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Appropriate consequence for almost 8 year old colouring on carpet...

sunshinex's picture

So last year, when SD had just turned 7, she drew all over her white bedroom furniture. We were livid because it was brand new - so we gave her a long talk, took away her favourite toy, and didn't allow any colouring ANYWHERE in the house for about a week. We thought the message was clear, but apparently not. DH thought he had taken all of the colouring/art stuff out of her room but there was some chalk up high in her closet that she got into last night. 

Now we are currently in the middle of getting ready to close on our first home 2 months from now. The decision to buy instead of rent for the first time was quite sudden, so we are scrambling to get closing costs together. Last night, during her quiet time after showering/before bed, she coloured all over her carpet - pretty much mashing the chalk into it. I'm talking at least 4x4 feet of carpet was caked with chalk. 

I got some of it out, but we're going to have to pay for a professional carpet cleaning service now or lose our security deposit, which we need to close on the house. Needless to say, this is the worst possible timing and we're pretty angry. Again, DH and I gave her a long talk about how innapropriate this is, took ALL of her toys away, and grounded her for 2 days. Now that I've had time to feel less angry, I'm wondering if that's too much? 

What do you think... 

ndc's picture

No, I don't think that's too much.  A 7 year old is more than old enough to understand that you don't draw on carpet, and she's already been spoken to about something similar.  A 2 day grounding is nothing, and I assume she'll be able to earn her toys back with good behavior.  I might be inclined to sell something she really likes and let her know that she needs to help pay for the professional carpet cleaning.  Do you know anyone who owns a carpet shampooer?  My SDs have gotten both slime and food gel coloring into the carpet and I managed to get it out and looking fine with various cleaning recipes I found on the internet and a couple rounds with my carpet shampooer.

sunshinex's picture

Funny you mention that... I told her if anything at all like this happens again, she would pay for the carpet cleaning service because we would sell her tablet. That's her favourite thing right now. But good idea... I'll look around and see if I can borrow a carpet shampooer or even rent one. It's a pretty tough stain though - everything that usually works hasn't yet. 

Empress1277's picture

start there before you buy one. They are pretty reasonable. 

I would’ve livid as well and make the child help clean up the mess in addition to the punishment you guys gave. 

Focused_onourlife's picture

My DS friend snuck red juice into the boys rooms and spilled some on their beige carpet. They didn't tell me about it till the next day, I got a spray bottle half filled with hot water, dawn dish washing liquid and white vinegar and cleaned it with a white rag in a circular motion. Luckily, for me the area came clean not so with them he is banned. Not saying ban your SD but just a suggestion as a pre wash before running the carpet cleaner. You should also make her help with the cleaning,  that's what I did with my boys and had the friend still been there he would have helped as well.

ndc's picture

I googled and found a youtube video on getting chalk out of carpet.  Apparently your SD is not the only kid who gets chalk in the rug - imagine that!  

It said to be sure to get as much of the chalk dust vacuumed up as you can before you get it wet, for obvious reasons. They were using a wet-dry vac to start.

sunshinex's picture

Haha, of course. I know she's not. It's moreso the fact that she's older and she JUST got in trouble for drawing on furniture not long ago. But thank you, that is helpful! 

flmomma08's picture

I don't think its too much. My 3 year old knows not to draw on anything besides paper. At 7 she is definitely old enough to know better.

GoingWicked's picture

My 11 year old still does this kind of stuff, I make him google how to clean it, and then he cleans up the mess himself. Get her some washable markers they are so much easier to get off of stuff.

STaround's picture

But dad needs to have a talk with her.  I see a pattern of destructiveness.  He needs to ask her is she unhappy with her home.  And he needs to listen.  He may not be able to solve her complaints, but then he needs to tell her why she is unreasnable and talk it out.

I might also tell her if she goes a month with none of this nonsense, I will look for an art class for her

sunshinex's picture

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is a big part of it. 

Hours before she did this, I took her to an event at her school with bouncy castles and all that. It was me, her, and my son as my DH was at work. But the entire evening was dedicated to her. I dealt with my son way past his nap losing his mind while she played and had a blast. Then on the way home, she made a comment saying "I'm going to have more fun with my mom when I'm at her house in the summer" and I couldn't believe it. Maybe it's connected to that? 

ITB2012's picture

Two days is not enough time in my opinion. How about another five days with her toys but not her tablet. This is her second offense and it obviously hasn’t sunk in. 

And I use Natures Miracle in the orange bottle to get stuff out. You can find it at pet stores. It gets out stains and smells. It got dog diarrhea out of a wool rug. It had been there for a few hours before I got home so it had really sunk in. Stain and smell gone.  No alteration to the rug color. I would be surprised if it wouldn’t work on chalk. I use the stuff for everything now, even as our stain remover for clothing. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

The consequences for this in my house would be dire. My kids are similar ages to your stepdemon and know better than to do something like this.

The consequence you gave her wasn’t harsh enough. She isn’t 3 or 4! She’s old enough to understand that chalk is for outside.

marblefawn's picture

Too much?
She's 7, not 2.

If you're too nice about these incidents, the kid doesn't really read the severity of the crime and it will happen again.

You took away her toys for two days. Big deal. That cost the kid nothing, so why not make it a week or two weeks? Something the kid will really remember? Obviously, you didn't make much impact the last time you punished her for this, so why wouldn't you bump up the penalty to something she remembers?

My mother was so outraged when my sister spilled milk on her freshly-waxed floor that my mother was afraid to beat her with the instrument usually used for discipline in our childhood home. So my mother threw the paddle and it hit and broke my sister's toe.

That hurt. That was physical pain and it was wrong.

But that was the last time my sister and I spilled milk on that woman's floor.

