Oh, we've been battling a few more self-control (or rather, lack of) problems lately with a certain little girl. Things have been going VERY well...but lately, well....I'll blame it on the changing of the seasons.
Regardless, the attitude comes out, the yelling and screaming and crying. First step is to firmly let her know that it is NOT acceptable (in a nice, calm, firm voice....unlike the voice in my head at the time....) and to change the attitude, take deep breaths, get control of herself....that usually just sparks a bigger outburst, so the next step is sending her to the "naughty step" until her heart and attitude change. That is followed by a slammed door and stomping feet and hysterical sobs. Until she realizes she isn't going to get her way. Then, one of two things will happen.
Louder sobs and screams. The threat of a spanking followed by her threat of "if you spank me, I'll just cry LOUDER!" which is followed by the reminder that if she gets louder and more out of control, she'll just get ANOTHER spanking. She knows it's true...it's happened before, so that usually puts an abrupt end to HER threats.
(By the way, Aunt Beth, did you REALLY tell my kids that spankings are when you beat your kids?????)
The other thing that will happen (if it isn't the louder sobs and screams...), is a little girl quickly falling in a heap, asking "but do you KNOW why I'm crying?" Somehow my answer of "because you aren't getting your way and you wish you were" does nothing to appease her....nor is it the answer she's looking for. "Because Jesus....Jesus....Jesus DIED!"
Sigh. The first time this happened, I melted. I reminded Susanna that Jesus ISN'T dead any more. He is waiting for us in Heaven. And He loves us very much. She continued to sob and tell me, "But I miss Him SOOO MUCH!!!" And that was my mistake.
Mistake, you say? Reminding a child that Jesus isn't dead? Yes, mistake. Now she pulls that all the time. However, my answer has changed. Slightly. I again reassure her that Jesus ISN'T dead...but if He didn't die, she'd be going to hell for her behavior. Okay, yeah, maybe that sounds a bit harsh to tell a four year old. But...that usually stops her in mid-sentence, although sometimes the sobs continue. For a few more minutes at least, especially as I walk away with the reminder, "when the attitude changes, you can come back in." Then....
A smiley tear-stained faced little girl comes in, gives me a big hug, climbs on my lap and says, "Mama, I love you SO MUCH! And I love, Jesus, too! Please forgive me for being disrespectful."