Is this an AGE thing or a PERSONALITY thing? (constant negativity) - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-26-2010, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not so sure it's personality. He never was much of a tantrum-thrower or negative kid before.

Here's the situation. 5.5 year old DS is not happy with ANY outing I choose. If I say we can go feed the ducks at the pond near our place, he wants to go to the one clear across town and sort of out in the country.

If I say we're going to "X" park, he wants to go to "Y" park.

If I say let's go to the zoo, he wants to go to the YMCA.

You get the idea.

I've gotten SO SICK of it that i have actually said "You know what, I don't *HAVE TO* take you *ANYWHERE*. SO either quit complaining, get your shoes on, and appreciate that you get to go ANYWHERE today, or you can *stay home.*" Or "If I hear *one* complaint about where we are going when we get in the van, I will let you stay home with Grandma." (I am *not* going to make the other two, who are happy and would be sorely disappointed, miss out.)

Just to clarify--there are times I ask where they want to go and they'll agree on something. There are times he's had a suggestion, phrased politely rather than a *demand*, and I have said "Well, if you'd rather do that, we could." (when nobody else has their heart set on option A, and they usually really don't, they just want to go someplace.)

But there are times when it's a *demand* or when we're doing it because it's near somewhere else we are going, or times that the gas budget just does not support going all the way across town where we have nothing else to do but this outing--that I pretty much just have to say NO.
And it's just not fun to take someone who is complaining non-stop.
He seems to understand I'm serious though, he'll stop when I give him the option of stopping or staying home.

Here's the other thing--with 4 kids soon, I'm SURE eventually the younger ones will have an opinion. And there will be times where one or two might not be getting what they wanted--THIS TIME. They need to realize this is ONE outing, shape it up, and try to at least not make the outing miserable for everyone else.

We also have been talking about that--I've said things like "I know you really wanted to go to XYZ and we couldn't...but did you have fun anyway? or it looks like you had fun anyway to me..." and he will agree he did. it seems to be S-L-O-W-L-Y improving this way, but it is still crazy annoying.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:30 AM
 
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I don't know if it's age or temperament - but I deal with the same thing which I pretty much know is temperament - luckily for me, I only have the one child so it's essentially simplified things - she's 6.5 - a year or so ago she received a pile of costume princess jewelry from my long distance friend whose dd's party she missed - she loved going through the jewels and wanted me to go through it with her - she asked "which one do you want Mama?" Oh i don't care they are all nice, you pick one for me..." No no no, YOU pick! she says, "OK, I want the pink one." NO, you can't have that one, you can have the blue one." SAME EXACT SCENARIO for a bracelet AND a ring. No matter what I picked, she denied me my choice.???? WTF??? I have always done the AP and GD thing with her and she is pretty challenging but mostly a good kid, but I can't help but feel without this type of parenting she would DEFINITELY turned out as an ODD type of kid. And I'm not saying I'm out of the woods with that yet either.

In terms of suggestions? you seem to be doing a great job - in the future as more kids get more opinionated you may just need to be more structured about who gets to make the choice about the day's outing?

Consensual living is great if you can accomplish that but it's hugely time consuming and not right for every family - we try to some degree but DH is not entirely on board ( I struggle just to get him to let go of the authoritarian persepctive) and sometimes we gently and respectfully impose our will - and I'll go out on limb here for this forum and say I think the whole consensual living thing is great in theory, but for SOME kids it is too uncertain and too anxiety inducing - it feels like a lack of firm boundaries - I know it doesn't have to be this way but to put in practice takes a tremendous amount of skill and patience that for many of us, our life styles' just don't accomodate
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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Age thing.

It sounds to me like a reeeeeeeaaally annoying variant on the typical 6 year old tendency to want to direct play. Some kids tell you exactly what to say when you play with dolls together, your kid wants to tell you where to drive the car. (ETA: Bonmarq's experience is more like what I'd expect from a ~6 year old, that seems totally typical to me.)

It's experimenting with power. "Do my words have the ability to change this situation?"

