What would you do...? PLEASE HELP!!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-21-2011, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some overall guidance on how to handle some of my son's behaviors... I am feeling not so competent at this parenting thing today.

 

1. Name calling - preschool-ish name calling such as "hot dog face" or "banana apple head"...the worst is usually "meanie"...

 

- I have basically been disregarding whatever he is saying. Sometimes he says it in a jesting mood just because he thinks it is silly. Other times he is using the names as weapons, when he is angry or trying to be hurtful. Should my reaction be the same regardless of the intention? Because the words he is generally using are not "negative" words in and of themselves (inanimate objects rather than curses), does that make the need to address the behavior less? Can he mentally process the delineation that "G-rated" words are only okay when being silly but not okay when being hurtful?

 

2. Explosive reactions - kicking, screaming, crying, name calling in reaction to a decision different than what he wants...although sometimes it is limited to whining, pouting, "you never let me...." behavior...

 

- We have been through tantrums...the one's, the two's, and the three's. Each stage has been different, all have been handled very similarly: validation of feelings, ensure that my first decision is my last decision (assessing whether I believe it is something worth fighting over before I make the decision, so there is no waffling....), but in the end, just allowing the feelings to run their course. The four's seem worse - more explosive, longer lasting. I have been basically sticking to the previous reaction to tantrums, but it doesn't seem to help... 

 

2. Repetition - repeating the same sentence over and over again until I verbally respond...

 

- This is usually a statement that I avoiding acknowledging because it will lead to the previously aforementioned explosive reactions. It is like he is trying to get me to say no so he can explode and kick and scream and yell and cry... Part of me doesn't want to believe that he is baiting me. Is that likely? Or, am I just projecting the idea of provocation onto him?

 

I feel like he is a teenager stuck in a 4-year-old's body: constantly struggling for power, temperamental, argumentative, on an emotional roller coaster (happy and excited one minute, surly and difficult to get along with the next). I am having a hard time not being drawn in when the above behaviors are occurring and explode myself (they usually occur in conjunction with each other to some extent). I want to do better, but I don't know what to do... I try to choose my battles, but lately it seems like I am always having to "talk" to him about his behavior, and I am sure he feels that way too. I try to encourage the acceptable behavior, compliment and acknowledge when he is being nice or helpful, but it seems so rare and it seems like the positive reinforcement is being drowned out by everything else.

 

I am struggling with more than this, but at the moment, this is all I can formulate into semi-coherent thoughts. I am writing this on the heel of a very frustrating evening containing various combinations of the above issues for 2.5 hours which was followed by a 45-minute long crying session (after I eliminated the 15-minute playtime before bedtime routine due to the continued behavior after several warnings...) before his body/mind finally gave out and he went to sleep...

 

 

"Update" 6/27/2011:

 

I haven't had an opportunity to check out the library for the previously suggested books, but I really need to share and get some insight on my evening. I have to be doing something wrong...

 

I picked him up this evening and could immediately tell he was tired. He had played all day - hard apparently - and I know that contributed a lot to this evenings behaviors and emotions. However, after more than two extremely long hours of being yelled at, I am nearing my boiling point and have no idea what to do. It started with:

 

Micah: Where are we going to eat?

Me: Home.

Micah: I don't want to eat at home; I want to go out to eat. 

Me: I am sorry, but Nana and Papa are going to be in town tomorrow. I am sure they are going to want to go out to eat then, so we cannot go today.

Micah: <screaming, crying, kicking the seat in front of him> ...BUT I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT!!! I DON'T WANT TO EAT AT HOME! 

 

Etc, etc, etc. the entire way home. I am really proud of myself that I didn't explode and yell back at him. I calmly explained several ways that I completely understood he was disappointed, but that we were going home to eat. So, we get home, and he doesn't want to get out of the car. No calm talking, no reasoning, no hugs, no understanding allowed - all basically engages additional explosive behavior - he wants to stay in there, pouting/sulking/crying/screaming...so I unhook his harness so he can get out when he wants, leave the door to the car and the kitchen open (he is in the garage which is attached to the kitchen). Less than a minute later, he walks in continuing to scream, cry, etc., etc. 

