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and the award for the worst parent goes to

(24 Posts)
yawningmonster Thu 11-Dec-08 02:46:23

me again.
Ds and I had a fairly good morning at Playcentre, no biting etc and I praised him and said how nice it was. We went on from there to vege shop and again he was brilliant so made comment how pleased I am I can take him with me and rely on him to be so good in the shop. Get home and friend has invited us around, ds is keen so walk around (2 streets) ds keeps grabbing toys off other child, poking him, coughing in his face etc, just being a pain really. Friend mum decides to make muffins and ds climbs on stool to watch, keeps coughing on friend on purpose. I say he will have to get down if he is to do that. He stops then about 5 mins later coughs towards the food> I start to give him reminder as was unsure if on purpose or not. Friends mum says no you must get down. Her house so I get ds down and he has hernia kicking and screaming and trying to get back on chairs. She tries to distract him which works momentarily (I am trying to ignore him) then he is back at it. Anyway he is escalating so I say sorry I think we will have to leave. So with pregnant belly and all, go to leave trying to juggle keys etc. Get to gate and have to put ds down to open, he runs off and hides. Finally find him hiding behind tree in garden so heft pregnant self behind to get him and leave. Am only down drive way when think I can't do this he is too strong we have to far to go and then start to put him down but mostly drop him as he is strugling so much. Clearly, crossly but calmly say "I can't carry you, we need to go home now" and walk off. Ds carrying on in middle of path finally runs behind me screaming all the way home (am really worried he will run off into traffic but can't physically heft him anymore) Get home, he is still screaming and shouting so put in room to calm down. He calms so open door "I want to watch tv" Tv is an absolute earned treat in our house so I say no you need to show me you can play nicely. Another massive hernia kicking and screaming. Comes out again "You have to say please and then I will play nicely" Calmly state "You want tv, you need to play nicely, end of" Another massive hernia insues. Ok I know he is probably tired, I know I should have probably driven to friends rather than put him in danger, I know I handled it all wrong again just like I always do but I am trying so hard. I told ds friend wouldn't want us back if this keeps happening which is mean but also very true (I also told him I loved him and wanted him no matter what he did)

meandjoe Thu 11-Dec-08 05:57:35

I really don't think you did anything wrong! Sounds like you handled a very difficult situation very very well, which must be bloody hard being pregnant.

You stayed as calm as you could, you stuck to your word ie, not giving in on the TV issue, you reassured him you loved him no matter hoe he behaved. I really can't see a problem with your behaviour at all. You are being very hard on yourself. xxx

NewKnickersFromSantaOnMaHead Thu 11-Dec-08 06:36:53

There's no way you handled that wrong! I wouldnt of been that calm AND I would of given in to tv blush

FiveDollarShake Thu 11-Dec-08 06:49:36

I dont think you handled it badly. You did the best you could in a very trying situation. Its not easy especially when your pregnant and not able to just scoop him up, carry him and remove him from the situation. Ive been there! Dont worry. smile

whyme2 Thu 11-Dec-08 06:58:21

I think you did well sticking to your word. It's so hard when you are heavily pregnant to get a toddler to co operate if they don't want to. My DC ran away from me in town when I was heavily pg, he would have ended up in front of a car except he tripped and grazed the left side of his face. Boy did I feel bad - he looked like an extra from a horror movie. I just wasn't fast enough to catch him in time.

yawningmonster Thu 11-Dec-08 07:29:35

thank you, I was upset as I pretty much dropped him though he was unhurt, I put him in danger, he could have easily run out across the road or away from me and also felt also saying his friends wouldn't want him back but this is not an isolated incidence and I think friends are getting tired of his behaviour and my lack of control over it.

