Hi Cathy, I live in New Zealand and have your book Happy Kids. It is very well written and I am using your useful tips. I have a couple of things I would like to ask you. The first is about the little girl, B, aged 4, I look after regularly on respite. Her mother sulks and it is rubbing off on her daughter, so that if I have a word with B or have to impose discipline she will stop what she is doing and sulk. My usual response is “B… stop sulking or I will put you in time out” but to me it doesn’t feel like the correct response. I have tried ignoring it but she will hide in a dark corner and not come out for a long time and I don’t feel right about that either. I am wondering what else I can do? The other issue is with B interrupting whenever I praise my son. I praise her too, often, but that doesn’t seem enough. I really hope you can give me some advice. Thanks very much
CG: Dear Kourtney, you are doing a good job and handling the situation firmly but sensitively. In respect of B’s sulking, I would make light of it by acting slightly surprised and moving on- e.g. ‘That’s a funny face, B..,’ then carry on with what ever you were doing. You are right when you say she shouldn’t be left hiding in a dark corner for any length of time, but if you are dismissive of her sulking – making light of it – this is less likely to happen as it won’t develop into an issue. In respect of her interrupting, I agree with your comments. Your son deserves his own praise. When B interrupts pause from what you are saying and without looking at B (thereby marginalizing her interrupting) say: ‘I’ll listen to you in a moment when I have finished talking to…..’ If she flounces off in a sulk, ignore it, and carry on as normal. But if she hides in a dark corner for more than ten minutes bring her out. As you have realized B’s behaviour is probably being learnt from her mother but it can be unlearned, although it will take time. Try the above, continue with the strategies you have been using and let me know how you get on. Cathy