Sorting through a lot of issues right now. Little Girl is going through various stages of adjustment. At this point she seems to have stopped grieving for the loss of grandma in her life. She has moved on to full-blown temper tantrums, direct defiance, and intentional disobedience. She has an intense need to be in control.
This week I have worked hard at finding positive reinforcement for good behavior since time-out is about my only recourse in dealing with the misbehavior. I bought some little sticker charts that have room on them for 25 stickers. Each time she finishes one of her responsibilities without complaining and in a timely manner she gets to put a sticker on her chart. Her responsibilities include making her bed, brushing her teeth, getting dressed, picking up after herself, and folding washcloths. She also gets stickers for eating her meals without complaining and putting her dishes in the dishwasher. After her chart is full which only takes 4 or 5 days if she takes advantage of all her sticker opportunities, then she gets to buy something from my little store. I have all kinds of fun princess toys that she can choose from.
I was pretty discouraged after the first day because she chose only to get one sticker. She purposely decided she didn't want a sticker at each opportunity and told me so. I felt like it was a big flop. The second day though, she earned six stickers. The third and fourth days have been better then the first but not as good as the second. I'm hoping that after she gets to buy something from the store maybe she will be more motivated.
The behavior has been somewhat of a puzzle to me. I am trying to look at it and figure out what lies behind it all. Little Girl is in full control of what she is doing. It appears to be purposeful. I think some of it is motivated by fear and an uncertainty of whether she can trust us, but I am unsure how to address that issue. Fear will take time to overcome, just as trust will take time to build.
However, a lot of our struggle has to do with a simple lack of conscience. Little Girl cannot tell you why she should obey. I explain that God wants us to obey, but that is not meaningful to her. She does not have a reason to want to please him. I never realized what a disadvantage it can be for a child to not be raised knowing about God from the time they are tiny babies.
After a particularly rough morning this week, I was lying on her bed reading her a book. Before she took her nap I told her how much I loved her. She became teary, and she asked me, "Momma, was I listening to the serpent this morning?" She is beginning to recognize from her Bible stories that we have a choice to listen to the good or listen to the evil.
Pray for us as we continue to fill her mind with the Word of God. Pray that we will understand her struggles and that will have patience as we train and guide her. Pray that we can help her understand she can trust us and that she can feel safe here. Thank you in advance for those prayers. They mean so much!