Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It REALLY is magic! (part I)

I've been doing some soul-searching during the past couple of weeks, trying to figure out what it is about my life, exactly, that is so very exhausting to me.  While completing some ranty freewrites with myself, I discovered that a huge issue was that I felt completely out of control when it came to parenting Soren.  That it seemed like he was more the boss than I was.

The big problem has always been dealing with his persistent and explosive responses to not getting his own way.  I found myself saying "yes" to requests I didn't really want to agree to just because I didn't want to deal with the whining, badgering, arguing, and tantrums that would inevitably follow.   And then there were the times when I said "no."  Observe.    

Soren: Mommy?  Can I have a cookie? 
Mommy: No, Sweetpea.  You've already had enough sweets today.
Soren (switching to whine voice): But I want a cookie!!
Mommy:  Sorry, Babe.  No cookie.
Soren:  Give me a cookie!
Mommy: No.
Soren: But whyyyyyy?  
Mommy:  Because mommy wants your body to be healthy and strong.  A little bit of sweets are okay, but too much keep you from eating the healthy foods your body needs.
Soren: Yeah, but, can I please just have one more cookie?
Mommy: No, Baby.  
Soren:  You're STUPID!  He hits Mommy.  
Mommy:  You do not hit your mother!  Go to your room!
Soren collapses on the floor and starts screaming.  
Mommy:  GO TO YOUR ROOM!
Soren continues to writhe and scream. 
Mommy picks up Soren and carries him to his room while he thrashes, scratches, hits, and possibly bites en route.
Mommy:  THAT IS NOT OKAY!  YOU STAY IN HERE UNTIL YOU CAN BEHAVE!
Soren:  I HATE YOU!
Mommy:  THAT IS A-OK WITH ME!  
Mommy slams the door and locks it from the outside.  Soren lies down on the floor and starts kicking the door.  Mommy tries to ignore this but is completely worked up by all the yelling and screaming and violence that has just occurred.  After about one minute of listening to thunderous door pounding, she freaks out.  She marches over to the door and hollers, :  "STOP KICKING THE DOOR!  STOP IT!"
Soren  responds by screaming like a velociraptor and kicking more furiously.  
"I will kick ALL DAY LONG! AS LONG AS YOU MAKE ME STAY IN THIS ROOM I WILL KICK THE DOOR!"  
"If you keep kicking the door, I will come in there and spank you!"
"If you spank me, I will hit you!"
"OH NO YOU DI-UNT!  DON'T YOU THREATEN ME!  I'M THE MOTHER!"
Mommy storms off and Soren continues to scream in his bedroom.  Mommy frets the whole time, wondering if she should go in and give him a cuddle to help him calm down or if doing so would reinforce this dreadful  behavior.  

This drama could continue for a long time.  And it was horrible.  It left Soren feeling like a bad kid.  It left me feeling like an awful parent.  And it left Liam just kind of doing his own thing somewhere alone.  

I knew this wasn't right....but I had NO IDEA how to fix it.  I've read several parenting books and I work at a counseling center, for Pete's sake, but I was still at a total loss for how to cope with these scenarios.  Most people advised ignoring the whining and tantrums-- and this was NOT working for me.  

But then my co-worker Eric brought a stack of books to work.  Among them was one I'd heard a little bit about before.  It was called 1-2-3 Magic.  I really didn't want to read another parenting book.  But I figured, "What the hell?"  I took it home and read the first half in a single evening.

(to be continued)

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.  

2 comments:

blake said...

No fair ending it on a cliffhanger.

Lara said...

I have heard about this...heard very good things. I think I need to read it. I am dealing with a highly emotional, whining phase with dear Joci right now.

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