 

I move along with my evening as though he is standing there perfectly calm and begin to have a conversation with him about dinner. I can tell that immediate gratification is in order, so I ask if he would rather have pasta or soup (offering a limited number of options is good, right?!?). So, he picks the pasta. I begin to cook our dinner. (He is still screaming and crying). I get about halfway cooking dinner (no going back now....), and he decides, NO, he doesn't WANT pasta, he wants soup. At this point, I feel I have a decision to make. I can either: A - stop cooking the pasta, throw it away, and cook his second choice (this doesn't seem to be the right response because it is wasting money, and what I get halfway through cooking the soup and he decides THAT is not what he wants?!? Which is completely plausible...)....B - continue cooking the pasta and cook the soup too (this doesn't seem like an appropriate response because I do NOT cook two dinners, and I do not want him to think it is okay - for today or any other day - because I can't afford it financially and I can't afford to spend the time on cooking two meals).....C - continue cooking the pasta, and serve it for dinner. I chose option C. Which, of course, does nothing for the screaming and crying. 

 

At this point, I am mostly tuning him out, chanting over and over in my mind - "It isn't you, it's not personal, stay calm" or something to that effect over and over and over, responding to questions and statements as calmly as possible. Trying not to feed into the cycle, but not ignoring him completely. I had already allowed him to have a yogurt, but didn't feel that anything should be substituted for the main portion of his dinner. I offered a salad to go with the pasta, but he wasn't interested because he didn't WANT pasta, he wanted soup. Round and round we go until it is time to sit down to eat. I fix our plates and prepare to sit down. He decides he wants to take his meal into the living room and eat while watching a movie (this is not acceptable in our home. I do allow him to watch TV occasionally, but it is usually limited to a certain amount of time on certain days and certainly not at dinner time. - I do want to note that in the car before this whole fiasco began he had asked about watching the movie and I had agreed, because at that time there was enough time to get home, eat dinner, and watch at least part of the movie before winding down for bed). I tell him, no, we do not eat in the living room, you cannot eat your dinner in there while watching TV because it is too messy and it is not healthy (plus, dinner time is usually our talk about the day time). 

 

Round and round we go about the items cooked for dinner, wanting to watch the movie, and wanting to eat in the living room. Finally, I had had enough - I didn't feel I should have to sit there and be yelled at constantly throughout dinner. I took him to our bedroom, placed him on the bed, and told him that once he could calm down, he could come join me for dinner. Several times he migrated back from the bedroom to the kitchen table, still screaming and crying and yelling and arguing, so I would take him back to the bedroom, explain it again, ad nauseum. He finally comes back, still whimpering and crying, but takes a bite or two of the pasta. Then starts screaming and crying and yelling, saying that he wanted salad and I wouldn't let him. I explain that I asked and he said he did not want a salad, but if he wanted one, all he had to do was ask. "YOU WON'T LET ME HAVE A SALAD!!!!!!!!!" Over and over and over and over. We go back through the same you can't be at the dinner table while you are acting that way, direct him to the bedroom or living room (which is on the way to the bedroom) to calm down advising he can return when he has calmed down. 

This is nearly an hour after dinner was ready. He finally calms down enough to ask for a salad and eat some of his pasta and finish his yogurt. 

 

Of course now that so much time has passed, bedtime is looming closer and now there is no time for the movie or any portion thereof, so then of course when he asks about the movie again, it starts all over. So, I have to go to the bathroom and really just need a sanity check after listening to over an hour and a half of screaming and crying. I go into the bathroom, close and lock the door, and just as I sit down to use the bathroom, he starts banging and kicking the door while yelling and screaming. Finally, I see that sanity is not allowed this evening, so once I was finished, I unlocked the door. He comes in hugging me, saying he was scared, etc., so I hugged and consoled and comforted, while he continued to half-cry (does this make sense? Not a full out cry, but sobbing, shuddering breaths, "whining"...). 

