Little Bear often has trouble listening. By trouble listening, I don't mean that she doesn't hear or doesn't pay attention to what someone asks her to do... although sometimes this is also the case. What I mean is that Little Bear doesn't want to listen, and often deliberately ignores what adults are telling her to do. Here is a recent example that happened a few days ago. I had warned Little Bear a few minutes ago that in five minutes she would need to clean up her toys because it would be time for Diana and Jimmy to come home. Jimmy walked into the house in the midst of my telling Little Bear for the fourth time in two minutes, "Go clean up now!"
Jimmy: "Did Nicki tell you to go clean up? You need to go do it, then."
Little Bear: "I will, in a minute."
Jimmy: "No, you need to do it now."
Little Bear: "But I'm doing something!" (She was playing with an ice cube...)
Jimmy: "Go clean up your toys."
Little Bear: "Not right now, I'm doing something!"
Jimmy: "If I have to say it again, you'll go to the corner."
Little Bear: "I'm doing something!"
Jimmy: "Okay, go to the corner now."
Little Bear: "Okay!" (Doesn't go to the corner.)
Jimmy: "Go to the corner, Little Bear!"
Little Bear: "I will, in a minute!"
(At that point, Jimmy takes Little Bear by the hand and physically escorts her to the corner.)
This is an example of how many interactions between Little Bear and adults go. I used this one because Jimmy and I had talked about it afterwards so it is fresh in my mind... whereas I don't generally go around memorizing my conversations with Little Bear word for word!
She also has trouble following directions for what to do... or more specifically, what not to do. For instance, if you tell her to stop doing something, she will keep doing it over and over again, while trying to convince you that she is not doing anything wrong. Or if she asks you if she can do something and you say no, she will argue loudly with you and have a temper tantrum until she ends up in the corner.
One thing I've started doing is saying something like, "I am telling you to stop. What should you do... keep doing it, or stop?" Usually, to my surprise, this actually works, because if she has to answer, "I should stop," then there seems to be nothing left to argue about. I Should probably use that tactic more often, I guess... and if she's definitely clear on what I'm telling her to do, and still refuses to do it, it should be straight to the corner. Right?
This post may actually make her seem rather tame and mild-mannered, but you have to remember that it goes on with anything at all that she doesn't want to do... and really, she doesn't want to do anything but watch TV and play with toys. That part is pretty normal... most kids would rather do nothing but watch TV and play with toys... but if you say something like, "Stop squeezing the dog's neck," then she should stop, right? Instead of continuing to squeeze the dog's neck while saying, "I'm just petting her! She's my dog! I'm just petting her!" Etc, etc, etc.
If I think about Little Bear objectively... for instance, if I was working in a school and she was a child who showed up in my class... I would probably think something like, "Hmm. I know that Little Bear's father is in prison. I know she's probably had a confusing life so far and is having a hard time. I should give her more positive attention and use 'positive behavioral intervention strategies.'" Or I might think, "I know Little Bear's father had ADHD and had a lot of behavioral problems. ANd Little Bear , liek her dad, is very hyperactive and energetic and has trouble slowing herself down. Maybe Little Bear just has a hard time controlling her impulses. I should try to find a way to teach her more self-control." I might even say, "Little Bear comes from a very busy household, and has several different adults in her life who take care of her much of the time. It seems like she's become pretty good at being manipulative to get her own way! I should probably be really firm and strict with her, so she sees that she cannot get away with acting like that here."
But as her auntie who takes care of her, often the only thing I can think of is, "Little Bear is driving me crazy today!"
By the way, don't forget to order your St. Patrick's Day Treasure Jars! Orders must be received by February 28th in order to be mailed out on time for St. Patrick's Day!