Tonight, I tried out a new technique. I had been pondering it, but its use tonight was completely unplanned. After one too many arguments with the kiddo (along with the usual cooking and cleaning, not to mention--gasp--doing things for my own benefit), I was exhausted. As she was lying in bed, about to drift off to sleep, I told her that I was too tired and drained from arguing with her to snuggle with her and tell her stories. Of course, I kissed her and told her good night and that I love her, but we didn't do any of our other bedtime rituals. I could tell she was upset, but I kept walking.
This comes from a book that a friend has mentioned to me several times, but I can't for the life of me remember the title. The premise is that when your child does something (or doesn't do something) and it causes you extra work or energy, they owe you something to "restore your energy". This is better than just doling out an immediate punishment; they see how their actions affect you, and they have to make it up to you. My situation is not the kind that my friend has described using this technique for, but then her kids are older than mine, and I was just trying it out. I need to read this book! And I'll pass the title along to you!