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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had to run a fairly boring errand today -- a 40 minute drive to get a new driver's license photo. We got there without incidence, but once at the store that takes the pix, my 4 yo was being incredibly inpatient and clingy. He wouldn't get off me to take the picture, kept pushing me, pulling me, whining at me while I was trying to pay the bill/clarify a few things with the clerk, etc. He had wanted to ride one of the 25cent animal rides they have there after, but I told him it depended on his behavior at the store. Given what happened (and he was reminded repeatedly), I decided not to do the ride. This resulted in about 15 minutes of crying, but not a full-on tantrum.<br><br>
Then, as we're driving home, with him relatively calm again, I was chatting with him and his 2 yo brother. At a red light, I turned around to ask him a question and he sort of grunted at me. I asked, "Oh, are you tired, honey?" and he screamed and chucked his plastic, toy horse right at my face. It hit me in the glasses, which went flying. Thankfully no other damage was done. I was sooooo furious with him. I know that he's having a hard time right now, so I tried to temper my response with this knowledge. (We just flew internationally, so he's jet-lagged, and missing my family, who we had been visiting. And he's not great with transitions in the best of times, in any case.)<br><br>
Here's what I did. I told him in my super serious voice, as soon as I regained my composure, that what he did was very, very dangerous and could have caused an accident. I reminded him that we never throw toys or we lose our privilege to play with them. I took the horse from him, most likely indefinitely. I couldn't even bring myself to talk to him, as he quickly was back in his chatty driving mode, and wanting me to comment on every.little.thing with him. He did not apologize (I don't require it, but usually, he will at some point later in the day on his own) and he was very pissy about the horse, telling me at bath time that he would "find it and take it back."<br><br>
I am at a loss. I wouldn't say this is typical behavior for him, but he does tend to be very moody and can act out aggressively when in a down mood. Of course, he snaps out of it quickly and we are often clueless as to what precipitated -- or cured, for that matter -- his mood swing. (Other than, ya know, being 4.)<br><br>
We don't really use TOs, but even if we did, giving him one after 20 more minutes of driving seemed pointless. WWYHD?
 

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I would have taken the horse, as you have done, and restricted any further toys in the car until I got home. If I'd been really upset, I would have pulled over to the side of the road and done deep breathing until I regained my composure. (This has been one of the most effective things I've done with my kids - they "get" the seriousness of suddenly stopping and not going anywhere.) I'd let him have the horse now, it's done.<br><br>
The only other thing that I would have done is NOT make riding the 25c toy dependent on his behavior at the store. I can't tell you why, but this doesn't sit right with me (and I've been known to do timeouts and bribery in desperation). My usual response is "you can play on it, but I'm not putting money in". Every once in a while I do, but it's not common. If I'm feeling wishy-washy, I'll say "Let me finish doing what I'm doing and then I'll see if I have a quarter." (Often I don't.)<br><br>
I guess I'd let it go. He was tired and cranky from travel. You were tired and cranky from travel and a tired and cranky child.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. That was like the on-line version of a hug! I think part of my angst is that niggling voice in the back of my head, saying, "I can't believe you are going to let him get away with this." (That's one of my biggest struggles with GD -- fighting that societal programming!)<br><br>
Re. the ride-on toys... I know what you are saying. And I'm not sure if I did the right thing, but he needs those carrots to stay focused sometimes. I know bribes are a major no-no here, and I didn't set it up as such, but he wanted to go as soon as he saw it and I told him that I had to do my picture first (the store was closing in 20 minutes). He is having an incredibly hard time being patient. CanNOT wait for even 60 seconds if I'm on the phone or talking to a clerk at a store. It's a constant struggle for us, and I try to be patient as I remind him about patience, but we don't seem to be getting anywhere. This is why I'm playing around with the "carrot" approach when it's something that he's specifically requesting. I guess I want him to understand that we "earn" privileges. I might also be reacting to the fact that for the last 2 months (while we were with my parents), he's basically gotten told "yes" to every little whim he has. I'm all for saying yes to a child, but not every wish must -- or even can -- be met. Temperance is also valuable, I think.<br><br>
Thank you again, Lynn. Really!
 

