Dana could see Cheryl was frustrated.
"What's wrong," she asked her sister.
"It's Gracie," Cheryl said, "She's really been misbehaving and I've tried everything. Nothing is working"
"When you say you've tried everything what do you mean," Dana asked.
"I've yelled at her. I explained why she shouldn't be doing what she's doing. I've given her time outs. I've put her to bed early. I've taken away privelleges. I've even threatened to spank her… I never would but I-"
"Cheryl," Dana said, "it sounds to me like you've tried every punishment but you haven't tried everything"
"Do you remember Jackie," Dana asked
"Our cousin… well sure I do"
Jackie was really cool. She was a good friend of theirs as well as a mother of a little boy named Andy. She was also a cop.
"Do you remember what you used to do when she would nag at you"
"Yeah I'd tune it out. Who wants to hear, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah all the time. It's annoying at best"
"Is it now"
"Okay point noted and taken but if I don't punish her what else can I do? I can't just let her jump down the stairs. She could hurt herself.
"Really… no kidding," Dana said, "but you could offer her choices."
"You mean like stop jumping or go to time out"
"Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah," Dana said
"Okay fine," Cheryl said, "What kind of choices"
"A choice like "You can jump on the trampoline or you can jump on the pillow but you can't jump on the stairs."
"That could work," Cheryl admitted, "what else can I do"
"Well you can reward her for doing the right thing"
"Shouldn't she just do the right thing because it's right?"
"Cheryl she's four. It doesn't have to be a big reward or it can be big"
Cheyrl talked to Jim that night.
"I guess it couldn't hurt to try," he said, "who knows. Something has to work"
So they tried it not expecting it to work but they were wrong. It worked fabulously. There was only one moment where it backfired. Gracie wanted to watch 101 dalmations and Cheryl said no. Gracie looked and said, "Okay mommy here's your choice. One-hundred and one Dalmations or The Little Mermaid"