My 8 year old daughter is very disrespectful and defiant, no consequence phases her...help!

Kim - posted on 04/12/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

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She has a chore chart, and I remind her to look at it, or remind her of a chore and she is lazy and doesn't want to put her clothes in the hamper, for example and just piles them on top. I tell her I am taking her clothes away-she is always getting clothes at her dad's house whenever she wants, so she doesn't care. I have told her if I have to remind her of her chores or remind her to look at her chart for chores that she missed that cannot be missed-like giving the dog water, for example, there will be a consequence...it's happened, she doesn't care. I take away tv, and she cares for a minute, then it doesn't matter. I took away her favorite 2 dolls because she threw them when I asked her to make her bed, so she screamed and then 10 minutes later said, ok, can we give them to the kids at the shelter who don't have any dolls then? Nothing seems to bother her, and she keeps being disrespectful and defiant. To top it off, my partner is ALWAYS making excuses for her behavior and arguing with me about giving consequences. She has a consequence of giving a 1$ every time she leaves a light on in the house...like leaves her room light on and comes to eat dinner-she's not going back to her room for a while, so the light should be off. She is now up to $30, and she got 30$ from her grandpa the other day, just because-no reason. I said, you can pay your light bill now, and my partner says, we are not taking all of the $...I said, she knows that is the rule, but it's not happening. Yesterday, I went over her homework with her, and then she brought it to me 4 times with the same wrong answers, and wants me to tell her the right answers. I am not going to tell her the answers, because she will not learn that way. I am am in constant communication with the teacher, who tells me they go over the homework instructions in school as well, as it's practice for what they learned in school. She crumpled up her homework, screamed and cried and stomped out of the room, so she had to go to her room for 8 minutes. There is nothing that seems to bother her, as far as consequences go-it bothers her for about a minute, and then she doesn't care. At school, she has trouble following directions with assignments, and will get VERY easily distracted by others or things. Sometimes she will ask me what the consequence will be if she doesn't listen...just to see if she cares about it or not! I ALWAYS follow through with my consequences, but my partner does not-she does not want to give her consequences because then she thinks she being a bad mom...I try to explain to her that NOT giving consequences is actually worse, but she feels bad, so she babies her quite a bit, and WE end up arguing! I'm so frustrated with my disrespectful and defiant 8 year old-Help-what do I do!?

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Jo-Ann - posted on 04/12/2011

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Hi Kim,
Wow, you must be exhausted trying to find something that she will respond to! In my experience, especially with AS kids, you have to find their "currency" and then set up a system they will buy into. I have found that punitive systems simply don't work for most of these kids, but have had great success with token economy systems when coupled with endless positive re-enforecement. You may want to try re-framing your current expectations. You can keep your current chore chart, but I would add behavioral expectations to it too. Then, instead of "fining" her or punishing her for NOT doing certain things, pay her for the things she does - with a token economy. I've used everything from poker chips to toy money, depending on the age of the child. Our AS kids are way too bright to simply work for "chips" though! What you need to make this work is to let her feel she is in control of what she gets out of the deal. When I've started this program I usually make them purchase EVERY SINGLE THING! This requires some time and effort on your part, but the rewards are so worth it. Set a payment amount for each chore, for example 10 chips for cleaning her room, 10 chips for taking care of the animals, 20 chips for completing homework on time etc. working from her current chore list. Also add things like x-amount for using kind words, x-amount for being extra helpful etc. Now the fun begins - setting up her "store". This can include everything and anything you wish, but emphasize experiences, like an hour uninterupted time with Mom, play-dates with friends, a visit to relatives etc. for 20+ points, soda/candy/treats/deserts etc, tv time, outside play time etc - whatever her "currency" is, meaning anything that you think she may want or enjoy. Also charge for "homework help" and charge tokens for real money/allowance. The trick to making this work is unfortunately not an easy one - it requires you do not respond to disrespect, disobedience or negative behaviors with anything more than a simple 2-minute time out. That means NO discussion, NO raised voices, NO penalties or fines, and once the time-out is done, it's done! Make no mistake, she WILL test you, but once she buys into it, and if you are consistent and encouraging you will see changes and have a much more peaceful home! This approach comes from Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach ( 9780967050706): by Howard Glasser, Jennifer Easley. It has worked for every child I've worked with - amazingly!
Good luck!