QueenEagle Thu 11-Dec-08 07:36:33

Sounds like you had complete control. You stayed consistent, said what you meant and meant what you said. His behaviour will gradually improve if you maintain this approach. He has learnt from this episode that his awful behaviour will not get him what he wants. You handled it brilliantly.

yawningmonster Thu 11-Dec-08 07:42:18

thanks queeneagle unfortunately like I said this is not isolated and behaviour at the moment is getting worse rather than better, have not seen any improvement at all with my methods. On another thread someone suggested I spend more quality time with him and have been thinking alot about this and although I spend a great deal of one on one time wiht him I wonder if I am focused on him enough during this time or giving him the enough of it.

turtledove23 Thu 11-Dec-08 07:53:41

I'm afraid that I am not willing to give up that award! You did brilliantly.

Nighbynight Thu 11-Dec-08 08:05:03

hmm, if anything I'd say you are trying a bit too hard. Just read your account, have to say that when he calmed down the first time, and asked for tv, I would have switched it on. Letting him relax at this point, was more important than making your point about tv having to be earned.

but don't think you are making a serious bid for worst parent awardgrin

Lemontart Thu 11-Dec-08 08:11:20

Boo Hissss Totally disagree -you do not deserve that award so hand it back now!

You can’t drive your children everywhere and cannot always plan for every scenario. Sounds like you kept your cool, talked calmly and even managed to follow through on the tv rule despite him calming down and you being tired. You rock! Honestly, you did brilliantly.

He did ok too though. You said he had a brilliant morning and you gave him lots of praise. Half a day of spot on behaviour is a great start. Hopefully he will learn from the afternoon too.

I think small children find different social situations hard. In his house the toys are his to play with. In someone else’s house it is a different ball game - that is a tough lesson to learn. Suddenly there is another child to "compete with" and he is starting from a "losing position" where all the toys don’t belong to him. At the same time his mummy is busy talking to another grown up and not playing the games with him. It can be tough to learn that he can’t have whatever he wants and does need to sit back and wait to be "allowed" - hard for a small child. If other people’s homes and their toys are a sticking point, perhaps try to take a couple of his (not favourite but ones he plays with regularly). Talk to him on the way about how he is taking them to "show" his friend and explain that XX will want to touch and play with them too and that is ok. When it is time to go home, you will make sure the toys go home with you too etc. I know I found it easier to take a couple of things with me as it seemed to "level" the toy playing field and help my DD2 cope in other’s homes. It is a passing phase though. My youngest was worse than yours sounds (really awful in other homes - destructive if I was not careful and very emotional) and she is delightful now.

Now, hand back that award or I am gonna report you for theft wink

yawningmonster Thu 11-Dec-08 08:12:40

I wondered if I had * up there too Nighbynight but he asked as soon as I opened the door and though maybe wrongly that I sent a bad message by saying "Yes ds of course you can watch tv" It seems to be the only thing he really cares about (he has only been allowed tv in the last few weeks as it has had bad consequences for behaviour in past, he negotiated recently that if he had good behaviour would we let him watch a little, we said we would try it) Going to his room only seems to work in terms of calming him down in the moment, it doesn't seem to make any effect on reducing behaviour at all.

yawningmonster Thu 11-Dec-08 08:17:58

Lemontart thank you that was a very helpful post and will definately try taking some of his toys along. You are so right about how hard it must be on 'another turf' I disagree with the driving for now though as I need for my own sake a way out if the situation is going pear shaped and struggling with a 4 year old along 2 streets is not good so I think at least while I am pregnant and he is really prone to explosions that I need the back up of the car so he doesn't end up in danger in trying to get him home.

Nighbynight Thu 11-Dec-08 08:18:22

well, my children know that there are limits beyond which they cannot go, but they also know that I want to indulge them. I dont always get it right, either!
I dont like having constant negotiations over the tv, so have simply removed the cable so that it is not an issue any more. They just have dvds. Sometimes.
my chidlren are older though.

duchesse Thu 11-Dec-08 08:31:25

OP- Sounds perfect to me. You kept control, followed through and did what you said you would. He WILL improve, honest. You are doing just fine.

