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How should I deal with DS deliberately standing on my toes? I am really cross.

(32 Posts)
PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 09:50:58

DS aged 3.5 is a little more aggressive than DD ever was. No, not aggressive, that's not the right word. He is not viscious or angry. I'm not sure what it it is, but it's definitely willful and deliberate. He just does not seem to understand, or care that it hurts.

He keeps treading on my toes. Or, running into the back of my legs at full force. I know this is largely normal behaviour, and we have for the most part been addressing it with not huge amounts of punishment, as he is still only little and learning about things hurting. Explanations that it hurts, warnings/sanctions if it persists (minor ones). Mostly, he does it with no shoes on. Or, when I have shoes on. So it hurts much much less, but we address it nevertheless.

Along with this he is going through a 'poo' phase and name-calling phase. Again, DD never really did this. He keeps calling his sister 'poopoo face' and similar, or calls her 'baby'. This is not entirely relevant to what happened just now, but gives an idea of how he is behaving.

Apart from this he is a largely well behaved little boy, he has empathy (apart from with these things I talked about already), he is kind, gentle and has a cracking sense of humour. Some of his behaviour is I think largely based around him thinking things are funny (i will talk about that again) and not understanding the boundaries.

So. I don't want to come down hard on him as he is largely not aggressive.

So, roll on today. Sun is shining. There is a pirate event on near us, we were going to make a picnic and go to it, after DDs swimming, at an inconvenient time of 11:30am. Just dropped off DH at work, and stopped off at the local shops to pick up some bread and a couple of nice things for the picnic. I normally don't like going to the shops with the kids on my own, but needs must. We get in to the shop, and while I am picking the bread (first thing I do) the kids chat with the shop assistant. Then, as she leaves, DS turned around, walked over to me, looked at my flip-flopped foot and, with his heavy trainers, jumped on my toes of one foot, laughing. Now, I happen to have my second toe longer than my big toe, and consequently it has been broken once or twice in my lifetime and it is a tiny bit bent at the 'knuckle'. This means that if it is stood on, the bend is squashed, and it hurts (sometimes, this dislocates it, nothing major, I can deal with that myself).

So. It really really hurt. I drop the basket, say, in anger, something along the lines of 'what do you think you are doing?!! that really hurt!' I grab DS's hand, ask DD to follow, and I march them out of the shop back to the car. I announce that the picnic is now not happening due to him being so horrible and we will not be going to see the pirates.

DS is, I am thinking a little shocked at a) his own behaviour and b) my reaction. I didn't shout. But I told him I was very very cross. He sprouted tears and said sorry. I have said I am not ready to talk to him and we drove home. He said 'i don't want to go home'.

I have asked him and DD to play while I calm down. No TV, going outside etc.

While I started writing this, DS has calmed down, and actually said sorry like he means it. He walked over to me, calmly, sadly, and held my face and said 'i'm sorry mummy'. So, I picked him up, thanked him for saying sorry, and asked him why he did it. He at first said he didn't know, then said 'i thought it would be funny'. Discussed that it hurts, and he said sorry again. We had a cuddle. Then he said 'can we go on our picnic and see the pirates now?'. Told him I'm not sure.

Ok. That's long. Now I don't really know what to do. DD is upset as it has punished her and not her fault. But, I could not stay in the shop as I was cross, he was clearly going to misbehave in the shop and he needed to know there were consequences to that type of behaviour. But, this pirate thing is going to be ace, the weather is lovely and I don't want to be stuck inside. However, there is now no time to go buy the picnic (and I don't want to take them into the shop again and put temptation of bad behaviour in their way) before swimming, not and prepare it too. No time to do it after swimming as by the time we get home and buy it and make it, they will be starving.

