Originally Posted by spottiew
ok, i popped over to the CL tribe and there was no one there, so maybe i can ask this here, even tho it's in the middle of another conversation... i'm just looking for 'what's the CL approach to this type of thing', because it happens all the time, and while in the middle of it, i have no ideas.
this past wknd, we were out camping 90 mins from home. well, 90 mins if your car doesn't break, so 7 hours for us. kid is happy through 99% of things, gets tired on the last leg in the car but otherwise OK.
next morning, wants to break camp and go to the nearby wildlife park RIGHT NOW. won't stop yelling- there's a quiet rule, so we spend all our time trying to get him quieter, get packed up, while he's yelling ZOO! NOW! (btw, he's 4). there's a playground in this campsite, he would be happier there, but will not agree to go.
we happened to get free passes to this animal park... it's the kind of thing i would do anyway with him (always asking him first) if the price were less. he finds out that there is a 'bus tram' to the various habitats- only it's hourly, we have a 40 minute wait. all he wants to do it go and wait for it- we really need to use that time for the rest of the park, or else we miss them or be very late home. we keep saying that the animals are on the way to the bus tram (in a way they are), but yells the whole way that he wants nothing but the bus tram (and he is the ONLY loud one there). i give snacks, he got the same amount of sleep as normal, he WONT walk. he's dragging himself all over the ground, climbing and hurting us, just WONT walk.
we say maybe we need to leave, but no one wants that. i don't mention money, but often i would- we paid, we stay. i do say 'we made this choice, we live with it'- but he wants to change his mind. after all that, he got tired of the bus halfway through, then wanted to go hom. he's not the world's best traveler, but was just a horribly unhappy non-consenual thing... other than never go anywhere (which would also drive all of us bonkers, he NEEDS to get out), what to do... leaving is sometimes but not an option. cheering up does sometimes work, but not then. we asked 'what would make you happier here'- no ideas.
i'm not sure that even conveys things accurately... we did enjoy it, but we always have this kid climbing and attacking us, being dramatic and wacky in a very 'in your face' way... let me know what y'all think. maybe i can plan ahead better next time.
Firstly, let me validate you: that sounded like a ROUGH time, and if you go through that regularly, you are a saint and deserving of all those precious mama hours that will one day be yours again!
I hear in what you wrote that you really did try to give him what he wants, that he seemed to negate every opportunity presented to him to be agreeable. I read a response from another post that said it didn't look like the situation was very consensual, I see it differently. I see that you are being constantly torn in all directions because he seems to want the most difficult option. You didn't say that much, but I like to read between the lines. I know desperation when I see it. In a further post I notice you say he likes to control.
My first thought is to wipe off plans to go anywhere with a "quiet rule" for quite some time. Save yourselves the headache of that, because then you can have half a chance of honoring his desire to be other than that. I have a screecher, so I don't say that offhandedly. It can be painfully overwhelming, all on its own with no other childhood behavioural quirks.
However, like myself, you find yourself in situations as they are
, not as you will prepare for them to be in future. This is personal preference, but I say screw the rooolz, man. When in a situation that demands "quiet", unless there is an escape (such as a cinema) or someone's life depends on it, then people have to deal with the fact that they share this planet with children. Day AND night. I give my share of respect by not going to fancy adult restaurants with little children, not going to the cinema, .... and so on. I give those who have done their child raising a break, and those who choose not to raise children their space. But by the same token, we do share some spaces on this planet, such as malls, parks, planes, campsites, zoos, toilets... and if I still cannot escape then it's every one for their dayyyyyym self, yo.
It was during my first child's toddlerhood that I learned to release my "people pleasing" tendencies regarding my children's noise and not far behind that went my "random unnecessary rule following" tendencies.
Regarding his desire to stay and wait for the tram, it sounds like the very human tendency to hope that something other that which we have might make us feel better. His mood might have been low, for some personal reason, and he could have been searching for something to fix it. A larger scale of this is "retail therapy" or even larger would be addiction or an extra marital affair - that kind of thing. Sometimes you need to know that it isn't your parenting or the choices you've given but just how he feels right now. And that only he can lift his spirits. How was the mood between you and whomever was there? You did what he wanted, you waited for the tram and it wasn't all he hoped... it also sounds like he had a problem with something in his environment.
My daughter has a fear of dogs. I will admit to forgetting this as an option when her behaviour goes off. She is seven now and it is still an issue. She will suddenly get aggressive and surly and there is absolutely nothing we can do to appease her or even help. Years of trial and error and I found that it was the threat of a dog, or the sound of a dog barking. Just the threat of a dog will trigger it. There were times when there was no clear sign of why she was off. For instance, walking past a house where she knows there once was a dog will set her off, even if there is no dog there now.
Something to consider, esp as you were in a zoo. Animals have powerful energy, and zoos are a haven of miserable frequencies. I am against circuses and zoos because of the misery within. Jailed animals will set kids off, esp sensitive kids, every time. I find it interesting that your son protested when you suggested that there were animals on the way to the tram.
Regarding his controlling tendencies, is he in kindy? Does he have a sibling, or in any way involved with other children who could be thwarting his autonomy? This is another issue we went through with my daughter. She started becoming very controlling and demanding when she started school. It was a little evident but totally controllable when she was in kindy. If I opened the door, she screamed that she wanted to open it and wouldn't settle until I actually closed
the door again for her to open it. Yet another day if I waited for her to open the door, she freaked and demanded that I open the door! Confusing times.
I sorted this issue, at least for the car, by removing the door as an option altogether and said that if she wants to get out of the car she has to climb out of the window. She loved that option, and still to this day sometimes winds it down to get out
. She was about the age of 3 or 4
. It's an awkward, confusing age, hang in there. It gets worse.
Anyway, back to the autonomy thwarting... I found that she felt a little powerless at kindy. This is not an easy find in that age bracket as what you see and what they say is not all there is. She was only there a couple of times a week because she said she liked it, but her behaviour started going off and we had to help her find her groove. Then at school it got uncontrollable. I pinned that one, correctly, on our connection. Although your son isn't in school, your connection may need some work. Hold On To Your Kids is invaluable for that, all the tips and nuances involved in maintaining the connection.
Your son seems to be grasping for control which can be a sign of a loose connection or thwarted autonomy or a sense of being out of control. A recent death can give a child (or adult) a sense of having no control also. So please don't think that you are creating it, but at the same time, don't overlook yourself as a participant if it resonates.
He "needs to get out", I see you have written. Why do you say this? Does his behaviour change to more serene if you are out? Do you prefer it? Again, I used to think my daughter needed many toys and for us to get out but it was really me that needed that. I found, paradoxically, that the less stimulation my child had the more serene she was. My son is the same, only we started out with less for him. DS gets bored and whiney unlike DD when she was little, but we Zen out the house and let him go nuts. I recommend trying that, if you haven't already. Let me know if it really does seem to be a big need to get out and about and you have tested the theory by giving him about two weeks worth of low lighting, low noise, low low lowness and he still busts to get out.
Running out of steam and time. I know there were few or no consensual solutions in there for your problems, but I do not believe there are always consensual solutions, remember.
I believe there are myriad situations for growth. It is obvious to me that the situations you found yourself in had limited or no consensual options for you, or your son. You were probably not going to find consensus with him on any matter in that situation. If you could do the day over, what would you do differently?