Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Inexperienced Experts

Guy has recently started throwing some nasty fits, including kicking and screaming and hitting and biting. I have had to haul him up to his room to remove him from the situation. It's a good thing I am so tough or I may not have been able to handle him without being hurt by him. I was letting him work it out by himself in his room. He would throw things at the door, or hit it and he would yell and scream, "MOMMY GET BACK HERE!", "OPEN DOOR!"

I was leaving him in there until he could calm himself down, but what I am realizing is that he usually needs some help to calm down when he is that upset. Now when I have to put him in his room, I only leave him for a minute or less and when I open the door he comes to me with open arms, asking me for a hug and ready with an apology.

Before I realized this, we were concerned with how to deal with these outbursts. My dad was unnerved by it and wondered how it would be if he were a teen ager and could not control his temper.

My brother opened up and in an effort to help us said that if we are interested in seeking their advice they would be glad to help us.

*Let it be known that my brother and his wife do not have any children.*
*Let it also be know that until this point, they had also never watched Guy for me for even an hour.*

My dad relayed to me from a conversation that he had with my brother when he said that they are not exactly Virgins when it comes to raising children.........???????

Are they stashing some kids in their closet downstairs? How can you be experienced in something you have never fully experienced? They consider the one and one half years that they were the Ward Nursery leaders as child rearing experience???!!

Granted it can be a challenging calling and it does take some knowledge in child behavior, but it is very different from being a parent. Children often act differently with other adults that they do with their own parents, usually better. The Nursery leaders give me nothing but praise for how well behaved Guy is in their class. For example she recently shared with me how one of the girls in the class was sick and Guy thought on his own to bring her a blanket and a stuffed animal to comfort her.

My brother had a birthday and the custom is for them to have dinner with her family at their house. They choose to have the birthday dinner at our house this time. We greeted them outside, as Guy had been playing out front. Instead of the usual enthusiastic, "Hi big Guy, how are you? Give me five!" When I introduced them they had this strange cold look on their face. I know now what they were thinking... ("Ah, so this is the problem child and his poor, naive mother.")

After the blowing out of the candles on the cake, my sister-in-law's mother invites my dad to tell us what kind of a child Aaron was. My dad was proud to say that he was as straight as an arrow and wanted nothing more than to please his parents and to be a missionary, which is the truth.

Then she began to tell about what a problem child her daughter was.....and then one day.....she went to this class at Education week at BYU....and her problems were solved by this Behavioral Psychologist. All she had to do was impliment his simple techniques and voila! Model children!

She went on for an hour telling us her story to her captive audience, as we were eating birthday cake. I made some comment and she asked, "Do you have a Kari, too?" I wish I had said, "No, I have a Guy Smiley".

Guy's issues are different than those that Kari had and I will find a way to correct his behavior in a way different than the system she implied.

I have already been doing mostly what this philosophy discussed, but I can't see that I should have to give my child a toy reward every time he does something good. Praise and self gratification should be sufficient. Otherwise I am teaching him that he should expect something from me every time he does anything good.

This is week old news and Kari volunteered to watch Guy for me, for the first time last night so that I could attend this "Sock-baring-forbidden, Sock Hop" at BYU. In which they all seemed to have high hopes for me to meet "the man of my dreams" at.


Sariah said...

I hate people who try to tell you how to parent your child!!!

And now, having said that... lol

I imagine that Guy is still dealing with the changes he has experienced lately. Moving is huge for kids! And then add in you going out occasionally. (But I think it is important for you to go out.) Its just hard for kids to deal with all that. Tantrums are common ways for kids to express the emotions they feel.

All I would suggest trying is making extra (even more than you already do) efforts to have quality time with Guy, just the two of you. Make him know that he will always be your top priority and that no matter what happens (even during change), he can always count on you to be there for him.

When he does have a tantrum or a hard time, try to remain calm and show him love. I think time outs are good, like you are doing. And I think it's great to give him just a couple of minutes and then go in to him. I'm guessing that what he needs most at those times is lots and lots of love, which would explain his open arms when you go in to him.

You are right on with the positive reinforcement thing. Praise is the best thing to offer for good behavior. We don't want our children to grow up thinking that the reason they are good is to get something in return. We want them to do good because of how good it makes them feel.

He is young, and this is totally normal! Don't let anyone discourage you! He will eventually grow out of tantrums - and then you'll have new problems to deal with! lol It never ends when you are a mom!

Trixie Granny said...

Thanks Sariah. I needed to hear that.

Anonymous said...

There is no one method to raise a child from what I hear. As his mother, it sounds like you are intune with what he needs and are tailoring it as such.