Sumele - posted on 04/14/2011

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I'm sorry but I have to disagree with most of the suggestions that were posted this far regarding your daughters behavioral issues. It sounds to me like all she needs is good old fashioned punishment and not these "consequences" you've mentioned. I don't think that you need to change your rules or expectations from her because after all she is YOUR child and she needs to respect the rules you've laid out for her. Youre not supposed to bend your rules to where she wants them. If she doesnt want to do her homework properly (and your sure she can and is just being lazy) then have her do until he gets it right! And as for Louise, have u ever thought that maybe your son behaved the way he does now because you didn't put your foot down when he younger? My suggestion would be to find the right balance between love and discipline to make sure that she doesn't turn into one of these disrespectful teens that we so often see today

Louise - posted on 04/12/2011

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It sounds to me that may be you have gone to far. Take a step back from the situation if you are this hard on her for leaving a light on what are you going to do when she is a teenager and they leave all the lights on and their computers and x boxes and boom boes excetra. She is 8 years old maybe you need to relax a bit with her and just punish her for doing dangerous things. I am a believer that children do need a chore chart and should help around the home but not to the extent that she has so many jobs she has to look at the chart to remember. Telling a child that you are going to give her toys away is not right, these are her belongings. Is it really that terrible to put her clothes on top the hamper and not in it. You wait until she is a teen I can't see my sons floor but it is his space and when he runs out of clothes he has to pick them all up and wash them himself. Try and let go the reins a little you must be stressed out to the max all the time and so must she. If she refuses to make her bed it is not the end of the world is it, she has to sleep in an unmade bed. Stop disciplining her for the stuff she does not do but overly praise her for the stuff she does do. It is human nature to want to please people so if you praise her for making her bed she is more inclined to do it next time around. Take a deep breath and see what you could live with, stop all the petty punishments and just disciplin for things like back chat and rudeness not for not putting things in the correct place.

Karen - posted on 02/18/2012

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As the mother of 2 stepchildren 3 biological children 3 with special needs (schizophrenia, autism and aspergers) and 2 "normal" whatever that is lol I can tell you that what worked for all of them was to sit down and have them choose the consequences of doing or not doing what is asked of them for example putting clothes in laundry all week means they get to choose the movie/activity/game for that friday night for the family or not feeding/watering the pet results in loss of screens (tv, computer, handheld games anything with a screen for the weekend. Having them decide thier own reward or consequences means they are involved and more likely to do or not do whatever.

JuLeah - posted on 04/14/2011

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Kids want to get along. They want to please. They want to have a happy life. They want to be liked and included.
If their behavior is interfering with that, there is a reason.
All behavior serves a function; helps to meet a need. If the need is great, the behavior will not go away unless replaced with another that will meet the same need.
There is a reason, I promise you, that your child is acting like this. And, she is just one person in this equation. All people play a role, all people have a part. All will likey need to make changes to acheive the goals you want.
Were she mine, I'd start with diet. Is she eating sugar? Dyes? Chemicals? ... I can't tell you how many time I have seen out of control behavior simply disapear when the (inserte whatever affected that kid) did.
One kid I knew was alergic to gluten. He went from a dignoses of AS to .... no behaviors of concern.
I'd look at sleep. She needs 10 hours a night at least and lack of sleep can impact behavior in a BIG way.
I'd look into counsloing for her ... she is clearly not happy about something ... maybe you could go as a family?
Have you spoken with her teachers? Are they noticing the same things you are? You mention a lack of attention, but have are they concerned?
Maybe you and your partner can take a parenting class together, check a book or two out of the library and get on the same page .... likey with you relaxing a bit and her getting a bit more firm.
Many of the points made in prior posts are worth your time to reread .... your child is attempting to tell you something very important and she is using the only language she has, her beahvior. So, try to listen and good luck

