So Tired of This - Children's Irrational Fears - Mothering Forums

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So tired of this


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StClaire
Member posted 07-19-2001 05:23 AM
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I know i have posted many times about my 6 yo ds and his fears, they are at a crux right now and i am sooo angry and tired of it that i don't know what to do. I am venting here bc i am afraid that i will say things to him that i regret....
He is so scared that he refuses to go to the drawer about 20 ft away to get some tape, and he is pestering me sooo bad right now. He keeps telling me "if you don't do this for me,,,i am going to whine and cry alll day' And yesterday, "if you don't buy me a soda, i will NOT eat any supper and i WILL have dessert!" when i told him that those things have nothing to do with whether or not i will get him a soda he started in with "I"M thirsty..i'm thirsty, i'm thirsty,i'm thirsty...." you get the picture??


I feel like he is using his fears to try and make me wait on him hand and foot, he now is saying that he is afraid to make his bed bc he is scared to stand up on his bed !!?!

Everything that he doesn't want to do he gets out of bc he is too scared to do it.
Sometimes i refuse to do things for him so he will be forced to push through his fears and it turns into a major power struggle.


i feel foolish, but i don't feel like i am doing him, any favors by always doing his bidding, which is what it feels like to me.

Also, what am i supposed to do when he tries out his bratty behavoir on me ..like repeating things over and over. i can't even send him away from me to let my anger subside bc he is too scared.


UUUUUGGGGHHHH!

Thanks for listening, wish us luck, we are off to the beach for the weekendBlessings, Kelly



TreeLove
Member posted 07-19-2001 05:35 AM
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My guys are younger, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry your having a hard time right now. I don't know it this is helpful, but what if everytime he makes an "unreasonable" request-like he's too frightened to get the tape, you promise to stand next to him. Or when he makes the bed you'll stand right there? Maybe he's just lookin' for more attention. Maybe if you have clear boundries like "No I will not get the tape, but I'll stand right here." then he'll get the picture. Maybe you already do that.


StClaire
Member posted 07-19-2001 05:42 AM
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Treelove, thanks for being there.
I have been doing that, and that is what i'm getting tired of. I know i need to be patient with him, but it seems that the more i give the more he wants....the requests are getting more and more unreasonable, almost as if he is seeing how far i will go.

Anyway, we are getting ready to walk out the door, so wish us luck for a peacefull weekend



TreeLove
Member posted 07-19-2001 05:59 AM
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good luck!


heartmama
Member posted 07-19-2001 06:14 AM
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My ds is 5 and he also has very consistent fears over just leaving the room. Often if i ask him to go get something he will say "no i'm too scared". Maybe this is some little- known phase at this age!
Anyway, IMO you have to find a balance between letting him know you understand, and not being a total pushover. Usually if he wants something and asks me to get it because he is scared I just say "Well, if you want that you can get it. I'm right here and I know you'll be safe". He whines but I don't budge. Our house is barely 900 sq. feet so I can see him from anywhere i am sitting.

Also this has worked some too: If he is really whiney I just look at him and say "You know what, I'M not having any fun anymore. Your acting so whiney that I don't feel very happy." For some reason, that often gets him to stop whining. Nobody really wants a miserable mom!

I am really sorry you are going through this right now. Just decide what your reasonable limits are with accomodating his fears and do not waffle. At his age he certainly understands manipulation and inconsistency. If you feel that is what he is doing, don't bite. You will only resent being manipulated and he will only feel bad about getting away with it.

Heartmama



suzan
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:06 AM
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Where does a child learn manipulation? If a parent resents being manipulated, imagine how the child feels about being manipulated by the person who loves them most in the world and who they have to depend upon for their daily existence. The child does not have the power to stop hir parent from manipulating hir, while the parent does have the power of 'might makes right' to stop the child from manipulating parent and to force their manipulation upon the child.
Isn't it an AP/LLL thing, about filling a need and it will go away? How about spending a day helping a child do the things they want help with? I've heard/read about babies being peevish and demanding attention and then when parent gets down on the floor and gives the child their full attention, baby is fine and happy and so is parent. Why not treat older children this way? Sure, it is hard to let go of parent's own agenda for how they are spending their time, but really, isn't parenting the first priority here? If a child is fearful, and has an idea of how parent can help hir fears, parent is sure that the child's idea will not help? Why not give it a go? It might take awhile, but I would bet that both parent and child can learn how to relate to each other better, take each other seriously, respect each other's wants and needs and help each other get what is important to each. Manipulation has no place in a respectful relationship, be it on the parent's part of the child's. I would take this as a symptom of a much larger problem. Solutions that don't hurt anyone do exist!





mamamoon2001
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:21 AM
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suzan I feel I must jump in here. "an AP/LLL thing" where does the LLL part come in? Le Leache League is a single issue organization...helping mothers breastfed. They don't have a parenting style that they support or don't support, they don't associate themslves with AP or anyother parenting style.