 

Then, he says, I am watching the movie! He goes to turn on the TV and the movie...I turn it of and advise it was time for bed, lead him up to the bedroom. Then, I tell him to go get a book. He doesn't go to get the book, just continues the constant crying/whining/sobbing which has revamped itself because of the movie incident. Then, he says, "I AM GOING DOWNSTAIRS TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!" So as he leaves the bedroom, I get up to follow him and lead him back to the bed, and he explodes, "YOU SAID I COULD GET A BOOK, BUT YOU WON'T LET ME!!!" "Micah, if you want a book go get one, but you cannot go downstairs to start the movie" "YOU WON'T LET ME GET A BOOK!!!!"....

 

I really won't get into the rest of it as it is basically more of the same - exploding anytime he doesn't hear what he wants, whether what he wants is or is not what I said. He finally started winding down and has now passed out, looking all peaceful and innocent, and here I am with my head pounding and my head spinning, wondering where in the heck I went wrong?!?

 

PLEASE tell me what I could have done to diffuse the situation....I don't know how many more evenings like this I can take. This one was fairly intense, they aren't always like this, sometimes they are moderate or mild, but the same underlying issues are there. I am literally in tears. gloomy.gif  They say to enjoy this time as they grow so fast, but how in the world am I supposed to enjoy this?!?


Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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#2 of 14 Old 06-22-2011, 04:03 AM
 
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Hi,

 

Maybe my response to Dantesmama  - 3.5  yo  will help.  I recommend checking out the collaborative problem solving approach - see the 2 sites and blog . The blog has a piece on namecalling / naomi aldort and cps . It is not easy . use the good times to connect with general chatting , perspective taking and solve problems in a proactive way - out of the moment . No magic bullet , it is hard work. Nurture yourself

 

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#3 of 14 Old 06-22-2011, 05:47 AM
 
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I would ignore the name calling or simply say it isn't nice in an uninterested tone and move on. That kind of stuff is totally geared to getting a reaction out of you.

 

My son also asks me the same question or type of question over and over. After I have answered the first time (whether a yes or no) each time he asks again I simply say "I have already answered that question."

 

Your signature also says you are a single working Mom? That must be very difficult to be doing it all and I bet this is part of the over all issue. You are his safe haven, his primary rock, so you are going to be the brunt of his most difficult behavior as he tries to figure out how the world works and what he can get away with.

 

Have you checked out "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen? It is a great book and I bet it is available at your library.

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#4 of 14 Old 06-23-2011, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both for your responses.

 

Yes, I am a single, solo parent, working outside of the home 45ish hours per week and up until this semester, I was going to school too (I had to take some time off because I was buckling under the stress). I am sure a lot of my problem is that I am stressed, and I let things bother me too much...but it is really frustrating. I have so little time with him in the evenings, and the entire time (it seems) is spent arguing and dealing with crying and temper tantrums and not listening. I also have had the thought that he is relieving his stress of the day on me... I just don't know how to not let him get away with it, how to curb the behavior and show him that the behavior is unacceptable.

 

I have not checked out Playful Parenting, but will. I am definitely not expecting a magic bullet or a simple fix, but what I am doing now is apparently NOT working. I just have no idea what to do which will. This seems to be my MO since he was born...for the entire first year I struggled with figuring out how in the world to get him to sleep or get him to stop crying. The next couple of years were better; after picking up a few ideas from here, we were able to communicate better, and he actually listened. Then the three's hit, and we are back to the I-can't-figure-out-what-the-heck-to-do mode...I am just at my wit's end. :(


Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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#5 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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I have another radical idea. Have you considered simply ignoring any unwanted behavior and only comment on positive behavior? I understand hitting and kicking can not be ignored, but maybe the whining and pouting and name calling and just general pissiness? Just let it roll right off of you and go about your business.

 

Really try to disengage the kid from the behavior and see if that makes it easier on both of you.

 

Just throwing stuff out tehre!!

 

 

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#6 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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I think you might find The Explosive Child by Greene helpful. It helps figure out what behaviors you want to target and what are okay to let go, etc and helps with strategies. It is for dealing with children with low frustration tolerance and inflexibility.

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#7 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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Sounds like 4 to me. :lol

 

1. namecalling, when in good fun, I join. When the "mean" face is one and she's hurling them, I turn it around and ask her how she'd feel if I called her names. We also talk about appropriate ways to talk to one another, respect, etc.

