So, DD, 6, used to have huge tantrums, but I read The Explosive Child, used the techniques, and they seemed to subside. The techniques are basically paying more attention to her before she melts down, and giving her a hug and listening when she starts to go off kilter.
Now it is a year later and I am finding myself back to square one, dealing with a flat out refusal to cooperate (refused to leave the playground yesterday, ran away from me, I had to carry her to the car and when I put her in, she opened the door and jumped out, then refused to walk in the house when we got home. Horrible. Refused to get dressed and go to school today, refused to wear socks, refused to help put her shoes on, refused to talk about it other than to say "No, nope, not going, you can't make me.")
I know it's a new school year, we're transitioning, it's always rough this time of year but...I really do not want to hug her, and and draw her out in either of these circumstances. I really want her to just COOPERATE and get in the car! Yesterday I stayed pretty patient until she jumped out of the car, and then I just lost it and screamed at her, and kept screaming the whole way home. This morning, I did try to talk to her about why doesn't want to go to school, but when she refused I then launched straight into screaming and stomping around the house. I HATE acting like that. I am a peaceful quiet person who loves books and I hate these interactions. I hate feeling disrespected all the time.
One thing I realize is that my modeling of healthy reactions is terrible. I feel really resentful and I am sick to death of jollying her along just to get her to basic things like leave a playground or go to school, so I am frustrated, yelling, stomping around, huffing, or being sarcastic.
Can someone please give me advice on how to behave like a rational grown up when confronted with disobedience? This morning, when she said "I am not getting up, I am not going to school, you can't make me." and then got back under the covers of her bed, what should I have done from there? I am picturing having the same fight when she is 15 and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get her out of bed and hang on to my dignity.
Also-I am not good at playful parenting. You can suggest it, I will try anything, but I need specific playful ideas to try to remember when I am about to lose it. All help appreciated. We had a good summer, I'm sure some of this is transitional for the school year, but I hate it and feel like crap.
Ok, so I only have a 3 year old so I'm sure someone with more experience can weigh in. But I have found it helpful to just make rules for myself about what I can do in those situations--because I can only control what I do. (e.g. stay calm and give a choice. choice might involve a consequence, like "You can either cooperate and get your jammies on and we'll have a nice bedtime, or you can not cooperate and we'll skip reading any stories.") This is a last resort when I'm confronted with outright defiance, and if it's really bad I might just say "No stories." (Sometimes she might get a chance to earn them back if she is really cooperative for the rest of the time.) It also depends on the why....if I think there's another reason besides a desire to be ornery :) I might ask her a question about why she doesn't want to do x. This sometimes leads to a good conversation and defuses the situation.
Before I would do that, I would have tried the routes of a) appealing to her autonomy or b) doing playful parenting stuff like trying to put her jammie top on my head and saying, "do you think this will fit me?" But we all get to a point where things can blow up, so I really strive to stay calm even when I am completely exasperated inside. It is hard.
According to the Positive Discipline books (recommend) the behavior you describe sometimes happens when the kid feels like they don't have control and one of the ways they can get it is by pushing your buttons, so they do. Reacting always makes it worse, as I'm sure you know. I'm not sure what I would do in the situations you describe, but maybe you could come up with a choice that you can give her that would allow you to remain calm and then just follow through on whatever consequence you decide on, immediately.
Also, I wouldn't discount the idea that maybe there is more than meets the eye as far as the school situation goes. I was generally cooperative growing up, but one year I was in a classroom where the teacher had no control and there was lots of bullying going on...and I brought it home. I was a BEAST to my mom that year (age 7 or so). So there could be something going on at school that you don't know about.
Good luck! HTH.
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