swanriver Thu 11-Dec-08 13:02:48

Sounds to me like ds was completely tired out by time he got to your friend's house after a busy morning, and needed to go home and chill out in front of tv, not do anything which required concentration or being 'good'. I don't think four year olds have any foresight. He may have wanted to go to friend's house but not realised until he got there how tired he was. I wouldn't make tv such a big issue, from reading previous posts. I think you handled an impossible situation (blooming friend making wretched muffins) very well. I think you are being much too hard on yourself, and your ds's behaviour is actually how a lot of four year olds, (mine including when they were that age) do behave. I think childcare at this age is damage limitation, not caring how other people little darlings may or may not behave.

katiek123 Thu 11-Dec-08 19:28:51

agree with swanriver. my DD was incredibly testing at 4 too. i remember once heaving DS (18 mths) along a beach running after her for what felt like miles, cursing her as she made it onto a second beach beyond, virtually crying with the stress and the physical strain of carrying DS all the while, seeing that she had gone up steps onto promenade above, and realising i just had to give up trying to catch her up, hoping she wouldn't run under a bus or be abducted etc - not a damn thing i could do about it. one of many similarly nightmareish scenarios at the time. a lot it was indeed, in swan's words, damage limitation and it just got SO MUCH BETTER as she got older. obviously it's good to be consistent etc but the main thing for my child was not over-stretching her socially bcs she just couldn't hack it. we needed to build loads of breaks into the day between social interactions bcs of her tendency to act out when overtired and in company. i virtually forced her to watch a bit of telly after lunch, for instance, to wind her down - and i am not a telly fan at all and limit it now they are older! gets better gets better gets better, i promise. you are doing just fine!

nooonit Thu 11-Dec-08 19:51:11

Yawning Monster - Couldn't let this pass without saying that it sounds like you did a bloody good job in a difficult situation.

DD1 was very like this when I was very pregnant with DD2 this time last year - don't know if that's anything to do with it - almighty tantrums when you're just not in a physical (or mental) state to deal with it - it's as if they know!!!

Hope you're feeling better by now - a year on nightmarish scenarios have mainly passed for us, well, most of the time anyway!

yawningmonster Fri 12-Dec-08 05:40:22

thank you all for your responses, yes swanriver and katie I agree that was one of my biggest mistakes that I agreed to the playdate, he struggles at the best of times and he was tired. I hope, hope, hope you are right about it getting better, I really am struggling with him in a lot of areas and finding it so draining. I took today off work because after that day together he didn't sleep until midnight last night (he stayed in bed but just made so much noise nobody got any sleep and I thought he would be diabolical at childminders today and would probably bite someone so took day off and looked after him here...was 13 hours of hell.

smartiejakeonachristmascake Fri 12-Dec-08 07:37:03

No no no no no no.

You handled the whole thing brilliantly.
And you can't say no to a playdate just in case he kicks off. If you take hime home every time he behaves badly he will get it eventually.

Well done for not giving in to the TV thing and keeping calm. I think you deserve a medal not the booby prize!

swanriver Fri 12-Dec-08 10:56:30

You are working so hard, yawningmonster to deal with this problem (from reading previous thread) Maybe it's time to completely change the dynamic between you and your lo. I've had hideous days with my four year old daughter who I kept at home from nursery because she was 'overtired'. Instead of calming down, she spent the whole day, nagging and shouting at me, complaining and whining. In these situations nothing will help but a complete overhaul of the way you relate to each other. You are tired, very worried about his behaviour, and nothing you do seems to help.

