December 09, 2009

The Santa Card

I have turned into that parent. You know... the one who uses Santa as a threat. As in: if you don't behave Santa will know.
I didn't want to do it, but I was at my wit's end. Hubby and I think our daughters have realized they outnumber us and are using this fact to their advantage. How else to explain why that "magical switch" everyone told me about didn't get flipped when they turned four? I was promised by numerous people that four would be so much nicer than three. Eh. Not really. They're more defiant. More willing to test boundaries. More likely to make me want to pull my hair out.
So then it happened. The other night Sue Sue was testing my patience and I told her Santa might have to put her on the naughty list. "No!" she wailed. "I want presents." (OK, I might have also mentioned that kids on the naughty list only receive lumps of coal for Christmas). BUT... ever since the threat of being on the naughty list was tossed out there, all four of them have been a little better behaved. Some days. Now what will I use when Christmas is over?


Stephanie Manner Wagner said...

I've picked up the phone to "call" Santa before in a desperate moment.

I'm by no means an expert, but perhaps after Christmas you take away the much desired pillow buddy thing for a specified amount of time or until they have earned it back with good behavior?

The mere mention of taking away one of my daughter's dolls for a day typically snaps her back to reality.

Stephanie B said...

I can't say it will help with all things, but I know that something that worked exceptionally well with my siblings was separation. Especially, ironically, for fighting.

If two kids started to wrangle with each other, nothing resolved it like forcing them to stay in separate rooms. Within minutes (if not seconds) they're each at the doorway, whispering with each other. With just my daughter, sending her to her room usually resulted in a handwritten apology (with illustrations). With my son, who is a real disciplinary challenge, sent to his room when he's throwing a fit is almost always the best medicine.

Not saying it will work, but you did ask for suggestions.

Rosemarie said...

I, too, have found myself playing the Santa card lately. My husband brought home that book "The Elf on the Shelf" and that seems to work, too! I don't do it often, but yes, I wonder what I will do once December 26th hits.

I also do a "toy time out" sometimes. That seems to get them more upset than when THEY go into timeout!

Anonymous said...

I don't play the Santa card often, but I have used it. I will explain what they need to do to stay on the Nice list and ask them how they think they measure up? Normally that will lead to an instant change in attitude when they themselves decide they are being very naughty.

I do give my kids time outs only when they are very naughty, but I have not tried Stephanie B's method. Am definitely going to try that next time they are impossible. Will look into The Elf on the Shelf as well!!

SLColman said...

Maybe the Easter Bunny wont bring them a basket card??

Quadmama said...

Like the Easter Bunny idea!!! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who uses the Santa Card.

reanbean said...

My kids are to young to understand the whole Santa Claus has a naughty and nice list thing. We've been reading books about Santa and Christmas, and Tiny will say "Santa's coming!" but she really doesn't know what she's in for. I'm hoping next year the anticipation of Christmas Day will be there and perhaps I'll play the Santa card a time or two if I feel it necessary. :o)

Quadmama said...

This is the first year my daughters have really had an understanding of what's about to happen. It should be a fun morning.

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