If any of you remember the post Dilemma, you know I've struggled with Avery's naps. Only a few days out of the week, but enough to affect her behavior and inconvenience the rest of us who like to make public appearances every now and again =)
So here were my steps to try and solve her little resistance to sleeping.
First: She was so tired, and I was sick of listening to her whine on the days she didn't sleep that I tried using my authority as her parent to force her to sleep. I gave her consequences, she lost a lot of privileges and special toys, and she experienced times of isolation from the rest of the family.
Result: She started rebelling every time I put her down for a nap, not just the 2 or 3 days a week that she had been. She also started screaming in her bed as opposed to laying there quietly like she had been doing. This eventually began affecting her at night and every night Brent and I would sit and listen to her scream for 45 minutes. All in all, the sternness brought out the Avery we hadn't seen since she was a baby!
Monday morning, after a weekend of Avery being isolated from the family because she had gotten so out of control, I sat at the kitchen table and pleaded with God to give me some direction. I knew she needed the sleep; her behavior was proof of that. But I didn't know how to stop this downward spiral we had gotten on because when Avery feels backed into a corner, she fights. And when she starts fighting, she'll fight to the death. I wonder where she got her stubbornness from? =) I also knew I couldn't allow her to scream in her bed for 2 hours during nap because I had 4 other kids who needed to sleep. But at the same time, it had been such a battle that I couldn't take her out of her room so she thought she had won because then we would have to fight the battle even longer. I was clueless about what to do! The Lord was very faithful to answer and give direction to me that Monday morning. This is what the result has been this week.
Happy and Sad faces. 3 out of 5 happy faces isn't bad when you're on the road to recovery =) After her first 3 smiley faces, she even earned gum from the video store! She needs 4 more to earn her rocking chair back.
Looking back, I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner. I know Avery is a fighter. I know Avery does not respond well when she feels pressure. I know the way to her heart is through rewards and positive reinforcement. I mean we have charts and rewards things all over the house. I guess the desire and the ease of authoritarian parenting is always going to be appealing though. Its much more time consuming to tailor your parenting to the individual heart of the child. I guess its one more time that the Lord is teaching me that I definitely don't have it all together as far as parenting goes!