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ok so my daughter is 8 in 2nd grade and has her dad and i t our whits ends im not even kidding she has simple chores she has to do the cat litter feed the cat and dog and water them as well as her pet rats she has to keep her bathroom and bedroom clean now im not military style she doesnt have to make her bed but she has to keep trash picked up her laundry needs to be in the hamper and clothes need put up properly she also has to help with dishes and laundry if needed we have been dealing with this behavoir for 2 years now she wont shut her mouth in class she trys to punish kids b4 the teacher can and even while the teacher can she is always getting bad marks from school up until this last semester she was all As abd Bs now hr grade are dropping and she is getting in trouble for talking in class all the time she just wont shut her mouth is the bottom line i dont think chores at this age is to much at all its called teaching your kids to be responcible and pick up thier own messes which she did all her life until last year she try to get out of her chores every day she sweeps stuff under stuff hides clothes in her room if you can thinkof it she has tried it not to mention she lies all the time in the last 2 years we have takin everything out of her room she didnt care she was grounded she didnt care and she has had spanking she still didnt care and still is doing the same things i will not get rid of her chores as i am trying to raise a productive responsible member of society not a lazy slobe that waits for mommy or when they get older thier spouseor employer (if they are lucky enough to get one)clean up thier messes the real world isnt filled with fluffy clouds and candy and you dont get rewarded for doing the right thing you go to jail or get fines for doing the wrong thing thats life and thats what im trying to prepare her for so the whole reason im on here is bc we had another incedent tonight now you may call me cold for what i just said a momonet a go but my little girl just flat out told me she doesnt do it bc she doesnt want to and her friends parents just do it for them after they mess it up a few times this is why she broke all of daddy elvis glasses over 3 months times she was hoping he would never make her do dishes again which didnt work but not for lack of her trying she said she has been doing this all along WOW so my kid is just smart and extramly stuborn and doesnt know when to cut her losses kids are very smart and will remember what they want to hold the bar high and they will stay high is how i feel now not to high but if you have the bar on the floor and pick up after them well you are raising a person heading for well nothing they are lazy and disrespectful we are very open to dress hair color music ect our little girl is a punky type and we have no problem with that as long as she is not showing body parts like mid drift ect we have 3 main rules in this house everything else is negotible no lying ( which includes stealing and not telling the whole truth) use manners and be respectful to other and do what you are told we try to give her room to find herself but that has nothing to do with breaking house rules now i have no clue where we will go from here with her im thinking about the home boot camp i found on another site but i do know i have to break her and i hate to say that but she needs to know now b4 its to late that mommy and daddy will always win up until she started school she was the perfect kid she never had terrible 1,2,,3 or 4 s she has table manners and always addresses someone my ma am or sir but scense kindergarden she has slowly lost her mind to be honest i think its being around other kids who parents well there isnt a nice way to say this are lazy dont care or baby thier kids and just so its clear the state we live in which has one of the wrst school systems in the country hold the kids more responsible for thier things then some of the parents on her checking a kids back pack b4 they go to school to make sue they have thier stuff come on not in this house she can learn by getting in trouble at school thats why there is a punisment at the school its bc they are trying to teach the kids what the parents arnt doing at home which is self responsibilty i wish you luck with yours and i hope i have atleast been some help to calm you by knowing you arnt to hard on her you are teaching her the real tools for life oh and all these people with the time outs from good old doctor sparks book check what he said on his death bed i believe it was he was sorry he was wrong and he was responsible for the most violent and disrespectful generation ever and he was correct it is what it is you are responsble for kind of person you send out into this world well i feel better now at least excuse my sarcasim good luck to all

Claire - posted on 03/07/2012

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Hello Kim,



I can identify with you and your daughter. Our story is same, word for word.

Early on, we had her tested for A, AS, ADD + ADHD, not to mention BPD, DD. (Borderline Personality Disorder and Dissociative Disorder).

According to other professionals, our daughter is great! Which didn't exactly make the situation better or us feel better, either. As a Social Worker, I have tried using AS techniques but they do not always work. I definitely agree with the other idea, HALT. Another thing to investigate is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or NeuroLinguistic Programming.

