I believe that children thrive off boundaries. However, I also realize that sometimes they are going to test their boundaries. Jackie has been testing boundaries quite a bit right now. In the past two weeks, she has given herself a haircut, (with the adult scissors that she knows she's not supposed to have) dumped yogurt onto the floor, tried to climb over the banister, gone downstairs anytime she can without permission, (not usually a problem for most families, but I do live with my inlaws) and generally just trying to do whatever she can that she knows is against the rules to see if I'll notice if she does it when I'm not directly watching. She's also been doing the same types of things at school.
We had a very frank discussion at bedtime last night. I told her that if she can't follow the rules when I'm not watching her, then I'm just going to have to watch her all the time. I don't really believe in putting a leash on a child, but I'm at the end of my rope. If I can't trust her to follow the rules when I'm not around her, then I am just going to have to keep her by me all the time for a little while. I figure one day on a leash, and we'll be able to start communicating and listening better to each other. Today, she has done really well, and she didn't get in trouble at school either. I'm hoping that just our talk did it, and I won't have to resort to backing myself up. Please cross your fingers for me.