I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal and there
are a million more in our yard, but the problem we’ve had lately with Chloe is
that she often destroys and ruins things because she can. She likes to shred paper up, she likes to take scissors to
cardboard pieces and she likes to pop the heads off of her little Polly
Pockets. My husband says he was the same way as a kid; he liked to take things
apart to see what was really going on in there.
I was a kid who couldn’t stand for something to look any differently than the
day I unwrapped it, it literally makes my skin crawl. Chloe’s leaf destroying
also rubbed me the wrong way because her little brother and I had been out
there for about 15 minutes collecting the best leaves we could find. To
watch her try to ruin it made my blood boil.
for Chloe to answer, but instead, she just shrugged her shoulders and tossed
them down. I took a deep breath. “Please don’t do that again. Just because it
doesn’t seem important to you doesn’t mean it isn’t important to anyone else.
I’ve also asked you not to destroy any of them, so being disobedient is being
disrespectful, OK?” She nodded her head, gave me a thumbs-up and went on her
She couldn’t stand being told “no,” so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Her 4-year-old brother, Trey, and I started collecting more leaves to add to our
pile. “LOOK, SAMMY!” He shouted. “Red! Red means STOP. I gotta find a green and
yellow one now.” I smiled at him and just as I turned around to add the leaves
in my hands to our pile, I watched as Chloe snatched one out of the collection
and, without hesitation, dunked it into the mud puddle.
guys. This is where I feel like the “parenting instincts” I should have fail me.
Because when she deliberately disobeys me, but there’s no danger and no one has
been hurt in the process, what am I supposed to do?
Of course I
said something to her. I asked her what in the world she was doing and she just
stood there. It’s maddening because, unfortunately, Chloe has had a huge
disobedience issue the last few months and there’s really nothing else we can
think to do. We’ve taken away her television, we’ve taken away toys and we’ve
sent her to bed early. She missed out on a big family outing with my dad and
had to stay home with me instead. She’s been in more time-outs than I can even
count, and we’ve lectured her until we’re all blue in the face. She just doesn’t
seem to care anymore.
So I told
her what I knew would work. I told her that I didn’t think she was a bad kid,
but if she continued to act like this, everyone was going to think she was a
brat. “That was bratty behavior,” I told her. Immediately, she started crying
and ran back in the house.
I felt like
hell afterward for saying it. I knew she was in her room, crying because I had
called her a brat, but I could think of nothing else to get through to her in
that moment. She deliberately disobeyed me and purposely tried to ruin
something Trey and I had. She couldn’t stand being told “no,” so she decided to
take matters into her own hands. And, because she can’t justify it or give me a
reason as to why, I have to assume she just does it because she doesn’t care
about anything I’ve said.