I swear by it, and was thinking of taking Anna, but her psyche has really matured in the last three months. It's a form of counselling that uses semi-hypnotic techniques that enable a person to be aware of their self and surroundings/ close people. They tone it down for children, I've heard (in Australia, atleast) but still achieve great results. It just takes a bit longer. It's like counselling that DOES SOMETHING, instead of the person just talking about how bad they feel.

I use HALT/ CBT ideas in an assessment rubric to gauge what method of punishment to give out.

I used to spend 2-3 hours on disseminating, defrag-ing her hegative learned behaviours from school, until I got the 'old' Anna back (or atleast, the one that didn't backchat and remain disrespectful). When she was really bad, I'd give her a can of soup, toast, then bed.

Sometimes, there's just no way to get around that kind of behaviour! :)

At 12 years, she is FINALLY coming into a state of consciousness, for want of a better phrase.

We still get the narkiness but no where near the intensity you are experiencing. We found Anna's extreme behaviour peaked at around 9-10years of age.

AND DO note the dark moon phase- Anna and another girl we know are pretty much set for a 'werewolf' week before she has her period. i'm unsure whether you will understand that. It's the time when you don't see the moon in the night sky. Or if your partner is still menstruating, you might find the week before and during is more difficult for your daughter. And i strongly suggest you build a 'men's only ' retreat for the teenage years, haha!

Later on, when your daughter is a bit older, you may want to try her on teen- young adult literature, to encourage her learning.

Not soft porn or anything :):)

But Terry Pratchett (English author) writes a very witty book, and even the 'adult-ish' ones are fun for Anna. He has teen books as well. They don't contain explicit content, but can talk about adult things in a satirical way. I had to prise Anna's fingers from the book tonight so she would eat dinner!... And as much as i wanted her to keep reading (hell, it is bad manners but I LIKE being in the position of proud parent) it was half an hour over her bedtime (usually 7.30pm).

Having said that, she got to her biological dad's (Chinese) 'Art of War' and read that over the weekend! (That'll raise the teacher's eyebrows when she goes through Anna's diary, I'm sure :))

Another thing of interest is that the experts now believe that parental conditioning only accounts for 20% of an adult's psyche. Your genetic material has already pre- determined the person they will grow into. But I personally think it's about 40% :):)

I hope things look up for you and your family. Don't despair... It can only get better :)



Claire xx

Nohblee - posted on 04/14/2011

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Ok first of all you need to create some kind of mutual rules chart for her between you and her father and all of her other carers. This will require you to all communicate together nicely and calmly. Once you present to her as a united team of diciplinarians she will realise she hasnt got room to misbehave and no matter where she is she will get the smae treatment. You need to use POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT as well as NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCE, so for instance if she gets her homework done she gets to miss out on a chore or watch an extra tv show. He education is very important so homeowork should be her main focus. Also take her to your gp, explain her symptoms of behaviour and make sure u talk with her every day and re-assure her she can tell you anything. Is this kind of behaviour sudden or normal for her. If its sudden it may be a sign of something else going on in her life when your not with her, maybe she is being bullied or she could even be getting abused in some way. You need to make it clear to everyone asround her that you are watching her and working to make her better behaved and u would like their co operation...she also needs to not jsut get money and clothing for no reason from her father and grandfather.. this is not teaching her good ideals about how life works