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I think your response was admirable. I personally would seek (at some later point) a heart-connection over that incident. It would be important that I try to communicate in a non-threatening way how his actions were hurtful to me (throwing a toy in my face), as well as dangerous for the entire family (throwing toys at the driver), because those conversations are the one's which I felt (then and now) fine-tuned ds' sense of emotional awareness. We talked like that a great deal after emotionally upsetting encounters--not in a blaming way but in a sharing/awareness/mutual concern way. Intuition counts for a lot with this approach--knowing just when to bring up an incident so that your child will be open and concerned rather than defensive or seemingly indifferent. If one talk didn't seem to result in understanding, I would try again at a later time. Eventually, I found a way to share my concerns in a way that resulted in an expression of sincere awareness and understanding from ds.<br><br>
There is a great parenting maxim to the effect of "Nobody says you have to figure it all out today"--meaning that even when you know there is something important you need your child to hear, you have more than a few seconds to find the right way to say it. Take your time.
 

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Great response, heartmomma!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes right-handed">: I'm taking notes, seriously!
 

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You handled it much better than I did.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I pulled over and had to get out of the car before I started yelling when an etchasketch hit me in the head at 60mph. For a loooong time no toys went in the car.
 

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I think you handled it great! That's probably what I would have done, though I wouldn't keep the horse.<br><br>
I don't know if this would help with the patience thing, but my dd has to be patient A LOT (like while I nurse ds2, help ds1 potty, etc.) It drives me crazy if she screeches "MOOOMMMYYY" over and over the whole time, so we do this thing where she has to say the alphabet or count to twenty in between "mommies". I don't know if you could adapt it to your situation, but maybe?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>maryjane</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9046220"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Here's what I did. I told him in my super serious voice, as soon as I regained my composure, that what he did was very, very dangerous and could have caused an accident. I reminded him that we never throw toys or we lose our privilege to play with them. I took the horse from him, most likely indefinitely.</div>
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I would have done the first thing (telling him it's not ok to do that, and explain). I wouldn't have done the rest. But with my ds (now at age 3) that would be enough. Knowing that something wasn't ok (and I've avoided that language for a long time, but sometimes it just comes out), and telling him in a serious, upset-but-not-mean voice, has quite an impression on him.<br>
I would have had a hard time engaging in conversation with him afterwards, definitely. I'm sure I wouldn't have been nice.<br><br>
I probably would have let him play on the horse, regardless of his behavior. Unless *I* was just so stressed out and frustrated that I really didn't want to stay there one more minute (but then, letting him play on it would be easier to deal with than leaving without anyways...). But it wouldn't have been a punishment/threat type thing, if that makes any sense.<br><br>
Don't know how ideal that is, but it's what I think I'd do.
 

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Sounds like you handled the car great!<br><br>
I would just add that instead of a "dangling carrot" (using bribe/punishment/reward) - the intention of having him ride on the horse at the store could have worked in your favor in an opposite way (maybe?) I would have been clear about the ride (money in it or not, how many times, etc.) and then talked about it while in the store to keep him busy. Maybe you could have asked him about the last time he had been on such a horse or maybe he could have searched in your purse for the money to use. Or maybe while waiting in line you could have talked about whether he'd ride a real horse someday. Or if the door was close by, you could ask him to go check on whether someone else was on it.<br><br>
I love heartmama's suggestion of a connection conversation at some point. Poor little guy must have been so disappointed (shown later by anger in the car) to not get to ride the horse, and in those situations I try to remember that our 5 minute errands must seem like 5 hours to them.<br>
Best of luck!!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LynnS6</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9046370"><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 would have taken the horse, as you have done, and restricted any further toys in the car until I got home. If I'd been really upset, I would have pulled over to the side of the road and done deep breathing until I regained my composure. (This has been one of the most effective things I've done with my kids - they "get" the seriousness of suddenly stopping and not going anywhere.) I'd let him have the horse now, it's done.<br><br>
The only other thing that I would have done is NOT make riding the 25c toy dependent on his behavior at the store. I can't tell you why, but this doesn't sit right with me (and I've been known to do timeouts and bribery in desperation). My usual response is "you can play on it, but I'm not putting money in". Every once in a while I do, but it's not common. If I'm feeling wishy-washy, I'll say "Let me finish doing what I'm doing and then I'll see if I have a quarter." (Often I don't.)<br><br>
I guess I'd let it go. He was tired and cranky from travel. You were tired and cranky from travel and a tired and cranky child.</div>
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Good ideas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Thanks, I'll use these in the future, I'm sure.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heartmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9046578"><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 think your response was admirable. I personally would seek (at some later point) a heart-connection over that incident. It would be important that I try to communicate in a non-threatening way how his actions were hurtful to me (throwing a toy in my face), as well as dangerous for the entire family (throwing toys at the driver).</div>
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Again, thanks! Good suggestions. I often try to explain then and more indepthly later on why items shouldn't be thrown.<br><br>
This thread is very relevant for me today. This morning, my toddler threw a bowl on the floor (whipped it actually) causing it to break. I think the bowl was thrown as part of a larger tantrum. We've been dealing with hitting and throwing issues lately. I hope it's just a phase.
 