 

2. because my daughter is now four and she knows it's not acceptable at school, I have a no tolerance policy. We don't hit, kick, bite, etc. It's a one way ticket to her room to cool down and she can come out when she's ready to be nice. Then we talk about the why. wash rinse repeat.  They're not toddlers anymore, but they aren't full blown children yet, kwim? They still want, but don't want, their mommies. It's a funny in between stage and the growing is difficult emotionally.

 

3. The repetitiveness...YES. so freakin' annoying. but again, it's trying to find the boundaries. Not really provocation, but trying to see what he can get. "Can I have chocolate?" no. "Can I have chocolate?" what did I say last time? "no." why do you think my answer will be yes this time? "HRMPH" I'm getting a lot of "HRMPH" these days. :lol And also that I'm not her best friend anymore, I'm mean, etc. And the crying, OMG. Sobbing on my shoulder will not get you what you want.

 

And it is like a mini-teenager. But I keep reminding myself this too shall pass. My friends and I don't call it the "F#*%$! You, Fours" for nothing. And FWIW, my child was never big on tantruming and we're still going through it.

 

(I also work full time, and Carmen is a May, 2007 baby. I think sometimes it's triggered by being overtired from the long hours we keep. We have less trouble on days we're off together.)

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#8 of 14 Old 06-27-2011, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't had an opportunity to check out the library for the previously suggested books, but I really need to share and get some insight on my evening. I have to be doing something wrong...

 

I picked him up this evening and could immediately tell he was tired. He had played all day - hard apparently - and I know that contributed a lot to this evenings behaviors and emotions. However, after more than two extremely long hours of being yelled at, I am nearing my boiling point and have no idea what to do. It started with:

 

Micah: Where are we going to eat?

Me: Home.

Micah: I don't want to eat at home; I want to go out to eat. 

Me: I am sorry, but Nana and Papa are going to be in town tomorrow. I am sure they are going to want to go out to eat then, so we cannot go today.

Micah: <screaming, crying, kicking the seat in front of him> ...BUT I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT!!! I DON'T WANT TO EAT AT HOME! 

 

Etc, etc, etc. the entire way home. I am really proud of myself that I didn't explode and yell back at him. I calmly explained several ways that I completely understood he was disappointed, but that we were going home to eat. So, we get home, and he doesn't want to get out of the car. No calm talking, no reasoning, no hugs, no understanding allowed - all basically engages additional explosive behavior - he wants to stay in there, pouting/sulking/crying/screaming...so I unhook his harness so he can get out when he wants, leave the door to the car and the kitchen open (he is in the garage which is attached to the kitchen). Less than a minute later, he walks in continuing to scream, cry, etc., etc.

 

I move along with my evening as though he is standing there perfectly calm and begin to have a conversation with him about dinner. I can tell that immediate gratification is in order, so I ask if he would rather have pasta or soup (offering a limited number of options is good, right?!?). So, he picks the pasta. I begin to cook our dinner. (He is still screaming and crying). I get about halfway cooking dinner (no going back now....), and he decides, NO, he doesn't WANT pasta, he wants soup. At this point, I feel I have a decision to make. I can either: A - stop cooking the pasta, throw it away, and cook his second choice (this doesn't seem to be the right response because it is wasting money, and what I get halfway through cooking the soup and he decides THAT is not what he wants?!? Which is completely plausible...)....B - continue cooking the pasta and cook the soup too (this doesn't seem like an appropriate response because I do NOT cook two dinners, and I do not want him to think it is okay - for today or any other day - because I can't afford it financially and I can't afford to spend the time on cooking two meals).....C - continue cooking the pasta, and serve it for dinner. I chose option C. Which, of course, does nothing for the screaming and crying.

 

At this point, I am mostly tuning him out, chanting over and over in my mind - "It isn't you, it's not personal, stay calm" or something to that effect over and over and over, responding to questions and statements as calmly as possible. Trying not to feed into the cycle, but not ignoring him completely. I had already allowed him to have a yogurt, but didn't feel that anything should be substituted for the main portion of his dinner. I offered a salad to go with the pasta, but he wasn't interested because he didn't WANT pasta, he wanted soup. Round and round we go until it is time to sit down to eat. I fix our plates and prepare to sit down. He decides he wants to take his meal into the living room and eat while watching a movie (this is not acceptable in our home. I do allow him to watch TV occasionally, but it is usually limited to a certain amount of time on certain days and certainly not at dinner time. - I do want to note that in the car before this whole fiasco began he had asked about watching the movie and I had agreed, because at that time there was enough time to get home, eat dinner, and watch at least part of the movie before winding down for bed). I tell him, no, we do not eat in the living room, you cannot eat your dinner in there while watching TV because it is too messy and it is not healthy (plus, dinner time is usually our talk about the day time).

