when Daddy's home to play it with them and they don't go on the computer much more than once a week - if that.

The television is a bit more of our downfall, I will admit. It's so easy to just kill a bit of time that way. If I'm busy making supper and the girls are restless or just not getting along, it's so easy to just tell them to watch a 1/2 hour show until supper's ready. Or if I'm cleaning up from supper and making lunches for the next day. Or if they need a bit of unwinding time right before bed. Just little snippets here and there...but they all add up.

But over the past 7 days we have spent a lot of time doing other things with those snippets. Continuing to work on the puzzle-in-progress on the dining room table. Reading more books. And having dance parties - lots and lots of dance parties!

I will confess though...I cheated once. The grounding was supposed to officially go until Wednesday morning - but yesterday (on the last night) I caved and let them watch a bit of TV. In my defense, Malia was feeling rotten and I just wanted her to be able to rest. And with Joelle being a bit extra-hyper, it just wasn't a good combination. But it was my own decision and not because of begging on their part. As soon as I said it though, I regretted it. I only had 2 hours left to go and I would've been home-free...but alas, I screwed up. I won't beat myself up over it though. I did what I thought was the right thing at the time I verbally said it. Whether it was or not is not important because I can't go back and change it now.

All in all though, I'm proud of all 3 of us. Proud of me for sticking to my guns and proud of them for dealing so well with their week-long sentence. And here's hoping that they will have actually learned their lesson. At least now they know what it feels like to be grounded, so if I remind them of the consequences, hopefully they will take it to heart and fix what needs to be fixed before it goes this far again.


pam said...

Good for you for sticking with it! I sometimes threaten to take away Annika's tv time, but I'll admit that I'm scared to actually go through with it because it would be more of a punishment for me than for her, most likely!

Jo said...

Totally on board with this idea! In our house my kids probably watch a video or show once a week, and maybe play Wii once or twice a month. Because it's so limited, they next to never ask for it. And while they do have the occasional disagreement, they mostly play so well together, and use great imagination in the things they play!

Leeann said...

My TV is always on. Even when no one is watching it. Dora the Explorer is engrained in my skull. I think she's our 8th family member. ;)

Good for you! I don't know that I would have the strength to stick it through, but you're right....when all they have to depend on is each other, they get along fabulously! Good job, Momma!

LaughingLady said...

Way to stick to your guns! I'm not sure I could have handled enforcing a full week like that!! Sounds like it was a good week for all of you.

You better watch it though ~ they might start coming up with more ways to get themselves grounded!! ;)

Jackie said...

impressive andrea! that couldn't have been easy! maybe my girls need some grounding too...