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Do you all feel I handled this correctly?

537 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Stevie
Today was just one of *those* days....we seem to be having a lot of them lately.

Ds (5) was out in the back yard playing with some friends on the swingset. I had reminded him before he went out that we needed to get to the grocery store when dd (9.5 months) woke up from her nap. After she woke up, I nursed her, changed her, got her dressed, changed toddler dd and got her dressed as well. I called out to ds that he had five minutes before we were leaving. I called out again at 3 minutes. Again at 1 minute. I asked him to come inside to wash his hands and face so that we could go. He started to fight with me, but I reminded him that he could come back out to play when we returned. He came inside and we left for the store. He's not behaving well at the store, but not too badly either, considering he had just been being loud and wild outside. We finish our shopping, I'm irritated at having to remind him of certain rules throughout, but, well, okay, he's five. We come out of the store and he TAKES OFF RUNNING. Seriously. I've got infant in the wrap and toddler pulls her hand out of mine to chase her brother! I was terrified. I ran after them, they went outside the store to look at a Spiderman poster on the outside window. Now, I'm angry, I get right down on their level and am saying in a *Mommy is SERIOUS* voice about the Safety rules, when toddler darts into the parking lot, laughing and yelling like they had done when they ran off the first time. I snatch her up, and tell ds to put his hand in my back pocket and to stay with me. We get to the car, the bagger puts our groceries in. I'm talking to ds, I'm explaining how serious this is, that she watches him and follows him and HE knows the rules and....well, basically, I let my fears over run and just kept talking. I know he tuned me out. So we get home and he wants to go outside to play some more. I said okay.

I'm putting groceries away and it dawns on me that he's not on the swingset. He's been out for less than 5 minutes, I go out to call to him. (Our backyard isn't fenced, but he knows the rules) I call. He doesn't answer. I call again. Still no answer. I go to the front yard, I call again. Still no answer. Now I'm getting scared. I yell his name as loudly as I could. I run to the backyard. I'm about to head inside to look for him in there when he comes running around the side of the house. "Where were you?" "I was over in Joe's front yard." Joe lives THREE houses down!!! "Did you stop to think of the safety rules?" "Well, yeah, but I figured it would be okay."

I brought him inside so I could calm down and think. He cried to go back out, and the more I thought about it, the more angry I got....that's not once, but TWICE in the same day that he broke serious safety rules!!! Rules he's heard since he was a toddler. Rules he knows by heart. Finally, I told him that he had to stay inside for the remainder of the day. That I can't trust him to be outside by himself if he can't follow the safety rules and I can't be out with him right now, so he has to stay in. I impressed upon him how serious it could be if Mommy doesn't know where he is. That I was really, really scared that something bad had happened to him. He told me that I dont love him because I don't let him do what he wants to do, and I told him that it's precisely because I *do* love him that I won't let him run wild and not have any idea where he is or what he's doing. "Well, Joe's mom lets him go over to other people's house." "I don't really CARE what Joe's Mom let's him do, since when have our rules been affected by what other people do?"

Anyway, you get the idea. I don't know, I feel like I missed something, something he was trying to tell me, something I should have caught, you know? Thoughts?
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I think you handled it fine. You gave him a lot of opportunity to live up to what had been clearly explained, and when you realized he couldn't handle it, you kept him a little closer.
Frankly, I am impressed by your response. You took his actions seriously without totally losing your cool. And with a toddler and baby in tow! You get bonus points for that! And the staying inside the remainder of the day is a perfect consequence to drive home your point. Good job!
I'll second the being impressed! There are limits in life and you have to make sure they know you are serious about them. What else could you have done that would have shown him that? You gave him another chance after he ran outside the store - I'm also with you on that as they all get carried away once in a while - and then he "forgot" something else that is really important.

When my boys play outside, our yard is open to the road. It's not a really busy road and they know they aren't allowed on it - there is a line where the road surface changes color and that's their limit. If they didn't pay attention to that rule, I couldn't honestly let them out. So if they don't do it one time, possibly with a single reminder then I would do exactly as you did and bring them in - I completely understand how scary it is when they disappear and you don't know where they are! Much worse than the threat of cars.

I'm also guilty of talking too long and getting tuned out!
i think well done, especially with the other kiddos around.

and it sounds like you would let him go to joe's house, the issue is that he has to ask you/tell you where he's going.

It also sounds like he's testing his independence.
Thanks so much, Mamas!!! I needed to hear that. You know how it're looking back on it, wondering, "did I miss something? Was he trying to *say* something through the misbehavior? Did I make my point? Was I too harsh?" Just one of those moments, that I wasn't quite sure of. But I can tell you that today, every time he's wanted to go outside of our yard, he's been saying "Mommy, can I go to Joe's front yard?" Or "Mommy, can I go play in Nicci's back yard?" he obviously got the message...

Thanks again!
"And the staying inside the remainder of the day is a perfect consequence to drive home your point. Good job!"

You are amazing!!!!!
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