I thought as my kids got older they were supposed to be over their "terribles" but that doesn't appear to be the case. Consequently I find myself searching out discipline ideas and tactics for handling the "strong willed" child more than ever before. But of all the things I have found and read and tried this one seems to always work best: paying attention to my children. It seems like for every 10 minutes of quality time I give them I get 20 minutes of peace and calm and kindness and playing well together in return. It is when I am trying to "get things done" that I spend so much of my time settling arguments, setting time out buzzers, calming down a meltdown and comforting a crying child, not to mention trying to get my own emotions under control and not flying off the handle. When I take time to watch the latest crazy dance, or play a game, or push swings, or color on the couch I have far less discipline problems. I am not saying they are gone entirely but they are much less and I feel better about myself as a mom because I am not tense and angry and I am doing what is most important for a mom to do: pay attention to her kids. Case in point: Small Fry was having a day. I think she had been in time out a few times and had been sent to her room a few times to calm down until she was ready to talk nice and not scream and kick and be rude. Time after time she came back to find me and stomp her foot and clench her teeth and scream at me or her sister. Finally while she was in her room again the thought came to my mind, "the tea set" and I said to my husband, "is there something that you can do with pumpkin for a few minutes so that I can do something just will small fry and give her the attention that I know she is needing right now?" He agreed. I went in to talk to her about not acting the way she was and how I needed her to say she was sorry for how she was acting and use kind words and she was crying and just wanted to be held. I told her that when she was ready to be calm then she and I would go on a special date to run some errands and buy some cookies so that we could all have a family tea party. She was super excited about that idea. (Now in case you are thinking this, I did not feel that the tea party was a reward for her acting the way she was. I felt that she had fully mended the damage done to the best of her 4 year old ability and used the tea party as a much needed time for us to be together in hopes that it would lessen any future outbursts for the day). We went to run errands while my husband took pumpkin to the school with him where she got to be the center of attention. We bought cookies that small fry picked out and grapes and got home and got the tea set all ready. We found extra stuffed animals to have as guests to the party and were ready and waiting when sissy and dad got home. Then we all sat on the floor for a fabulous party complete with spills and pinkies up in the air. It was wonderful. The girls loved every second and the best part of all was that we didn't have another incident with tantrums or melt downs for the rest of the day.