Before we go any further, I should explain the “ticket” system. Several (no more than three) misbehaviors are clearly spelled out on a “target behavior list” that’s affixed to the refrigerator door. Three to five “tickets” are cut from construction paper and put up on the refrigerator, next to the misbehavior list, using a magnetic clip. When a targeted misbehavior occurs, the parent closest to the scene of the crime removes one of that day’s tickets from the clip. Each time a ticket is removed, the child in question must sit in time out for a certain length of time. When all the day’s allotment of tickets is gone, the child spends the rest of the day in her room, which has been stripped of most of its “entertainment value,” and goes to bed at least one hour early.
Over the years since I developed it, lots and lots of parents have told me that the ticket system has helped them solve many a discipline problem. It seems to work best with children 3 through 12. I generally do not recommend its use with a teenager. Also, as I have said before in this column and in several of my books (most notably, “The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline That REALLY Works!”), if the parents’ attitude is not proper, no discipline method is going to work for long. An improper attitude includes impatience, frustration, anger, anxiety and any other manifestation of stress. Whatever the method, discipline should be delivered dispassionately. If there’s emotional “pressure” behind it, the method in question is very likely to fail.
Circling back to your question, the fact that you don’t feel you’ve made significant headway in two months with your daughter leads me to believe that your delivery is the problem. Granted, some kids are more stubborn than others, but a determined but calm enforcement style will bring even the most strong-willed child into line in a relatively short period of time.
One more thing: the fact that a child acts unfazed by a consequence does not mean it’s not having any effect. Children are clever, and acting like being thrown into the proverbial briar patch is a vacation is one form their cleverness sometimes takes.