In Playful Parenting, Cohen recommends taking time to do one on one play with the child where they DO get to make ALL the decisions. Feel free to set boundaries like safety or budget, but within those boundaries any thing the kid says goes. Even if it's boring to you even if you feel completely ridiculous (Cohen would probably say especially if you feel completely ridiculous )

And meanwhile, just acknowledge his views as though he had stated them calmly. "You would like to go to park Y instead of park X. (reflect back, model) Park Y has the really big slide. (empathize) We are going to park X because it is near the grocery store, we don't have time for park Y today.(reason) Park day is Thursday, do we all want to go to Park Y on Thursday?(compromise)" and so forth.

Remind yourself that although he certainly has the skills for requests rather than demands, he doesn't have the ability to apply those skills in all situations. Heck, adults don't all the time.

If you feel like he doesn't know when he's whining, I've seen it recommended to take a time separate from a whining situation and explain that whining is unpleasant and what whining sounds like.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:10 AM
 
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Another vote for age (and probably age + personality). We're just emerging from this with dd, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 5 was hard. There was a lot of whining and negativity. If we didn't follow her idea, life was not good.

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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some good ideas here I don't always just want to be "NO we are doing it my way" but sometimes also it's like the empathy leads to a view of "well you get my point, so CHANGE YOUR MIND..." (not happening)

I *try* to remember requests and accomodate when i can, not always go to the same place, etc etc.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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A family calendar that you bring along with you might help? Help you remember, help him feel that it really will happen in the future? Sitting down and working through the month's plans and then looking at each week as it comes up?

Sorry, I just know that this would make me want to rip my hair out so I'm hoping you can find a solution so I can use it if (: for NOT) dd ends up the same way.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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We deal with similar along with the constant battle to be first with everything.

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Old 05-27-2010, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate to make promises by calendar just because if anything does happen, like somebody gets sick, or we're supposed to go to the park, but it's raining, whatever, it is 20 times worse! Because he remembers E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! So....to save my sanity, I'm simply going to say that "soon" we can do XYZ. Then I'm not absolutely committed to anything.

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Old 05-27-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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I agree, I think it is an age thing. DD is almost 5, and I am hearing some of the same stuff from her. "I don't WANT to eat rice and beans (one of her favorite foods), I want a cheese sandwich!" was today's example right after I prepared her lunch. My response, "I am sorry I did not guess you wanted that this time, but this is what we have today. You can choose to eat or not." and I walk away. I remember DS doing some of this at 4/5ish too. He is now 7.5 and goes with the flow a lot better (although he does still have his moments). And yes, we do have conflicts sometimes because he wants to do one thing and she wants to do something else, and we just have to either compromise or take turns, and then usually the one who did not want to do that ends up having fun too.

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Old 05-27-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post
I hate to make promises by calendar just because if anything does happen, like somebody gets sick, or we're supposed to go to the park, but it's raining, whatever, it is 20 times worse! Because he remembers E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! So....to save my sanity, I'm simply going to say that "soon" we can do XYZ. Then I'm not absolutely committed to anything.
Yeah, rain, right...

Someone on here once wrote that what helped them with their kids' picky eating was to point out that we don't always have to eat our most favorite food that we really want to eat right now. That we can also eat okay foods. Maybe some variant on that discussion could help your ds?
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's the thing I've sort of started doing that seems to help. I'll ask him afterward if this was fun, or point out something that it looked like he had fun doing,....and SO FAR he always has agreed with me And I point out that it turned out to be a good time even if it wasn't his first choice. I think a combo between that and stating that I'm just NOT going to allow continued complaining to ruin an otherwise fun outing for the rest of us is really helping.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post
That's the thing I've sort of started doing that seems to help. I'll ask him afterward if this was fun, or point out something that it looked like he had fun doing,....and SO FAR he always has agreed with me And I point out that it turned out to be a good time even if it wasn't his first choice. I think a combo between that and stating that I'm just NOT going to allow continued complaining to ruin an otherwise fun outing for the rest of us is really helping.
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