Why is it that when you either take and extended break or decide to give up on blogging all together ideas and questions and post start pouring in? Comments do too. Funny.
My intention was to tell you all about the “super fun family time” we’ve been having for the past two weeks. I use super fun in quotes because it involves things like me throwing books at the back of the car and cursing Steve Jobs name for ever inventing an iPod touch. Fun times, fun stuck in the car family times. However, the fun times were peppered with a few good things along the way. See, it’s a week (or two) long story that I was going to recap over the next week (or two). Only problem is… I have a problem.
I bet you can’t guess. Oh wait, you can. Yep. It’s the boy.
Have I mentioned that I hate Summer. More specifically Summer vacation. It is the bane of my existence. No matter how structured I try to make the no-school time I fail miserably. Three months of no school wreaks havoc on this household. By August I’m counting the days until school starts. This year it doesn’t start until September 6th. I think I might be pushed right over the edge by then.
Here’s how this story goes.
Mid-June through July we establish a fairly consistent routine. I work certain days. Certain people come to watch the boy on specific days. For the most part all is well. The first thing that happened was that the boy made friends with more of the neighborhood kids around the 4th of July. This is not a bad thing. I want to make that clear. Oleg has always been a bit of a loner and him having friends is a very very good thing. It is just a change in routine. Instead of him spending time with the people who have come to watch him he now abandons them for his friends. Again, not a bad thing, just a change in routine.
Then, the last week of July the family comes to visit. I’ve mentioned in the past that when the family comes to visit all structures flies out the window and hell breaks loose. It isn’t the family’s fault it is simply the structure falling apart.
The first two weeks of August are spent on our family vacation. We’ve been planning and preparing for this trip for months. It is a two week road trip as far south as San Diego and up the California coast. It involves camping and hotels and lots of time in the car. Being strapped into a car seat does not count as structure.
Basically all of this is a snowball effect. It escalates to the point that leaves us looking at each other and wondering how the hell do we fix this. We know the answer. Structure. Oh dear lord when does school start?
This time around the behaviors are amplified. There is still the whining and crying but they are enhanced by screaming. Screaming at levels that I’ve never heard before. Screams came from the boys room last night that were reminiscent of a dog whistle. Add on top of that a heavy dose of lying and accusations and manipulations. It is a giant suckfest around here.
Neighbor girl comes over to play. This is Oleg’s best friend and he hasn’t seen her in 2 weeks. They ride bikes, play and have fun. We had a plan to take a family outing* to the Blueberry Park after lunch. I tell Oleg that neighbor girl can have lunch with us, but afterwards we would be doing the family outing and he could play again after we got back. Children eat and go outside to play until Derek is done with lunch. Oleg walks girl home and then comes back and asks, “Can neighbor girl come with us to the blueberry park. She asked her dad and he said it was ok.” Me: “You asked neighbor girl’s dad if she could go on our family outing before you asked me?” Him: “It was her idea.” Me: “Did you talk about it before you asked her dad or did she just ask?” Him: “no, we talked about it.” Me: “No, I told you it was a family outing.” Child then proceeds to begin arguing with me and whining. Me: “Now you cannot play with her when we get back.” He is now whipped into a fit of rage where he accuses me of ruining his day. He walks away screaming. He comes back into the kitchen and says, “Can’t I just think about it and then play with her?” I’ve been trying to get him to think about his actions, but evidently he’s using the time to figure out how to buck the system. I start to put him on the chair for a time out and he is kicking and screaming and saying, “Don’t make me go tell her.” Ah Ha! Even better idea. The child now must walk down to neighbor girl’s house and tell her that she can’t join us and that he can’t play. He walks back and begins to again tell me that I’ve ruined his day and that it is my fault that he can’t have fun.