 

Round and round we go about the items cooked for dinner, wanting to watch the movie, and wanting to eat in the living room. Finally, I had had enough - I didn't feel I should have to sit there and be yelled at constantly throughout dinner. I took him to our bedroom, placed him on the bed, and told him that once he could calm down, he could come join me for dinner. Several times he migrated back from the bedroom to the kitchen table, still screaming and crying and yelling and arguing, so I would take him back to the bedroom, explain it again, ad nauseum. He finally comes back, still whimpering and crying, but takes a bite or two of the pasta. Then starts screaming and crying and yelling, saying that he wanted salad and I wouldn't let him. I explain that I asked and he said he did not want a salad, but if he wanted one, all he had to do was ask. "YOU WON'T LET ME HAVE A SALAD!!!!!!!!!" Over and over and over and over. We go back through the same you can't be at the dinner table while you are acting that way, direct him to the bedroom or living room (which is on the way to the bedroom) to calm down advising he can return when he has calmed down. 

This is nearly an hour after dinner was ready. He finally calms down enough to ask for a salad and eat some of his pasta and finish his yogurt.

 

Of course now that so much time has passed, bedtime is looming closer and now there is no time for the movie or any portion thereof, so then of course when he asks about the movie again, it starts all over. So, I have to go to the bathroom and really just need a sanity check after listening to over an hour and a half of screaming and crying. I go into the bathroom, close and lock the door, and just as I sit down to use the bathroom, he starts banging and kicking the door while yelling and screaming. Finally, I see that sanity is not allowed this evening, so once I was finished, I unlocked the door. He comes in hugging me, saying he was scared, etc., so I hugged and consoled and comforted, while he continued to half-cry (does this make sense? Not a full out cry, but sobbing, shuddering breaths, "whining"...).

 

Then, he says, I am watching the movie! He goes to turn on the TV and the movie...I turn it of and advise it was time for bed, lead him up to the bedroom. Then, I tell him to go get a book. He doesn't go to get the book, just continues the constant crying/whining/sobbing which has revamped itself because of the movie incident. Then, he says, "I AM GOING DOWNSTAIRS TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!" So as he leaves the bedroom, I get up to follow him and lead him back to the bed, and he explodes, "YOU SAID I COULD GET A BOOK, BUT YOU WON'T LET ME!!!" "Micah, if you want a book go get one, but you cannot go downstairs to start the movie" "YOU WON'T LET ME GET A BOOK!!!!"....

 

I really won't get into the rest of it as it is basically more of the same - exploding anytime he doesn't hear what he wants, whether what he wants is or is not what I said. He finally started winding down and has now passed out, looking all peaceful and innocent, and here I am with my head pounding and my head spinning, wondering where in the heck I went wrong?!?

 

PLEASE tell me what I could have done to diffuse the situation....I don't know how many more evenings like this I can take. This one was fairly intense, they aren't always like this, sometimes they are moderate or mild, but the same underlying issues are there. I am literally in tears. gloomy.gif  They say to enjoy this time as they grow so fast, but how in the world am I supposed to enjoy this?!?


Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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#9 of 14 Old 06-27-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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It sounds like he's just still having tantrums. My daughter had them until she was about 5 and then finally outgrew them. My mom tells me I had them until I was 8. My 2.5-year-old hasn't had a tantrum yet (knock on wood.) My point is that lots of kids get tantrums and they have them until they've learned through them, and that happens at different ages. What he's learning is that he isn't always going to get what he wants, and that life goes on and everything ends up OK even when he doesn't get what he wants. I'd help him learn that. First, I'd try to verbally keep yourself "on the same team" as him to try to help him learn that it's simply futile and not a case of you vs. him. Like, "I wish you could do X and X at the same time too." But I wouldn't spend a lot of time talking to him, and I wouldn't argue with him as he won't take in much during a tantrum and too much discussion can turn into arguing and "feeding the drama". Try to model that it's OK when things don't go how we wish they went. Then I'd let him have his tantrum, and when it's over give him love and go on as if it hadn't happened so he learns that not getting your way turns out to not be such a big deal in the long run. It's a huge part of maturity to learn that. But tantrums do still happen at 4 greensad.gif

