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Discussion Starter #1
My ds has just recently turned three, and I have found myself in a sort of weird dynamic with him some of the time recently. Lately, ds will become upset about things that seem to me to be fairly ordinary and were previously non-issues.<br><br>
For example, this morning, I made him oatmeal just as I have done nearly every morning for the last year. He started to melt down over the idea that it was too hot (I always serve it on a plate so that it can cool as quickly as possible, rather than a molten bowl of oats--we've done it this way for some time), and he started to cry that it was too hot and was not open to suggestions that he could take small bites from the edges (we've talked about this lots in the past), or he could just wait a few minutes for it to cool. I have seen this child inhale an entire plate of oatmeal just as quickly as I could get it in front of him many times in the past.<br><br>
So. He goes into meltdown mode, I go into iron maiden mode; I have suggested solutions, he's still upset and ultimately, I find myself saying, NO.<br>
As in, no, I'm not going to have this conversation with you right now, I have offered you some suggestions, but I'm not going to engage in this upset. Also, I start feeling irritated and impatient and disinclined to to engage further about whatever the topic is.<br><br>
I'm not feeling so good about my approach, because clearly something is upsetting. This has been coming up in other ways, too, and I am feeling like I'm drawing boundaries over what I will engage in or how in a way that is too arbitrary or concrete, or something. It does usually blow over pretty quickly, and we get on with things as usual, but I'm not feeling so great about this.<br><br>
Does anyone have any insight or suggestions?
 

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He's at an age where he is likely to start wanting a lot more autonomy. You might let him spoon it onto the plate himself, offer alternatives for breakfast instead of just gettng oatmeal ready for him, have a few options of things he can put in/on the oatmeal himself if he wants (like raisins or cinnamon), or anything to give him some power over the situation, and see if that helps.<br><br>
Also, it might start to help if, instead of offering alternatives, you ask him if he has any ideas. That might give him a greater sense of autonomy too.<br><br>
Anyway, I'd start with trying to give him some more autonomy, and see if that changes the dynamic.
 

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One thing I've found really helpful to remember in these moments is that they may not WANT solutions. Sometimes they just want us to understand. So I say, "Oh, you're worried because it's hot." "SOB SOB SOB Uh, huh!" "Yeah, it's not good when it's too hot, is it?" "NOOOO!!!!!"<br><br>
Then I just wait, nearby. Eat my own breakfast, read the paper, and wait quietly until they get done sobbing. It sometimes takes awhile, at this age.<br><br>
That at some point I ask, "so what do you think we should do," and let them suggest solutions. I went through this with Ds just yesterday with his spaghetti which was too hot, even though to me it was barely lukewarm, and he suggested putting it in the fridge for a few minutes, and we did that, and he was happy again.<br><br>
I learned this with DD1. It irritates the heck out of her when I try and suggest solutions, because she really wants to solve her own problems. What she needed from me was empathy, and a little help calming down and thinking clearly, so that she COULD solve her own problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you!<br><br>
I was thinking that ds had quite a bit of autonomy with daily decisions, but I don't know that I've been keeping up with new ways for him to be involved/make choices.<br><br>
It absolutely makes sense that he needs my support either just with emotions, or as a path to his own problem solving. I've been feeling exasperated with what looks like deliberate helplessness and forgetting empathy. That explains a lot about some of our interactions, lately. I've been too focused on just thinking he can handle something when he's making it clear that he needs the option of my support. Stubborn mama.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>annalivia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15419558"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've been too focused on just thinking he can handle something when he's making it clear that he needs the option of my support. Stubborn mama.</div>
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Cut yourself some slack. You see a problem, you see a solution, and what's more logical than wanting to implement your solution? It's incredibly frustrating to have perfectly reasonable solutions rejected out of hand.<br><br>
For me, it helps to remember that I don't have to fix every problem. In fact, I'm not sure they want me to fix it. Some days listening <i>is</i> enough.
 

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Lynn you have so much wisdom. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bow">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Llyra</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15418604"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Then I just wait, nearby. Eat my own breakfast, read the paper, and wait quietly until they get done sobbing. It sometimes takes awhile, at this age.<br>
What she needed from me was empathy, and a little help calming down and thinking clearly, so that she COULD solve her own problem.</div>
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This is so great. I find it's so easy to get sucked into my dd's emotions. I feel like I have to fix the problem and make her feel better...neither of which I have any control over really...they're not my job, they're hers!. My job is to support her, empathize, and then move on with my life until she's ready for me to help. But it's hard to remember that sometimes...especially when she's really loudly freaking out!
 
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