While the child is sitting on the chair I try to have a conversation with him. Him (screaming): “You are ruining all of my fun” Me: “How am I ruining all of you fun? Him (still screaming): “You won’t let me play with my friends.” Me: “Why won’t I let you play with your friends?” Him (screaming even louder): “Because I was screaming and crying” Me: “What happens when you scream and cry?” Him (still screaming): “I lose privileges.” Me: “So who is ruining all of your fun?” Him (still screaming): “YOOOOOOUUUU!” Repeat conversation and include conversation about choices. Eventually I had to walk away and lock myself in the bedroom.
Somehow the child calmed down and came into the bedroom to apologize. Only this time I told him I didn’t believe him. The reason is I’ve had that same interaction on a daily basis for the past 3 weeks. I’ve also been lied to, spoken so rudely to and manipulated that I can’t take it anymore.
No amount of parenting has given this child any empathy. He simply does not understand that his actions have consequences or that they hurt people. The only time he has a reaction to hurting someone is if they cry. I’m at a loss as what to do. For now I’m keeping his world very small and turning back to the somewhat semblance of a structure we had before. That and wait it out until school starts.
We are going through the same with C. Check our my blog for the highlights of our abbreviated trip to China. We’re back in the states now, and still in a hotel. Things are better but HOOOOO BOY, are we experiencing the exact same things as you.
I’m with you, sister. I can’t wait for school to start. Only I have to find a house to live in, first. 😐
email me. We’ll swap war stories. 🙂
I can relate…
hang in there
Same here except it’s two 5 year old boys. Don’t argue with him. You can’t win when the other person has no logic. logic won’t come into play for at least another…um, 20 years or so if you’re lucky! Empathy also is a foreign concept at this age, especially spontaneous empathy. It just has not developed in their brains yet. Just walk away, sing to yourself, listen to some tunes and only talk to him after he is calm and quiet. Let him know he is in charge of his behavior and that you, as the mom, just have to follow the rules. Too bad, so sad, not my problem.
If all else fails, act crazy and let your inner psycho out!!! As he screams, invent an interpretive dance to it. When he stops screaming to see what you are doing, freeze. Keep going until he either laughs or you pull a muscle!!!! Seriously, it can be sooo mood changing for everyone.
I like Wendys idea. O provides a double whammy… cause damn it… HE’S SMART! There is no reasoning when he sees red so quit wasting your breath. Walk away from it, go outside, put your ipod on, whatever… but DON’T let it affect you or at least let him know that it is. 😉 Consequences, such as taking away every toy he owns is ineffective. He’s seeing red and there is no reasoning with a child who gets so frustrated.It only prolongs YOUR agony. Let his flood gates open and once they have been drained… sit down and talk. 6 years old, full of the devil and a little behind on those tantrums. Understandably so. Those lies aren’t really lies… they’re fibbers. You did it, I did it (sometimes I still do) and so did everyone else. Hang it there mommy, even O will outgrow this. Just a tad slower. 🙁
Get out those Love and Logic CDs…you might get some strategies that could work. The phrase “you can’t reason with a brainstem” comes to mind.
When my you-know-who youngest mooned her grandma at the dinner table and I put her in timeout, apparently _I_ was the rude one.
I won’t event start about the 10yo, who luckily has long ago taken to screaming like a banshee and locking herself into her room until she calms down.
When B was 3, Mom gave me a book called Parenting your Spirited Child, or something close to that. It really helped give me some insight on different ways to approach difficult situations with my “spirited child.” Granted, I breezed through some of it (as you know, I’m so not into self help books), but the parts that stuck, REALLY stuck. AND it worked, by gosh. Just a few helpful hints that took away the tantrums. I’ve been consistent in using them ever since, and we haven’t had a tantrum in YEARS. It was also helpful in identifying what kind of parent I was and how I approached situations that actually were the TRIGGERS in setting her off. I also learned what type of parenting style W. had (we were MUCH different,as you might of guessed) and how we could come together and do things the same way for consistency for the WHOLE FAMILY. Check it out, you and D. may find it very helpful too. 🙂 XOXO