The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Aug 11, 2011

Clothes Intervention

Gone.  Gone are ALL the clothes from McKenzie's closet.  Her dresser drawers and baskets are empty.  Gone are all the dress-up outfits from her dress-up box in the family room.  GONE!

An intervention was necessary.  The kid is out of control.  We have allowed her too much freedom over her clothes and she has been walking all over us.  This needs to stop.  At first, it was cute.  Her desire to change outfits every five minutes.  She even has several apps on her iPod that are fun dress-up games.  I do believe this teaches her productive and useful life skills.
I get it.  She's a typical girl who likes to express herself and look "pretty".  This was her creative outlet. 
 But, this process of changing clothes constantly has gotten out of control - these wardrobe changes are too visible & accessible.  Her "hobby" has evolved from cute, to annoying, to exhausting, to just plain flat RIDICULOUS!
Throwing fits and crying over clothes is not acceptable behavior. 
Negotiations in her bedroom discussing what she is going to wear for the day has become a lose-lose battle.

So, after several meltdowns this week over a pink ballet tutu and a MAJOR (what I like to call a hitting.rock.bottom) fit over PURPLE shoes in the McDonalds parking lot, we have decided it is time to step in...and regain control!

This problem is partially my fault.  We have had a busy summer and have been on the go a lot.  I have basically given in on too many occasions, allowing her to just do and wear what she wants.  I started to not care what she wore...princess dress at the grocery store today?  okay, whatever your say!  I was "picking and choosing my battles"...assuming this was a small battle.  sound familiar??  Whatever gets us out the door with the least amount of fighting (and sweating).  In hindsight, I may have been too lenient on the the rules.  This, what I used to consider to be a "small" battle, is bigger than originally anticipated.  It simply gave her more power and gave her the upper hand.

She is the kid.  SHE'S FOUR!  We are the parents.  She needs to learn that WE are in charge.  More importantly, WE need to learn that WE ARE IN CHARGE.

To her benefit (and our sometimes misfortune), she is a bright and conniving four year old with keen negotiation skills.  We need to nip this in the bud.  fast.  Especially before school reconvenes. 
She needs to be put back in her place...It is HER job to listen and obey, otherwise there will be consequences for her actions.
We still have the "warm & fuzzy" jar...and it continues to work well for us - I'm a firm believer in positive reinforcement wherever possible. 
The chore chart is also still in full effect, and she LOVES earning her stars.
But this clothing drama has thrown us for a loop.  WHAT DO WE DO!???!!!  uuugggggh

After much talk and lots of tears, she now understands that she no longer has access to her clothes.  Only mommy & daddy know their whereabouts.
We will choose ONE outfit that she can wear for the day.  And WE will decide which pajamas to wear at night.  She is extremely sad to not have this choice anymore.  Beyond devastated to tell you the truth.  But I am trying to explain that having this choice is a privilege and she needs to EARN it back. 
We also told her that there are many kids who are not as fortunate as she.  Many kids her age, who only own a select few pieces of clothing.  Some do not even have houses.  And they are OKAY.
You do NOT have to have soo many clothes to survive.  And you most certainly do not need to change outfits every five minutes!  This is not okay.  This is not normal.

She cries and says "But mom, my dresses are beautiful and they make me beautiful, I LOVE all sorts of colors, all the colors of the rainbow", she continues. 
"I like to wear them all.  ALL THE TIME!  I need to wear bunches of clothes every day".

Do you see the disconnect?  We have a much larger issue on our hands.  We need to teach her that it is not about clothes.  Pretty clothes do NOT make a person beautiful McKenzie.  It's what is on the inside
that counts.  Your heart and kind spirit make you beautiful.  Being polite and well-behaved makes you a beautiful person.

Our new challenge began last night.  Please say a prayer for our sanity.  She needs to go several days without crying and whining over anything. 
She needs to prove to us that she can (once again) be a good big girl.  We want our old McKenzie back!
Once she shows us this, then, and only then, will we put her clothes back in her bedroom. 

It is 1:30pm on Thursday...and I am happy to report that we have been "fit-free" since 8:30pm last night.  We had a few close calls, as her cousins came over to play and provided a bit of "temptation" - but she was able to compose herself before a full-fledged fit ensued.  phew.  This may not seem like that big of a deal to some,
But this is making HUGE progress in the Harnisch House! request for friends and family who read this blog and interact with our little Miss McKenzie regularly.  Please do not allow her to whine and cry over things.
THIS IS UNNECCEPTABLE!  Acting like a "spoiled brat" (for lack of a better word) will no longer be working for her.  Please be unresponsive to her inappropriate behavior.  Period.
We can not continue this charade of appeasing her.  It will not pay off in the end.  She will thank us down the road.

There are WAAAAY more important things to stress over...we need to move past this.  AND FAST!

While this seems like a drastic measure...I think back to how my own parents maintained their authority with us four girls (that could not have been a simple task!).  We never spoke to them with a disrespectful tone.  We were, quite frankly too scared to.  They would not have it and we knew we would be disciplined harshly if we did.  I need to instill this same type of "productive" fear into my own children. 
I am reminded of something my parents did back in the day.  My sister Keri had an issue with slamming her bedroom door (usually when she was angry at something).  My parents told her stop many times...since she did not listen...they literally took her door OFF THE HINGES!  A teenager having no privacy is NOT a fun thing  :-)  I think she learned her lesson.

There was another time back in high mom kept bugging me to clean my room.  I, of course, didn't.  And one day I came home from school to find that she had thrown out ALL of my belongings (minus some clothes, etc).  I had to go outside and retrieve them one by one from the garbage bin.  I was NOT happy about this invasion.

And yes, I suppose, I too learned my lesson.

I hope to see a lot more of this smiley face in the very near future...

ps - I feel bad about "airing" out my frustrations in blogosphere...but it helps to get it out there!  We are surely not the only parents in the world who struggle with disciplining their kiddos.  A little bit of humility goes a long way...and I LOVE hearing stories from other parents who are, in a sense, going through, or have gone through the same struggles  :-)  So, perhaps this will help someone else feel "okay" with their own situation.  hehe

"CHILDREN ARE GIFTS FROM GOD"...yes...but it is our responsibility, as parents, to now raise these people up as smart, caring, compassionate and contributing members of society.


  1. Wow, brilliant!! Sounds like you're totally on the right track. Good for you for standing your ground on this - I suspect she'll follow along from now on. :-)

  2. Great Post! And yes, I CAN relate. As Anna has some of these very behaviors as well and I want to pull my hair out. And as I was reading I knew in the back of mind, giggling to myself, how I would be commenting at the end about my losing the door to my bedroom. But how nice of you to remember. I think you just may have learned as much as I never lost your door. :-)

  3. YOU ARE AMAZING! Very very good post! Although a serious matter for you all, I'm still smiling about the humor of it all.