Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tantrums on the way to kindergarten

I know the first few weeks of school can be overwhelming on the little ones. I can clearly see how tired my little one is when he comes home and we had to change his bedtime to an earlier time. I also know it is normal for kids to be this grumpy when they start a new school, a new routine, etc. I usually take my kid being an asshole in strides.

There are times, in my opinion, where desperate times call for desperate measures. On Monday, when my husband dropped the kid off to the daycare program, he flipped out. I guess he was testing his boundaries because he flopped down on the floor like a fish out of water and made a scene. He didn't want to walk to the babysitting program by himself and although teachers and students volunteered to take him (they are trying to discourage parents from walking around the school - which I agree) he still put up a fight

 Tuesday, my husband took him to school again and the drop off went better. Now today, it was my turn to take him to school. I warned him before we pulled up that he would need to walk to the daycare program by himself or with a friend. He tried debating with me. He wanted me to take him. Once again, he flipped out in the school, made a total ass of himself and did the whole fish out of water thing again. Alright, a tantrum as a toddler was understandable. After all, they can't always find the right words to express themselves, emotions are very big things for them, I get it. At 5 years old, this routine is an act. I know it was an act. A mother always knows. I was embarrassed.

Although I wasn't able to quite see it for myself, I bet this was the exact expression I had on my face this morning.

I was quickly ushered out the door and another parent was very kind to me. He reassured me that my son's behavior was normal. I never thought I would be so happy to hear the word "normal" associated with a member of my family! In fact, he told me that his own kid pulled the same stunt when he started kindergarten last year. I did appreciate the other parent's input but I couldn't help  pick up on  the whole "I am glad it's not my kid" feeling he had. I can't say I blame him. In fact, next year, if I see another parent in the same predicament, I would probably say the same thing and feel the same way myself!

My son is the type of kid who questions rules and authority. On one side of the coin, I am proud of that but there is always the flip side. It can be a huge pain in the ass. I learned, the best way to deal with strong willed children like my little darling is by using positive reinforcement. I had a brainstorm this afternoon:

 After supper and homework, I raided the jar of loose change we put on our bedroom dresser. I separated the quarters, nickles, and dimes. I then put each coin in it's own proper container. I got a piece of construction paper and wrote 3 simple rules or chores I want my kid to follow. If he cleans up his dirty dishes from the spare room, he gets a nickle. If he checks the cat bowls and feeds the kitties, he gets a dime. If he goes to the morning daycare at his school without a fuss in the morning, he gets a quarter. I figured a  $2-3.00 allowance a week is pretty good for a kid nowadays. He could get something at the dollar store or save for a toy he wants. I am always buying him crap and it is about time I stop! This is good incentive for me too! What can I say? I am not a perfect mother!
BASIC is his school daycare service

I also decided to imitate his tantrum. Yes, folks.  Tonight, I flopped on the floor and did the same fish out of water shtick he did. He laughed at me. My husband videotaped the whole thing but there is no way in hell I am going to post that all over the Internet! I screamed, thrashed on the floor and wailed just like what he did this morning. He thought it was hilarious. I then told him "That is EXACTLY what you did this morning. See how silly you looked?" His face grew serious. It started to sink in. I then proceeded to ask him if he would like it if other kids laughed at him. He said no. I then pointed out that he was a big boy and big boys don't act like that. It makes them look silly, just like when I did it. I told him that I didn't want him to take tantrums and look silly like that because I am afraid other kids will start calling him a baby. Only babies do those things. I asked him if he wanted to be made fun of for acting like that. He shook his head. He didn't want to be called a baby! I made sure to emphasize that I knew he wasn't a baby but a big kid. I felt like it was important for him to know that I didn't think anything negative about him. I wanted to show him in a way he could understand that there are consequences to his actions. I told him he could be angry at me or even scared about walking there on his own but he has to use his words. I would comfort him but he would still need to walk there on his own because big kids do those things. I said I will always be there for him but there are times he needs to do things on his own too. I personally feel like he was testing us. He wasn't afraid of going there.  It is a new school, a new routine, new faces. He feels this is a blank slate, he could try to push the limits and see where the boundaries are at. He learned real fast where the boundaries are!


12 comments:

  1. If your son was flapping around on the floor like a fish, it clearly means he was in need of water.

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    1. LOL too funny! Next time I will throw water on him to see what happens

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  2. Good for you! I don't think I have the conviction to imitate a tantrum like that, I think I would give up laughing at myself halfway though lol. Sounds like you're handling it very well though.

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  3. BRAVO!!! That was absolutely perfect! And I like the way you balanced it with the new "allowance for chores" option, which, of course, only big kids get to do. ;-)

    I never thought of throwing a tantrum myself when Stuart did that, but maybe I should have. He kicked the tantrum thing in about a month, but he was only three, so who knows if it would have worked? And I agree with Aji LaStrange, a dousing in water was obviously in order!

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    1. Thanks Lucretia. Philip took some tantrums as a toddler but I ignored them. This is a new thing he started once again and it really pissed me off. Tantrums at 2 or 3 are common but at 5? I had to nip that out and fast! It worked too and this morning, there were no issues! He went in like a trooper :)

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  4. Glad to hear it! :-) Sometimes children (and older people!) will "revert" to the behaviors and/or actions of a younger age when they are stressed or fearful, such as when children who are toilet-trained suddenly start wetting their pants again. I guess it's our way of coping, hoping that what worked before will maybe work again, someone will come to our rescue and we won't have to deal with it alone.

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  5. Oh wow, hard times for you I guess. but you reacted perfectly fine!

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  6. aaaand, you just got tagged <3 http://justkeepbrains.com/2015/09/21/quote-of-the-day-challenge-2/

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  7. Oh, I recognized every word I read here, I think you handled the situation very well.

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