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I'm so happy to not be alone in having a toy chucked at me in the car...and not be alone in dealing with it exactly the way the OP did.<br><br>
Really, what else can you do?<br><br>
DD likes to chuck her shoes at me if she is really upset (tired, hungry, cranky...whatever). Luckily crocks are super light weight!<br><br>
I try to preempt being hit by anticipating it and not letting her have anything in her hands or on her feet.<br><br>
I to am working on being better at NOT setting DD up for a freak out in the car. I have experimented with carrots. True, it really does not work.<br><br>
DH on the other hand totally over reacts and takes it as a personal attack. He acts as if it was an adult that did it instead of a moody almost 4 year old.
 

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You've had some great advice already but I wanted to add a little bit about patience. I checked out "Positive Discipline" from the library this last week and there was a little example in there about a mom keeping her dd busy while she was on the phone. She gave her a watch with a second hand and told her dd that when it went around completely 3 times she would be done. I thought that was a really good idea, it keeps the child busy and concentrating on something so you can actually do what you need to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone for weighing in! This is so helpful -- especially knowing that we're not the only one dealing with this issue. AbbieB -- I get the Crocs thrown at me, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Today, it was his shorts, which he took off and chucked at us while we were eating dinner (they landed in the potato salad<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) He was pissed b/c he wanted us to play blocks with him and we were still eating. Here's that patience thing, again. Thanks for all the suggestions on that as well -- I will try them! Perhaps I should just start a new post on that topic in particular.<br><br>
Heartmama -- your advice really spoke to me. I think especially b/c that is our natural inclination -- both mine and DS' -- after something of this nature happens. A few weeks ago at the pool, DS was holding my sunglasses for me as I went off the diving board. He got upset, b/c he didn't want me leaving him, so he heaved the glasses into the pool. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Retrieving them from 12 feet of water was none too fun! Like with this horse incident, I really struggled with how to respond. That night, as we were chatting before bed, he told me how sorry he was -- totally unprompted -- and was even able to reflect how worried I must have been about my glasses. I actually think he has an incredible conscience for a four year old. Looking back on why I didn't seek that connection with him after this horse thing, I realize that I was feeling so upset about it -- even though I *know* it wasn't personal, I was just so mad and disappointed. I know that isn't necessarily rationale, but it's how I was feeling. I think those feelings made it hard for me to seek a heart-connection. But your advice to do it, even later (much later) really spoke to me. Thank you for your whole post and especially that very gentle reminder.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>CheapPearls</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9055221"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You've had some great advice already but I wanted to add a little bit about patience. I checked out "Positive Discipline" from the library this last week and there was a little example in there about a mom keeping her dd busy while she was on the phone. She gave her a watch with a second hand and told her dd that when it went around completely 3 times she would be done. I thought that was a really good idea, it keeps the child busy and concentrating on something so you can actually do what you need to do.</div>
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That does seem like a good idea. I think you're right about the patience thing.
 
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