Ideas? Shall I give in and go to the shops? In the bigger picture, what suggestions do you have for managing DSs use of aggression? He does not do, for example, the time out step, he finds it funny.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 09:59:01

ok, and so now he is cross that I have not yet changed my mind as I don't really know what to do for the best, and so he has just hit me hmm

teacherlikesapples Sun 26-May-13 10:00:58

Please don't give in! Today really might be your turning point with this behaviour smile To give in will teach him that you don't mean what you say (so why listen)
If you can demonstrate calm, clear consistent boundaries (which you have done a great job of by getting this far already!) That is half the battle won.
He might be upset now- but you are teaching him a very important life lesson.

Demonstrate that you mean what you say, that it is not acceptable to hurt you yet again, and that actions have consequences.

It's unfortunate that DD gets punished by her brother's mistakes- so perhaps let her choose something special to do for the afternoon? Let her know that you appreciate her being so understanding, and that you hope now that her brother understands how important it is not to hurt others that it won't happen again.

Maybe she might like to do some baking or an art project with you?
Here are some ideas:

DS can join you, but on the condition that he listens & treats you with respect. Treats & special events are privileges not a right. Hopefully today will help him learn that. Good luck! smile

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:06:00

sad oh it's so hard! I know, I know I need to be strong. DD is crying 'i haven't done anything wrong to be punished mama!' with big sopping tears. DS is crying 'i'm sorry i hurt you mama! can <sister> go to the pirates still? please?'.

And, I was really looking forward to it sad. Wasn't just a treat for them.

teacherlikesapples Sun 26-May-13 10:11:22

Also- it's great that he gave you a heartfelt apology. Not so great that he followed it straight up with "can we go now?"

The notion that you can behave how ever you want & then make it better with a simple apology is a dangerous one. Saying sorry is an important part of apologising, but without actions & behaviour that matches the words- it means nothing.

My attitude might seem harsh- but you are really in a delicate situation here. Teaching him major concepts for life. Are you familiar with the phrase 'tough love'? This is all part of loving parenting, being firm with those values you hold true.

Your son is not violent or aggressive, but he is exploring & experimenting with concepts of power & respect. A natural part of development, but what he learns during this phase will continue to effect his future relationships.

exexpat Sun 26-May-13 10:12:48

I wouldn't give in. It's a shame that the consequences are hard on you and DD too, but if you are firm he might actually get the message.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Sun 26-May-13 10:12:58

You will have to think up a treat for DD, poor thing. Poor you too!

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:13:06

oh blimey. Now DD is misbehaving. I told her she can't go outside. We are looking after a friend's rabbit. She has just gone outside to 'sit with the rabbit'. 'i forgot!' she said.

FFS, today is just bloody ruined. I feel so sad.

onlyablip Sun 26-May-13 10:15:22

I would just take them. He is only 3.5 and I think you have scared him enough for him to learn his lesson, go out and have a nice day. Couping them up in the house all day won't do them any good go out and have a nice time smile

teacherlikesapples Sun 26-May-13 10:19:21

I know it's hard, but you you are absolutely doing the right thing.
If you can try and change the current conversation in the house- make a statement to acknowledge & review what has happened.

"Ok - I know everyone was looking forward to the pirate event. I was to. But you have to understand DS that it is never ok to hurt Mum for fun. That behaviour needs to stop as of right now. DD I know that you haven't done anything wrong, and I am sorry that you missed out on the pirate event. But I need your help & understanding with this. We want to be a family that has fun together, that looks out for each other, that supports each other. So please support me with this, so that we never have to miss out on fun things again. My leg is feeling better now- so why don't we plan something nice to do this afternoon DD would you like to do _____(insert something nice non pirate event that suits you)_ or __(insert other non pirate activity here___)"

I am sure that you can come up with something much better than that- but the gist of it is - acknowledging the upset, explain why it had to happen, & that being part of a family means helping & supporting each other.

teacherlikesapples Sun 26-May-13 10:22:58

Seriously onlyablip? He is 3.5 not 2- He will be very quick to connect the idea that Mum does not mean what she says, so why bother listening. Not to mention DD will also learn that if you make enough fuss you will eventually get your own way. Pavlov told them it wasn't happening. To go back on that now makes her seem defeated.