Jo-Ann - posted on 04/12/2011

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Yes, AS is Autism Spectrum (or Aspergers) but the program is NOT for autism specifically - it was developed for "high intensity" kids, ie the one's who don't respond to anything and are demanding, defiant, diffucult and may or may not have other issues going on. As for the 2-minute time out, perhaps I should explain it in a little more detail - it's not a "march to designated naugty spot, explain to child, set timer and walk away" kind of time out - it is simply to stop the progression of whatever is happening and for you to regain composure so you don't respond to and feed into negative behaviors. Simply put, think of what happens in a video game when a child does the "wrong" thing - nothing, no bells, whistles, cheers etc. They simply "loose a life" and reload the game. That is what the time out is for - like a "reset" when they do something wrong, immediate, on the spot, wherever they are, and simply means no further action or interaction for 2 minutes. Then move on. The bells and whistles are reserved for when they do the RIGHT thing! I have used this with kids as old as 16, and although they look at you like you've lost your mind when you say "time out" and simply stop responding to them for 2 minutes, they very quickly get tired of it and just do the right thing - the trick is being consistend and having a very clear set of rules. As for the homework issue, again, reward rather than punish. You agree to pay her for homework CORRECTLY AND ACCEPTABLY done, and make it worth her while with a large payment for this. Charging for help is entirely dependent on how important you feel it is to help her - charge less if you want her to involve you, more if you want to encourage independence. It teacher her that your time is valuable and shouldn't be taken for granted. You certainly can involve her in creating the store, but not setting the prices - you will soon figure out what's more important to her and set those prices higher. Also, pay her much more for the things that are difficult for her to do. Easy chores earn less, and if you're working on a particular skill, such as organizing her backpack, you can include Bonus Pay for doing it correctly for a week (as an example). I know it sounds complicated, but once you get started it takes on a life of it's own and will develop to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Emily - posted on 04/12/2011

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I didn't say to GIVE her the answers. There's a huge difference between giving answers and teaching them how to get those answers. You can help with homework without giving any answers away.

Sylvia - posted on 04/12/2011

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I have an 8-year-old, too ...

Everyone else has given really good suggestions. The only thing I would really add is that she really, really needs all of her parents to be on the same page with respect to expectations and consequences. (I'm not using "consequences" as a synonym for "punishment" -- I actually mean consequences, good and bad and neutral.) It's terribly destabilizing for a kid to live in two homes with two different sets of rules, and almost worse to have two parents in the same house who can't agree on the rules. Kids constantly test boundaries because they need to know where the boundaries are -- imagine how it feels when they feel like the boundaries keep changing!

I know that's a very hard conversation to have, but I would guess that nothing you do on your own is going to solve these problems if your partner and your DD's dad aren't on board.

Actually I lied, I do have one more suggestion: HALT. That stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. For my DD, any of those can trigger a downward spiral from reasonably pleasant, cooperative behaviour to total meltdown. And I know that a very high proportion of kids this age don't get as much sleep as they need. You might also consider the possibility of food allergies (which can manifest as behavioural symptoms in young kids). And finally, I kind of hate to suggest this but it's not impossible ... could she be approaching puberty? Is this new behaviour, or is it just that it's become more frustrating for you as she gets older?

Kim - posted on 04/12/2011

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We have done everything you have suggested in the past, however, she is almost 9, almost in the 4th grade, and held responsible for things at school on her own, so if we are constantly sitting with her and giving her answers to her homework, and she doesn't get that at school, she is not learning anything...and with chores, we started with 1-2 things, and now she has a few more things that SHE CHOSE-she basically made her own choices of what she wanted to be responsible for, mind you...she gets LOTS of praise when she does things she's supposed to, or does nice things without being asked, etc...but there comes a point where she needs to be able to do things on her own, be responsible for her own things, and be respectful. Also, her teacher said that they have learned the material in school, they go over the homework in school, so her homework brought home is to see if she can do it on her own...if we sit there daily and do it with her, that is counter-productive. Thank you for your response though!

Emily - posted on 04/12/2011

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What may seem like "little things" to you is probably overwhelming for her. I'm wondering if maybe your expectations are a little too high. Hell, I never make my bed, I often leave my "toys" out, and I sometimes forget to feed my cats. When I was 8, there's no way I'd be able to do all of that consistently every day.

I'm wondering if maybe instead of focusing on ALL of these things, just focus on one thing at a time. Pick one thing that is the most important to you (perhaps the school issue). It also sounds like maybe she needs more one-on-one help and assistance with things. Kids don't learn things overnight. They often need to be taught over and over again, and also taught through modeling. Maybe instead of just punishing her for things she does wrong, show her how to do them correctly (in a gentle way). Sit down and do her homework with her. Show her how you organize your own things. Turn it into mom/daughter time.. maybe you can go around making beds together. I'm guessing that she's feeling frustrated because she's getting lots of "consequences" but not a whole lot of positive reinforcement for the good things she's doing. That is way more important than focusing on all the bad things.