Madame Ovary
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:57 AM
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I just got this FANTASTIC book: Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, the author of Raising Your Spirited Child. Wow! We really, really needed this one, and it sounds like it might help you a lot, too. You can get it from Chinaberry. The basic theme is Emotion Coaching; helping the child (also parents) understand and deal appropriately with the feelings under the surface of the problems. It's a very nuts and bolts, real life, how to do it kind of book, unlike so many out there that are mostly philosophy, but don't help you in a day-to-day sense. I highly recommend it!
Bright White Light Love



lish
Member posted 07-19-2001 09:02 AM
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My now 7 yo nephew had social anxitety. My MIL started babysitting him at age 4. He could not go into a store, or a restaurant. Could not speak to people he did not see reguraly. It was his fear. So she invented his shield of armor. When they would go to the store she would "put it on". And tell him he is safe now and can go inside. That worked for about 6 mo-1 year then he told her he did not need it anymore.
That could work if it is indeed fear.Now manitpulation,that is a whole different story. My son refused to wipe his but. I went over it and over it til I knew he could do it. Then one day, again when he refused to wipe I left him on there till he finally figured it was easier to do it then to wait all day for me. Now he goes it adn come outs with clean hands and turns the light out.

I guess my point in all this is. When a parents decides, the child will follow.I heard that on Oprah and it has gotten me through many tough parenting woos!

good luck St. Clair Hope you had a wonderful time on vacation!



madison
Member posted 07-19-2001 09:07 AM
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You know, I am not totally familiar with your situation, but these kinds of unreasonable fears your child is expressing sound more like phobias than typical childlike behavior.
Have you considered doing any research on phobias? They are by their nature irrational fears and part of disordered thinking processes. That would be why typical AP parenting and the usual discipline suggestions are not having much of a visible effect.

Good luck and I hope you have a nice weekend!



jaylind
Member posted 07-19-2001 10:03 AM
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My SD is 7 and has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and is also very Reactive Attachment Disorder(ish), although she has not formally been diagnosed with the latter.
When she has asked me for the 25th time how to turn up the volume on the computer speakers, I have to keep reminding myself that she is not manipulating me, nor does she need it explained again. What she wants is for me to sit with her and pay attention.

LOL that still doesn't make "how do I turn it up, jaylind?" any less annoying some days!!!!!

I tell her (for the hundredth time, it seems...), "remember how I showed you the little knob last time?" I know this is enough to jog her impaired memory and if she still acts as if I am speaking Greek then I ask her, "what can I do for you right now?" That will usually do the trick in getting her to share what she really wants.

I try to be firm and loving and never annoyed because I know that her mother's annoyance with her is partly responsible for how she got this way and more adult contempt is not going to help her.

It's scary; she is an accomplished repressor of her own needs. I really wish we could do more for her but our hands are legally tied for now by the family courts.

Sorry!!! I really got OT there for a sec...anyway...what I was getting at, StClaire, is that we seem to accomplish more with her by being firm and VERY consistent. She gains more independence that way than with our annoyance...no matter how tired and how many times we have heard the same question before. *sigh* I know it's hard...hang in there.

PS, BTW, I didn't mean to insinuate at all that your DS may be suffering from these disorders but I agree with Madison in that it would be a good idea to find out more about phobias and OCD.

jaylind



Naomi
Member posted 07-19-2001 11:17 AM
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Okay, I'm going to be the dissident voice here. You might consider picking up and reading one of the books by John Rosemond. I take Rosemond with a very, very large grain of salt: he doesn't like the family bed, for one thing, and I cosleep. (Also, he doesn't oppose spanking -- BUT he also doesn't think it's necessary, and his suggested disciplinary strategies are typically violence-free.) But I think he has some pretty good common-sense ideas, especially for dealing with school-aged children.
For things like this, Rosemond thinks you should try to "put the monkey on your KID'S back, rather than your own." This is your child's problem, and only your child can solve this problem. As long as you assume the burden of dealing with your child's irrational fears, your child has no motivation for resolving them.

Rosemond's suggestion for dealing with a child with irrational fears: tell your child that you've talked to his doctor, and his doctor says that your child is so fearful because he's not getting enough sleep. So, you will give your child three (or five, or ten -- whatever you're comfortable with) tickets per day for an "I'm scared, do it for me, Mamma" moment. If he uses up more than one (or two, or four, or whatever you decide), then he needs to go to bed an hour (or a half-hour) early. This is NOT presented as a punishment, but rather as a way to help him get over his fears. Since most children do NOT like to go to bed early, this gives them motivation to work on getting over their fears. (Alternately, if adjusting the child's bedtime would be a major burden for you, you could tell him that the doctor says that he's fearful because he's getting too much sugar in his diet, so no sugary desserts or pop for him that day....or it's because he's watching too much TV....or anything that would be non-burdensome on YOU to change, while being annoying, though not devastating, to your son.) Why lie and say it's the doctor? Well, this cuts down on arguments, for one thing, because it's an outside authority. In addition, it gives the child a context for their fears -- there's a REASON they're scared that is NOT because there's something to be scared of.