Permissive parenting feels better in the short term & makes for a quiet life, but it certainly does nothing to teach responsibility for actions or respect for your parents.

teacherlikesapples Sun 26-May-13 10:23:35

There is also no reason to stay cooped up in the house- plenty of other places they could go.

SgtTJCalhoun Sun 26-May-13 10:26:44

Why is DD not allowed outside? Like you said she didn't do anything wrong.

FWIW I think you're doing the right thing by not taking him, yes it's a shame for dd but I am sure you can make it up to her, starting by letting her sit out with the rabbit smile.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sun 26-May-13 10:28:59

You have to follow through with no picnic.

But you can still do things at home together, Play in the garden etc. Could you try and get everyone to calm down and,then set something up outside for them?

Hawkmoth Sun 26-May-13 10:29:40

That's my DS! Right down to the face holding sincerity. Awaiting suggestions with interest.

FWIW, my two are currently having an hour in bed after being unmanageably angry at breakfast. I do find that a clean break through a nap or isolation helps everyone, and I don't have to listen to him faux-crying.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sun 26-May-13 10:32:24

My DD is quite like this as well. It's like she has no empathy at all.

I just keep persisting with time out/natural consequences and hope that she'll get it eventually.

Very aggravating though.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:33:20

sgt the going outside is a seperate thing. we live in a flat and outside is downstairs. DD likes to open the rabbit's cage, and so I need to be with her. I had told her she had to wait for me to go with her.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:38:44

ok, I expect I sound like a neurotic mother not letting her child outside. I probably don't need to be with her. Normally, with no rabbit she is fine outside on her own (it is our own self contained garden). But we only got the rabbit to look after yesterday, and DD is very excited and yesterday opened the cage without me there, so I have already, separately from today's incident stated she needs me there with her if she wants to go near the cage.

Primadonnagirl Sun 26-May-13 10:41:00

You really need to follow through with this..hard as it is! It's important that they both see consequences of their behaviour..your son needs to see he's spoilt it for everyone..your daughter needs to understand sometimes other people's actions mean she misses out too. However, I also agree with others who say try and salvage the day something in the garden etc. so you can spend some time with them, enjoy the weather etc..Good luck sound like a v caring mum whose trying really hard and your kids are just normal too...little buggers!grin

MadBusLady Sun 26-May-13 10:41:08

Honestly, it sounds like you've done model parenting so far. Am I reading too much into what a 3yo says or is it a bit manipulative of DS to say "Can DD still go to the pirate thing"? I'd spend the rest of the day making sure she has a nice time.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:43:04

ok. I have agreed this:

If DS behaves himself between now and end of swimming - this means no hitting, no stamping on my feet, no tantrums, no being rude to me or DD - then we will go to the local park and eat our lunch. Not a full picnic, no going to the shops for treats, but a sandwich, apple and a bottle of water.

I gave DD the option of staying and playing with the rabbit, or the park. DS got upset that he does not get to choose. I explained that if he is well behaved today and does not hurt me, he can help daddy choose where we go on our family picnic tomorrow (already planned to have one, which the kids already know about). He was upset initially, but now he seems happy enough.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:45:22

Just got to get through swimming lessons, DS LOVES hanging around for swimming lessons wink. I had wanted to watch as DD is doing her badges today, but I think I will have to go outside with him. Otherwise setting him up to fail with the misbehaving...

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:46:20

mad oh don't think that had not passed me by, him pretending he was thinking of his sister! He has learnt well grin I did not let that wash with me.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:48:16

ok, off to let DD stroke the rabbit, and then go swimming. Will let you know how I get on!

MadBusLady Sun 26-May-13 10:49:55

Hope you have a nice day smile

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