Kim - posted on 04/12/2011

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I may be showing my ignorance here, but what is an AS kid? Asperger? She definitely does not have that...we have discussed ADD...not the H part, but just ADD...she has A LOT of those tendencies in school and at home. Also, do I include her in making the store, or no? This does sound difficult, but if it works, worth it-so 2 minutes for an 8 year old? That doesn't seem long enough for her to compose herself, but it's worked for you with almost 9 year olds? Does the book say how much to charge for homework help, etc? The thing with her is that she will not use her tokens for help-she will just not do it or do it wrong because she doesn't want to take the time to read the directions, and I want her to understand what she is doing, so she is learning, rather than just getting consequences at school for not doing it...so how do I do that?

Louise - posted on 04/12/2011

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OK I hear what you are saying and my son was the same at that age and still is. He would not think to feed the dog or let her out in the garden and he is 17. He also throws his clothes and belongings all over the floor and is constantly asking me if I know where things are. He has been like this all of his life and will never change.

As far as school goes I used to make him show me his school bag the night befor so that I knew he had his gym kit and pencil case excetra. I also made him get his clothes out the night before so that I knew he had uniform to wear and was not picking up yesterdays and putting it on again. Some childen are like this and no matter how hard you try this is there mentality. There comes a point where they have to learn to stand on there own two feet and you can do no more. I am sure your daughter did not want to lose her charm bracelet she has put it down and forgotten where she has put it. It will turn up eventually. We all have traits hers seems to be being disorganised. All the disciplin in the world will not change this all you can do is do your best to help her. My son is 17 and often loses his motorbike keys, house keys wallet etc. I have just had to ask him to put them in the same place every time he puts them down. Sometimes he remembers and others I find them somewhere and put them in the window. Surprisingly he always expects them to be in the window whether he has put them there or not. He will never change I have just had to accept that this is him. Being able to organise yourself is a skill you can either do it easily or struggle.

Kim - posted on 04/12/2011

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I have tried to lay off and just discipline large things, HOWEVER, she is constantly getting in trouble for not being organized in school when she is not organized at home...she will stuff all of her clothes in corners where I cannot see them unless I look, because she doesn't want to hang them up or put them away. She has to look at her chore chart, because she forgets what is on there...it's simple stuff...make your bed, put clothes and toys away, brush teeth, let dogs out in our fenced yard, feed and water dogs, make sure you have all that you need for school the next day. I am trying to make her be more conscious and responsible at home, so she will be at school as well. She is constantly saying she doesn't know where things are, because she doesn't put them away, she stuffs them in the easiest, most convenient place possible, and then she cannot find them when she needs them. She got a charm bracelet from her grandmother for christmas, a special one, and in February, it was nowhere to be found, because she didn't remember where she put it-we searched everywhere...she has a jewelry box for that purpose...her grandmother was saddened. As far as clothes goes, last week she was wearing comfy clothes to school, then wearing them to bed, and then wearing the same clothes to school the next day...my partner gets up with her, so she didn't know she wore the same clothes...at 8, she still needs guidance as to what is appropriate and not...as a teen, I believe it's a bit different.

And I wasn't GIVING her toys away, I took them away until she could show me she could be responsible to take care of her other dolls, then they come back...she assumed I was going to give them away.

Also, regardless of if I give her a consequence for rudeness or not giving the dog water, she still does not care for more than a minute, and will do the same the next day. How do I get her to care that the dog is thirsty and needs water as much as she does? Or the dog is whining to go out-sure, I could let him out, and I often do, however, I wait to see if she will do it, since it's something she is responsible for...we also sat down and discussed what SHE wanted for chores before the chart was made-what SHE wanted me to put on the chart...the only things I added were make your bed, brush your teeth, and bathe, because she would not do those things unless she is reminded.

oh, and she most definitely gets mega-praise when she does well-A and B work goes on the fridge, we tell her we are proud of her when she does things without us asking, etc and so on...it's all about if she cares or not-sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't...seems like praise and consequences only work if she cares about getting them...and that's the problem we are having.

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