in which Son makes an effort
0 comment Thursday, June 5, 2014 |
Since Son turned 9 he is making a noticeable effort not to scream and tantrum. He has never made this effort before and it is quite a relief. No matter how difficult his behaviour is, I always try and see the progress he has made.
For instance, this is how supermarket shopping with him used to go:
Son gets hyper somewhere along the first aisle.Son wants something ridiculous that we are never going to buy.Son goes into a mood, employs a scowl, then starts threatening to knock things off shelves, open packets, kick things over.Son starts screaming when back in the car.
Now it goes something like this:
Son gets half way around the supermarket being the most lovely child you could imagine.Son starts to get a bit hyper and annoying.Son takes great offence at a refusal to buy him some miscellaneous thing.Son goes into a mood, employs a scowl, then starts threatening to knock things off shelves, open packets, kick things over.Son gets into the car and gets over it.
I think you'll agree that is a decent improvement.
On Sunday, we took the kids into the City Centre which is full of Christmas excitement. The first Christmas they were with us we dare not take them anywhere near the place. Waaaay too much going on for them to handle. The second Christmas, Son had a massive tantrum on the way there and Daughter clung to me like she was halfway falling off a cliff. The idea of FairGround rides, hot chocolate drinks and present buying would bring most children joy, but it just terrified the shit out of our kids.
They are now used to the City Centre and have experienced it before at Christmas and so there was little fear-based behaviour this year, but oh boy, was keeping them regulated hard work.
First you have to tell him The Plan. I tell the kids exactly what we are doing in what order, and at which points they are going to be bought food and drink. Then you have to stick to it like you would cling to a raft in a stormy sea.
You have to use the sing-songy voice. The voice that says, I love you, you are safe, all the time. Do this for two and a half hours.
You have to hold their hands no matter how useful it would be to use them to do some shopping, or perhaps scratch your nose every now and again.
You have to be very vigilant and spot things that you can offer them quickly, before they ask, so that they can experience you giving them things of your own free will.
But also you have to constantly find a safe way of declining all the many things they ask for that you are not going to get them, without communicating that this is because YOU MUST HATE THEM!
You have to feed and water them at exactly the right times, and produce emergency toffee from your pocket when it's needed.
You have to hand Husband a couple of positive experiences he can have with the kids, because he's sulking in the background feeling invisible.
If you are going to buy anything for yourself (high risk!) then you have to explain clearly why you need this particular product, and make sure that they are either eating/drinking or just about to be bought something themselves.
You have to act as if their nonsense chatter were songs from Angels, because if you show any irritation, then this means that YOU MUST HATE THEM!
Then you have to get the hell out of there!
I slept for 2 hours when we got back from that shopping trip.
And yet! Although Son came close to going into a mood on two occasions whilst we were out, he didn't. He stopped himself (with a lot of help form me, it has to be said). This is massive progress and Son got lots of praise.
I have been trying to get Son to express his disappointment in more moderate, age-appropriate ways. Giving him alternatives to the mood/tantrum/scream cycle he was so fond of. In particular I get him to observe his Sister's strops, whereby she fully expresses her displeasure at something I have asked her to do, but then gets over it. If we could get him to master his emotions so well, I would be most pleased.
I used his 9th birthday a lot in the lead up to it, so when he came out of a screaming session I would chat to him about how babies and toddlers scream and tantrum, but how would a 9 year old boy deal with that? And he actually seems to have taken it on board!
Although, he did some downstairs last night after being put to bed, telling me he'd wet himself, which is something he's only ever done once before.
Oh well. I have the moon. Best not ask for the stars just yet.