I’m going to make this brief, because I’ve told the story and told it:

My daughter learned how to escape the apartment. She ended up at the front office of our apartment complex, naked except for her jacket and the keys to the apartment. We cut off her escape route using chicken wire. She took a different route involving a five-foot drop over a fence. I think we’ve cut that one off, too.

Here’s something I’ve learned:

She got spanked, talked to, and grounded all day. This did not work. The last time, I sent her to her room for a few minutes and told her all she had to do if she really wanted to go outside was ask. “Please momma, let’s go outside.” Then she asked me, and we went outside. The next time she asked me, we went outside. I asked her today if she wanted to go outside, but she was too busy cutting up unwanted coupons. “No, thank you.”

Punishing her a lot didn’t work. Punishing her a little and helping her work out how to do what she wanted to do in a way we could both deal with seems to have worked. And maybe this will help teach her that she doesn’t have to wait for us to do the things she wants us to do or do them all alone–she can tell us what she wants to do. She can ask.

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