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Advice on how I could have handled DS's misbehaviour

(7 Posts)
stoopstofolly Sun 15-Jun-14 20:48:12

DS is 3.10. He's very strong willed, but fortunately also very loving, independent and into doing his own thing.

Anyway, DH cycled the London to Brighton bike ride today and we drove down to Brighton to meet him. We had a lovely fish and chip lunch, sat on the beach, played, had ice cream. All good.
Then came time to go home. DS did not want to leave. Now, Brighton was RAMMED with thousands of cyclists. All the roads along the sea front have cycle lanes built into the pavement, and he was refusing to walk with us and kept running away into the cycle lanes. We had a few near misses when cyclists nearly wiped out avoiding him. Traffic was also bad, and it's alongside a busy road. Finally, I'd prepaid the parking, and we had to get back to the car park before the ticket ran out!

He's a big lad so carrying him wasn't an option. DH had the rucksack, all his cycling gear plus his bike, and DD who had grazed her leg and was sitting on the bike being pushed along (DS refused to get in the bike as well).

In the end I just had to walk along, holding firmly onto his hand, while he screamed "Mummy, let go of my hand!" Lots of concerned looks from passer-bys. He was so cross he yelled for the whole of the 10 minute walk, and I felt terrible, and had to keep stopping to reiterate that I wouldn't let go of his hand because he couldn't be trusted to walk sensibly. The one time I tried letting go he ran across the cycle lane almost immediately to press the button on a pedestrian crossing that we didn't need to use. The cyclist who nearly hit him was (justifiably) very angry.

Now, I know how I handled it wasn't ideal, but does anyone have any tips for reasoning with children at this age? He's never behaved like this before and we usually walk everywhere, and DD was never this wilful, so I'm in uncharted territory here. I tried bribery (if you walk nicely you can have 3 stories tonight), threats (if you don't walk nicely there will be no stories tonight), but he was just furious at what he felt was an impingement of his freedom, and I felt like a failure. The judging looks I kept getting didn't help. So, mumsnet. Give me some advice! What could I have done better?

AgentProvocateur Sun 15-Jun-14 20:51:33

I think the only thing you should have done differently would be to grab hold of him after the first time he had a "near miss" with a cyclist, rather than go on to have "a few".

PossumPoo Sun 15-Jun-14 20:54:39

bribery?? 3 stories?? in my house that wouldn't cut it and DD loves her books! grin

No help but DD is 3. 5 and is going through a stage where if I ask her do something she will do the opposite. If we are at home she goes straight to her room with the curtains drawn and has to stay there until I say so. Thankfully at the moment she is generally pretty good when we go out but the threat of going to her room with the curtains drawn when we get home can work.

cathpip Sun 15-Jun-14 20:57:24

The only thing you did wrong was letting go of his hand that one time, apart from that you handled him well. ( I also would not have tried bribery, when they get to that state there is no reasoning!)

sittingatmydeskagain Sun 15-Jun-14 20:59:34

I think I would have done exactly the same as you. My youngest was keen on his freedom at that age, and I loved the fact that he would walk and run for miles, but I also had times when I had to grab his hand and force him to stay close.

Another trick - sing a song in time as you walk, turn it into a game. Try and get him to walk in stride with you, doing skips or silly walks.

Jaffakake Sun 15-Jun-14 21:08:25

Yep, I'd have done exactly the same. I'd have used all the tricks in my arsenal & behaved like a cbeebies presenter, but at the end if the day I'd have done the same.

stoopstofolly Sun 15-Jun-14 21:15:29

You're all right about the bribery- if I was going to bribe him I should have had the courage of my convictions and offered a better incentive! However, I think it was too late anyway as he'd got himself into a state. I know I should have got a handle on it sooner- it was just such a shock! I just kept saying "now walk nicely with Mummy please" like the most ineffectual useless parent ever while the whole situation went to hell! We always walk everywhere and (aside from the endless chatter) it's usually very harmonious.

I'm quite relieved that no one is saying I've scarred him for life (although there's still time!) and he told me (unprompted) at bath time that he was "very sorry and was still my friend"!

I didn't think of game playing/ singing etc- my mind was a horrified blank. I'll remember for next time, although it's not something that comes naturally to me. As a parent I'm quite dull, very shy and tone deaf, so it would certainly have been a memorable sight! In fact, the sheer horror of it would possibly have scared him into silence!

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