The other thing I'd look at is giving him autonomy as much as practical and possible - if it doesn't matter, let him have his way - as kids that age are all about autonomy, and not fighting about things that don't matter that much makes it easier to save up your energy for the things that do matter. But from your description it sounds more like he doesn't understand the concept of futility than that you're not giving him autonomy.
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#10 of 14 Old 06-28-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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A couple of thoughts and some more books to add to your list:

 

Do you give him a snack on the way home in the car? My kids' behavior improved dramatically when I did that. Fruit and/or a bit of cheese worked wonders (and a little water). Even though they got morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack at daycare, some days they were just really really hungry.

 

When my kids are like that, choices push them over the edge. I know all the parenting books say "give them choices to let them feel in control" but for my kids, at least, when they are out of control (and your son clearly was), they can't handle the stress of having to choose. (Because after all, choosing one thing means giving up another, and they've discovered this by 4.) I might have not given him the choice of what to have for dinner.

 

Sometimes, a kid needs a hug. When he came in from the car, I might have turned off dinner and sat down with him for 3-4 minutes and given him a hug. Heck, that worked with my 10 year old the other day. He'd just gotten up on the wrong side of the bed and had been cranky all day long. After he threw something at his sister for having the audacity to sing while she was getting something from the basement where he was watching a baseball game, we sent him to his room. When he came down, I had him sit on my lap and I gave him a hug for 3-4 minutes. That + dinner about 5 minutes later made the evening much more pleasant.

 

A glass of wine and a chocolate (for you, not him winky.gif). Some days all you can do is get through. Nothing you can do will make them reasonable at that point in time. I think you did a good job of maintaining your cool for a long time under stress. Give yourself a pat on the back, even if you lost it later.

 

I've also noticed that my kids' behavior deteriorates after periods of stress let up. During periods of stress, I've been pretty amazed at how well my kids hold up. But when the stress lessens, it's pretty clear all their resources have been used up, and we have a couple of weeks of rough behavior. Ditto for times when they're going through a developmental spurt, or when I've been really busy. The best 'cure' for this is time, specifically one-on-one time where they lead the play (one of the major messages of Playful Parenting is to fill your kids' cup of attention up by doing this).

 

Quote:
Try to model that it's OK when things don't go how we wish they went. Then I'd let him have his tantrum, and when it's over give him love and go on as if it hadn't happened so he learns that not getting your way turns out to not be such a big deal in the long run. It's a huge part of maturity to learn that. But tantrums do still happen at 4 greensad.gif

 

and at 5, and at 6, and at 7 in our house. Dd is only 7, so I don't know how long their going to last. They are lessening (I think? I hope? I wish?).  Some kids just have a lot of emotional energy. They need us to show them that it's OK to have big feelings. My aha moment in parenting came when I realized that I don't have to make things better. I can't. I shouldn't. But I can help them learn to deal with big emotions. Now, I lose that 'aha moment' regularly. I've yelled back at my dd more than I care to count. But we're working on self control.

 

Other books to add to the ones recommend (Playful Parenting is one of my favorites, by the way, and really works with my kids):

-Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

-The classic, "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen..." by Faber & Mazlish -- when my kids were about 4, this really started to work.

 

Finally, how much sleep is he getting? Is he overtired? My kids do this when they've not gotten enough sleep.


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#11 of 14 Old 06-28-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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Micah: Where are we going to eat?

Me: Home.

Micah: I don't want to eat at home; I want to go out to eat.

Me: I am sorry, but Nana and Papa are going to be in town tomorrow. I am sure they are going to want to go out to eat then, so we cannot go today.

Micah: <screaming, crying, kicking the seat in front of him> ...BUT I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT!!! I DON'T WANT TO EAT AT HOME!

