Laying down the law

By the time I got up this morning at 10am, Sandis had already finished her school work. She wasn't dressed or anything, but she had done her English, some reading in geography and a section in math.

When I saw Stella, there was already fire in her eyes. Her brow was furrowed, her chin tilted down defiantly. She yelled, "why do we always have to start school just because you get up!" Realize, at this point, I was simply hoping to use the bathroom and hadn't said one word. Things went downhill from there. We spent 5, yes 5, hours going round and round about her 1 section of math (2 pages), 3 pages of English (identifying which letters should be capitalized) and 5 pages of geography (not full pages, mind you, pictures filled up most of the space.) This amount of work, if you did it slowly, might take an hour. But she had to yell, throw fits, scream, kick, scratch, cry and shriek over the injustice of it all. Why couldn't she do one thing an hour? She couldn't do it because I kept talking. How could she work when Sandis was breathing?

I laid down the law. This was over. It was her fault and no one else's that her work wasn't done. If someone was bothering her, she could go in a room by herself with her work, there were many choices. If it was too hard, she could ask for help. There would be no more yelling or screaming or hurting of people. She is expected to do her school work and her chores. If she can't do that, I can start calling schools and find one for her.

My expectations are not that high. I don't make them do that much in volume or minutes per day. I don't make them do that many days per week. I don't make them work above what they are capable of doing. She just doesn't want to do what she doesn't want to do. It's frustrating, aggravating and draining.

I repeated my rules to her several times today when she was not doing schoolwork - no yelling, screaming or hurting of people, you do your work. We'll see how tomorrow goes. I am not optimistic. The only thing that worked today was telling her she was staying in her room until she started working. And for every 30 min in there, she lost 50 cents of allowance. I hate playing that game, but I am out of other options.


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