Taking away toys is more humane and a more subtle way of disciplining. It doesn't hurt. It isn't loud. It isn't violent. But you might need to impose that punishment a lot longer for the kid to know you mean business.

And one more thing... If the kid were putting her finger in a socket or running into traffic, you'd muster the strength to make your point loud and clear: DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN!!!!!!!

It's OK to make this point loud and clear too. Just because it isn't life threatening doesn't mean the punishment shouldn't send the message you want to send.

Why are you so afraid of your kid? Why are parents, generally, so afraid of parenting kids? I just don't get it. Why is it not OK to discipline the kid in a way that preserves your carpet? Why are we all supposed to live with kids' bad behavior because their parents only want to be their friend?

sunshinex's picture

You know, before I even read this, I was thinking it wasn't enough. I couldn't exactly add more days onto it later on though. But the more I think about it, the more angry it makes me. She's been told that when we get to our new house, everyone else is getting a nice new bedroom with new furniture (we are moving cross country and it makes more sense to buy new) but we will bring her mattress and she will have that and a few toys until she proves she can handle having nice things. 

Rags's picture

When a puppy makes a mess on the carpet you grab them by the scruff of the neck, rub their noses in it and swat them on the rump.  Apparently it works.  Give that a try.

Obviously this is manipulative purposeful bahvior. Time to take belt to Skid ass and firmly apply the message in an ass stinging way that drives home the connection between the behavior and the consequence.  This is not a 2yo. This is a manipulative little pre teen POS who is in all likelihood being PAS'd by BM to cause you and DH difficulty.  For some reason blended family opposition gets all twisted up over exciting advancement and success in the quality family in the blended family environment.


sunshinex's picture

Honestly, she's a good kid aside from being strangely destructive and messy. She cannot for the life of her figure out how to keep her room tidy. It becomes a disaster constantly then we send her in to clean it - giving her thorough, step-by-step instructions, and she winds up not doing anything until she's been essentially stuck "cleaning her room" everyday for 2 weeks, then I get sick of it and take everything away. This process repeats again and again because she winds up finding toys from around the house to bring into her room and make a mess. 

She's coloured all over her white furniture, put sticky handprints all over the wall, and now destroyed her carpet. Even when she plays, she's strange about it. She'll take stuff out of the garbage, bring it over to the litter box, fill it with cat litter, than throw other garbage on top and be like "look what I made!" or just weird things like that. Today I told my husband it's like we need a freaking baby playpen to put her in when we can't have our eyes on her! Even my 19 month old is starting to understand - no touching the cat litter, no taking stuff out of the garbage, etc. 

Rags's picture

Ah Hah!  The problem, IMHO, is the thorough step by step instructions.  My SS had exactly the same problem.  Anything beyond a single step instruction he would not be able to successfully complete.   So instead of "Go clean your room and do XYZ and LMNOP." we had to adapt and give him only a single step instruction at a time.  "Go to your room and put all of your shoes neatly in your closet then come back and get us."  We would then go inspect the quality of that completed task, have him correct anything sub standard, then we would give him the next step.  

It was far less stressful on all of us.  It took years for him to be able to complete a multi step assignment.  

So, rather than complex multi step assignements, break the instructions down into discrete tasks and then step her through the job one task at a time.  

Good luck.


GrabitAndGo's picture

She's old enough to know what she was doing was wrong.  Obviously the first "long talk" didn't have a lasting impact.  

I'm not a big believer in the threat of "if this happens again X,Y or Z will be your punishment."  Bring on that punishment NOW for the transgression that's right in front of you.  That kid's IPad would be a goner, as well as a couple of her other favorite toys.  I don't care if it's been a couple of days since she colored on the carpet.  There's not going to be an easy or truly cheap fix to this, and she needs to feel some genuine discomfort.  Threats of future punishment for future incidents are fairly useless in my book.  

Bex_S's picture

Not harsh at all. She's old enough to know better. I'd understand her doing it if she was 3 or something, but a 7 year old is more than capable of knowing that is wrong. My 8 year old skid has vandalised parts of the house 'by accident 'so many times, the most recent being her pouring paint all over her bedroom carpet. This was only a few days after she saw DH busting his arse cleaning the stains out of the carpet from when she decided to shit everywhere and pretend she was ill. I know her panto face so I know it was complete bullshit. She just does things to keep DH under her thumb and make me miserable. 

Monkeysee's picture

Having talks with kids doesn’t work. I know this both because every time my DH has a ‘talk’ with OSS about his crappy behaviour, he says ‘ok Dad’ and nothing changes. Also because when I was a kid I was horrible at bedtime. I’d get yelled at every single night, but there was never a consequence, so I didn’t care. Kids need consequences or nothing will ever change.

My YSS is 6, if he was drawing all over anything in the house I’d be beyond livid. He’d be doing chores around the house, clean up the mess himself, and everything he loved - tablet, Xbox, any sporting equipment - would be locked in the attic until he got the message. 

Your SD is 7, not 2 or 3. She absolutely should know better by now. Pair this with the fact she wets the bed when her dad doesn’t come running in the middle of the night to walk her to the bathroom, I’m pretty sure these issues stem from a need for attention or control on her part. Kids are smart, she knows exactly what she’s doing. I’d have much stricter consequences for this kid, she needs to learn she doesn’t wield the power in your home. 

Bex_S's picture

Monjeysee I agree. Talks just give them an out, and doesn't seem to tackle the behaviour in the longrun. My DH has had so many 'talks' with skid about her behaviour, and it just won't sink in. The only thing kids like this, especially the destructive ones understand, is punishment. It's all about the child manipulating and exacting control while feigning ignorance and playing the victim.