 

My DD at four (and still at six) needs to have her feelings validated more than she needs explanations, really. To her, the explanations just feel like more "NO!" coming at her. You might try responding with empathy and leaving the explanation alone, or just giving a brief explanation then going back to dealing with the feelings:

 

Micah: Where are we going to eat?

Me: Home.

Micah: I don't want to eat at home; I want to go out to eat.

Me: Its fun to go out to eat! If we could go out to eat, what would you like to eat?

 

...

Micah: <screaming, crying, kicking the seat in front of him> ...BUT I WANT TO GO OUT TO EAT!!! I DON'T WANT TO EAT AT HOME!

Me: You really, really want to go out to eat!

 

After a point, if he continues to escalate, there's not much to be said; you just have to wait until the feelings pass. I have, at times, pulled the car over, and said something like, "You are SO sad and mad! I'd like to hold you, would that be okay?" and then climbed into the back seat to hug her for a bit while she sobbed. Just waiting for the storm to pass.

 

 

 

"NO, he doesn't WANT pasta, he wants soup."

Me: Soup is good food!

Micah: I WANT SOUP NOT PASTA!!!

Me: I hear you! Soup sounds really good right now. Hey, can I get a chair for you and you can help me throw the pasta into the pot?

 

From reading your post, it sounds like transitions are really hard for him (transition from school, transition to bed, etc). He's an intense child. Some children benefit from being given advance knowledge of what is about to happen ("in ten minutes we'll be getting ready for bed") but for others the advance warning just makes it worse as they work themselves up. There are some things you might be able to do to ease the transitions. I used to keep special snacks in the car for the ride home from preschool, for example.

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#12 of 14 Old 06-28-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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My son is a very intense 3.  I find that if he is in a foul mood I keep him very close and I don't offer any choices and I feed, potty and send him to bed.  He knows that if he is out of control food or rest usually fix it.  We've got that system in place.  When I have a plan (feed, potty, bed), I just carry it out and it is over so much faster.  The food might even only be quick snack foods I can give him right away - no cooking.  Talking things through with him or reasoning with him or anything when he is that far gone just doesn't help.  I also give him a good, long snuggle when he is tucked into bed if he wants it. 

 

Oh, and as far as the car goes, you *could* pull over and wait for him to stop yelling (tell him you want to drive safely and need it quieter to do that) and wait him out.  I have done that a couple of times with my kids and it seems to work (and/or I get to calm down about it because I am not trying to concentrate on driving while there is someone screaming at me).

 

I will be checking out some of the suggested books for ideas for myself, because I feel like although this works when it is happening, I'd rather prevent the whole thing. 

 

One more thought - this type of thing happens with my DS when we haven't had as much time together as we usually do. 

 

Tjej

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#13 of 14 Old 06-29-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Oh, heck yeah, I second the snack. I actually keep a snack bag in the car. It's a 45 minute ride home for us. I get the exploding meltdowns about dinner, last night DD didn't "LIKE" her soup. That she hadn't even tried, btw. Then she didn't like the story and wanted the other book. The only peace was the 45 minutes we sat together snuggling for 'quiet time' watching a Muppet movie. Does he still get a nap at his care providers?

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#14 of 14 Old 06-30-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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My guys are 4 and 6, and the 4yo sometimes acts that way.  It's usually when he's tired.  My 6yo gets more that way when he's hungry.  So, those are the two things I would try to address first - feed him earlier, or simply get him to bed if it's anywhere near bedtime.  I agree that not continuing to respond after you have a few times could help.  Maybe put out a project - playdough or something? -  that he might gravitate toward and distract him?  As for dinner options, I usually offer 3 or so things to find something that they will find edible on any certain day. I guess I'm not as bothered by cooking more than one thing, and their tastes change so much from week to week - they loooove scrambled eggs one day, they claim they don't the next.  I generally only cook them simple things so I feel it's not a big deal - stick chicken nuggets in the toaster oven, boil an egg, etc., or I'll get some nuts and some fruit and some crackers, if nothing else is appealing to them.  You could have things on hand that he could get himself, so that you don't have to get it.  Yogurt, crackers, baby carrots, nuts? He gets some choice and some independence, you get to not worry about it. 

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