Children CAN get over irrational fears if they're properly motivated. I know this because I remember my own phases as a child pretty clearly, and I remember getting over my fears.

But..... I really, really think that your son is crying out for some limits. Fears are one thing, but to say to your mother "if you don't do this for me, I am going to whine and cry all day" is OPEN manipulation. This isn't even subtle. I think his ultimate fear here is that he is in charge, and not you. That's not really what he wants. He wants to know that YOU are the parent.

Anyway, if you want to check out Rosemond, his website is at http://www.rosemond.com/ ... again, remember, "grain of salt." Even "box of salt." But Rosemond's ideas are pretty adaptable, and lend themselves well to taking what you like and ignoring the rest. (As far as his books go, I'd suggest checking them out of your local library.)




heartmama
Member posted 07-19-2001 01:40 PM
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While I don't agree with Rosemond or his approach to handling childhood fears, I do agree with Naomi on the fact that there is nothing psychologically wrong with your child, from what you have said, he is pushing you with open manipulation when he says things like "If you don't do this, then I will...." sort of things. That isn't some disorder or psychiatric symptom. All kids can get into stuff like that!
While I agree with Suzan that there are times when our children are whiney and demanding b/c they need extra attention, this just doesn't sound like your son needs extra anything. You sound like you have given him lots of patience on this, and he has only become bolder ie."Give me soda NOW or I'll scream!!!" kind of stuff.

No kid is perfect, and ALL our kids try this stuff at some point. Don't feel bad. But you have got to put some limits on this and you cannot give in. Handing him the soda because he threatens to make your day miserable if you don't would be disastrous.

Check out some of the positive discipline books at the store. I think Dr. Sears also makes a Discipline book.

I think if you are loving but firm, this is going to pass!

Heartmama



suzan
Member posted 07-19-2001 01:46 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by mamamoon2001:
suzan I feel I must jump in here. "an AP/LLL thing" where does the LLL part come in? Le Leache League is a single issue organization...helping mothers breastfed. They don't have a parenting style that they support or don't support, they don't associate themslves with AP or anyother parenting style.
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Sorry if I got that wrong. I remember the phrase 'gentle discipline' from LLL. I'll have to go find the book I'm thinking of and see where I've been mislead. <smile> I just can't think of 'AP' without also thinking 'LLL' in the same mental breath. LLLI was *very* helpful to me throughout my lengthy (baby) nursing career, through many odd manifestations of problems.



beccaboo
Member posted 07-19-2001 01:54 PM
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Mamamoon2001, I find that LLL *does* advocate a certain parenting style, whether they call it AP or not. Chapter 15 of the Womanly Art is called "Discipline is Loving Guidance," (what does that have to to with breastfeeding?) and the second sentence of the chapter reads:
"Our first job is to meet his (sic) physical and emotional needs as fully as we can, so that a secure foundation is laid for his advance to maturity."

To me, that sounds pretty similar to what Suzan said. I don't mean to be ornery, but as long as we're splitting hairs...

Edited to add: oops, Suzan, I think we were posting at the same time! Funny how long it takes me to type a response with a nursing child in my lap...


[This message has been edited by beccaboo (edited 07-19-2001).]



suzan
Member posted 07-19-2001 02:49 PM
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Thanks, Beccaboo, that is what I was thinking of. Loving guidance, gentle discipline, all along the same lines
And as I have learned and grown, I find that I disagree more and more with the terminology and mindset behind the discipline. But I'll shut up for now.



kats
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:10 PM
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Kel,
Vent away !! I would be pulling my hair out too. I think that when you feel it is a real fear than gently help him. When it's flat out manipulation and brattyness then let him be thirsty, do not give him dessert ( don't even bother arguing at the time he voices what he's going to do... that becomes a power struggle and forget it.) just say " we'll see" and let him rant and rave. It's going to be so hard to listen to him carry on but stick with it. He will get sick of it too. Whatever you do don't give him the slightest idea that he can get anything by acting that way. Ignore his tantrums when they aren't really about fear and stay strong girl !!

