Originally Posted by NellieKatz
In a nutshell, hold your ground. It's not like your son is deprived. He gets a CD and that's good. He doesn't get to have unlimited CDs because, as you said, it doesn't work for him. So you set a limit. Best of luck. It is hard.
I was just going to say that maybe it's not that choices don't work, it's just that he isn't happy about the choices (listen to the same disc again, or don't listen) and so he lobbies for another choice (a different CD instead of the same one.) You did as NellieKatz mentioned and "held your ground," not agreeing to a different CD. That's your limit. You heard his case and didn't change your limit.
What came next was his expression of feelings about that, about his inability to effect change despite his effort.
The ten minute screamfest is probably a combination of a last-ditch effort to change things to go his way in case the screaming "works," and an off-loading of all the feelings related to not being able to make a desired outcome happen. (Most likely more of the latter, the grieving & venting, rather than the attempt to persuade.)
My advice would be to hang in there, mama!
I think you set a limit, held the limit, and then your son has feelings about coming into contact with the limit & not being able to change it. The last piece for you is accepting the fact of those feelings & supporting him in his process. It might help if you think of it that way, with the tantrum reflecting his inner struggle and his own process, rather than it being something "personal" or directed at you. If it is really triggering, with lots of "He shouldn't be doing this" and "I shouldn't let him get away with this" thoughts coming up, it might help to repeat to yourself thoughts such as, "He can have his feelings," and "There are no bad feelings. Feelings are only 'bad' when they are not expressed." I also find myself experiencing anew, or re-realizing, that this is a process, and that "accepting it as it is" is a way of facilitating process, or allowing change. (Despite the fact that I "know" this, I seem to have to re-learn it as I can get very stuck.)
Peripherally, I agree with OTMomma that his behavior could contain an element of resisting what feels controlling. If you wanted to, you could reflect on your limits & your beliefs about the situation, and could explore the differences between what you are okay with offering to him and what you are worried about happening (I am not sure whether he can listen to the same CD indefinitely or just twice or what, and how that would differ in time from him listening to 2, 3 or 4 different story CDs, if he can listen to CD #1 over again 2, 3 or 4 times, for instance. But maybe he can't replay it multiple times? Or maybe that just hasn't been a problem because he only has wanted different stories and hasn't tried to repeat indefinitely?)
Anyway, I could see how that particular rule might seem arbitrary and controlling (you can listen multiple times but only to the same CD each time, versus you can listen to a few CDs), and that he could be reacting to it.
So that's one thing, but even so, that's still essentially about feelings in response to a limit. And I think it is possible for parents to be sometimes arbitrary & simply to exert their power in some ways without it being automatically harmful, if they are open about acknowledging what's happening at that time. A component of that, for me, is acknowledging what is happening (that I am insisting on an issue because I've decided to do so, and I am exerting my parental power), and then allowing & acknowledging feelings in response to that fact without making them "wrong" or taking them personally. (If I'm doing all of this then I tend to stay in touch with my reasons, which means I'm less likely to "abuse" my power or enforce kneejerk limits.)
So, even if you didn't feel like revisiting your limits & the choices you're offering and even if you didn't want to change anything, you'd still be back at the point of holding a limit & then acknowledging/allowing the feelings in response.