Imagine you are starting afresh. What do you love about him? Don't concentrate on telling him to be 'good' but on telling him to be 'happy'. ie: I loved the way you enjoyed jumping on those cushions at the playcentre, and I loved the way you enjoyed helping me buy those vegetables. Make it clear that the day's routine is fun for everyone. Don't lay all these burdens of being good on him. Maybe some children respond to that, but he obviously doesn't. Let him watch telly not as a reward for 'good behaviour' but because you want to sit down with him and enjoy watching telly cuddled up to him or next to him. Enjoy his pleasure in the telly (you can still limit it to 1.5 hrs a day). There are frazzling telly programmes(cartoons/disney) and very soothing ones (thomas tank engine, bagpuss, ivor the engine, jackanory tweenies) Make it part of your day if you like - quiet time after lunch. Then make it clear there is another lovely thing you will do after that, which is not conditional on his good behaviour but just something you are both looking forward to. Building a train track, going for a walk, run around the block, bouncing on the sofa. He will be incredibly sensitive to your feelings of frustration, irritation/despair and immediately play up. I remember just waiting for my daughter to behave badly, tensed up. I'm sure it didn't help. Now she's a lovely companion (most of the time...)tho' I still have to consciously refrain from setting her off.

yawningmonster Sat 13-Dec-08 02:01:31

you are right I do tense up and he probably picks up on this. I do try very hard to concentrate on the things we enjoy and create times when I and he can just enjoy each other. I try not to burdon him and always comment on things when he is doing well or even kind of well. Tv is part of the routine over the last week or so (he only watches fairly inocuous ones like blues clues) but he has always struggled with tv watching in general having a melt down when the programme was finished, nagging all day about when was his program on, having a melt down if it was an episode he didn't like, throwing the remote at the tv or pulling the plugs out etc which is why we banned it completely. He has been ok with it over the last couple of weeks but if he is having a bad day then chances are almost 100 per cent that watching the tv will make it worse and will be the source of a big melt down, so if he is acting up he doesn't get to watch it. I try not to cancel other things he enjoys or make them contingent on his behaviour as otherwise we would not go anywhere or do anything. The only sanctions we have are time away from everyone to cool down and protect them from being hurt by him and loss of tv. I don't do the removal of toys etc because he couldn't care less. I try to wake up each morning with a smile and an attitude of it will be a great day, I try to balance between what he wants to do and ideas I have had that he might enjoy. This morning I had 2 hours of screaming, biting, hitting, whining etc because I put the sugar in the wrong shape on his porridge (I did offer for him to do it first but he yelled at me to do it for him, I asked him to ask nicely which he did but I got it wrong so he threw the porridge at me, screamed at me, bit me when I took him to his room to calm down etc, when he came out he told me to make him more porridge and I said no as he had thrown the other one he could have fruit or meusli. He bit me and whined and screamed etc and so it went on and so goes my life. It is hard to be positive when it is like this but I am trying to portray love and patience and consistency.

thumbElf Sat 13-Dec-08 02:20:17

gosh, YM, it sounds like you are having a really hard time with a little tyrant! It also sounds like you are doing REALLY well in managing the situations as they arise, even though they are really difficult.

I have this to look forward to as DS is only just 1 (but already has strong will and lusty screams when thwarted) so no actual advice on how to get his behaviour to improve, I just wanted to say I think you are doing very well.

katiek123 Mon 15-Dec-08 15:51:29

yawningmonster please do check out the 'calling all mums of demanding children' thread immediately smile - if you haven't already done so. it's a thread that a lot of mums with children who are demanding in the way you have described have posted on. you're describing the life i used to have when DD was 2, 3, 4. my every day would begin at half 6 in the morning with her kicking off in a hideous meltdown because the cornflakes had been poured into her bowl 'in the wrong shape' - AARGH! it was SO difficult and SO demoralising. i loved and love her so very much but she made my life such a living hell sometimes!!
i absolutely promise it gets thousands of times better with time - but it does take quite a long time hmm - or at least did with my little one. she is a different child now she is 7 and has been loads easier and family life has been loads more fun since about 5. at your stage i felt a lot of despair as i did not understand why life had to be so hard. have you read 'raising your spirited child' - mary sheedy kurcinka - explains why some kids act like this and are incredibly more demanding of our attention and emotional energy than others. helped me enormously when things were at their worst. another book often recommended on MN is 'the highly sensitive child' - worth a look too. good luck! apologies if you've heard all of this before eg on that thread. xx

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