Love, kel



kats
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:11 PM
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Stclaire,
forgot to tell you..... it's me kelts.


mama-mooa
Member posted 07-19-2001 08:51 PM
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I don't have any advice on this - but I'm learning from the responses what to do if this comes up in the future (DS is 20 mos). It sounds challenging but hopefully the advice you've received so far will help.
Regarding LLL - at the meetings I've attended there's always been a library of books set out for borrowing - all of Sears' books are there along with almost all of the AP books I know about. I never would have learned about AP if I hadn't gone to LLL meetings (and checked out tons of books from the LLL library!). It's also been discussed at the meetings I've been to. So I definitely associate LLL with AP - from my experience with the local chapter, LLL does espouse the AP parenting style.



Ginger in the woods
Member posted 07-20-2001 10:24 AM
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Hey, Kelly! You & I share a lot of the same issues with our sons. One time, he was repeating, repeating, repeating. And I said, "Billy, Billy, Billy, What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?" I was totally irritating him, for about a minute. That may sound malicious to some, but I know about wits end. I know RIGHT where that is! I showed him what it sounded like to annoy, annoy, annoy. He Hated it!!! Allow me to add that he doesnt do the repeating thing any more... For my son, and maybe yours, too, He needs to know where is power is. I hope I can explain this right. My boy is the littlest one in the house. Dad gets to leave & go off to places afar, Mom gets to turn on & off machines all day, tell him what we're eating, where we're going, what we'll buy today, when to go to bed, and frankly, my DS needed some power of his own. So whenever possible, I tell him how brave he is. This is his own power. If he jumps off the top step, "Wow! That was brave!" (Remember, my ds has big fears, too.)Whenever he does something he didn't think he could do, I show him how great that was that he just did that. I also brag about how brave he was, to other people, within his earshot. That rings true to him. Kids believe adults. If an adult tells him he's a scardy~cat, he's going to believe it. On the flipside, if an adult tells him he's brave, he'll internalize that as well. But back to his power, I try and show him his power of choice, How he can choose this or that. What clothes to wear, he can be the leader when we go for rides on the quaads, He can choose what we have for dinner. By showing him his power, he feels more a part of the grown up world, and he acts more maturely, for the most part, when I make it a point to discuss these things with him. Whenever I see him becoming bratty, I think of some creative way of giving him the ultimate power over. Choosing something for dinner, and then helping me cook it is a biggie here, for some reason. I'll ask him what he'd like to do tonight, and then we all do it. Also, I tell him that he CAN control himself, he has the power to do that. I do it all day long, I say. See the power you have over your feelings? Try it! I tell him, just try it! Now doesnt that feel good and strong? Sometimes that one works, sometimes it doesnt. Depends on nis willingness to cooperate, mostly.
Best of Luck, and try the repeating thing. Show him what it sounds like! ~G


StClaire
Member posted 07-21-2001 07:21 PM
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Gosh guys, thanks for so many replies
Ginger, That is a great idea, i imagine he must feel powerless and that may be the reason behind his acting out, that i could change the tone by changing the subject to something he may get excited about...i hope i remember in the midst of an episode. Oh, the repeating thing (don't you just hate that??) I have joined in with him when he repeats before "i'm hungry...." makes a nice rhythmic chant when i chant it in sync with him. He usually laughs AND is angry at the same time ,and he stops, ~but~ i need to be in a relaxed, not at the end of my rope place to pull it off, though isn't that the case with much of what we face in parenting?

Naomi, I can agree that he is asking for limits by excersizing the clearly bratty behavoir, i take issue with Rosemonds advice to tell the child that "the DR told me that you needed..." though bc that is placing an "expert" in authority over our own wisdom. I try to instill *inside* authority instead of *outside* authority....i have seen some of his ideas that i can agree with and i'm not afraid to read more, i just had to say that bc it is a pet peeve of mine

Madame Ovary, that book sounds great, i got alot out of the spirited child book, can't wait to start..

Kats (Kelts) and others,

Thanks for hearing my venting, sometimes i just need to let it out somewhere and it certianly is better that losing it with DS. I don't believe he has a psychological disorder, just reacting to life in this particular home and family, and his temperament. I realize now that the fear to go get the tape was a genuine fear and i could have stopped what i was doing and walked with him so he could do it himself, i was carrying the baggage from the day before and the **soda incedent*** and my tolerance was still thin. I failed to see that as a new day.

Was it you Heartmama or Lish who wiped the bottom?? (LOL) bc we go through the same thing, i have tried showing him how and waiting it out, and many times he does it himself, but i usually just do it and hope that soon he won't want me to ..I think that happens soon with boys.

BTW, I had a great break, DH didn't though, he got deathly ill on our vacation (only 2 days) It was supposed to be for us to reconnect as a couple (troubles been brewing lately) He had such a high fever that he stayed in bed the whole time, never even saw the beach... poor man he moaned alot, and it was not for a good reason

Blessings to all of you, Love Kelly

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