Saturday, September 29, 2012

Enough already

Fall is a difficult time behavior-wise for the kid. Has been for the last several years. I think it is heavily related to his allergies and (allergy-induced) asthma, though going from the highly unstructured summer time he has with his Poppa, to school, well, that absolutely makes it harder.

The asthma means he doesn't sleep well. And his behavior when he isn't sleeping well is, well, to be honest it's ridiculously frustrating. He doesn't listen. He's beyond wild and wound up. He's sneaky (though, really, he's not very good at that. Which I suppose is a good thing). He's tormenting his brother for no apparent reason. And that, in particular, is something that both is not at all normal for him and pisses me off in a super huge way.

This has been going on for 2 months.

And I. Have. Had. It.

Lately I have found myself resorting to threats and consequences and even yelling with the kid. Like, a lot. These are things I know don't work (with my kid in particular, and really aren't good parenting strategies in general with any kid). Or, at a minimum, should be used as a last resort. But, they've been my go-to of late, the first (albeit crappy) tricks I pull out of the bag.

Rationally, I know that praise works best on him. But, truthfully, I'm finding it hard to find things to praise. Like, really hard. And even when I can find something, I am so irritated by all the challenging behaviors, that I have a hard time praising him in an honest and sincere manner. (Read: not through gritted teeth.) Which, of course, means that even the praise is minimally effective.

We're stuck in this ugly, teeth-gnashing, loud, whiny cycle. And it's not only not working for me or the kid, it's not working for anyone else in my house. Baby E laughs when I start counting to three with him. As in, gleefully laughing while running away. Not even he wants to listen to me. And, hell, I don't want to listen to me either. Because my voice grates on even my own nerves. Nothing I've been doing lately would make me want to behave either.

So, I need to check myself in a major way and pull out those strategies that do work. I need to reign in my own attitude, because how can I expect my 6yo to do so if I, as an adult, can't manage it. I need to be genuine when I praise him. And I need to be praising him a lot more. We need to experiment with his asthma medication (increase it for the time being) until frost kills the damn ragweed to get his allergies better under control.  I also need to get some sleep myself, because I'm fairly certain that would improve matters as well.

Mostly, I need to take some deep breaths and remember that he is only a little boy. He is only 6. And he, just like everyone else, is entitled to some bad days, especially when he isn't feeling well.

Today's Lesson: Even when you know a lot of the "right" things to do. Even when you have the tools, the resources, the support to make the right choices. Even then, it can be hard to do. Even then, you can screw up big. Because that's part of being human. But, as a parent, it is my job to set the example. It is my job to teach my child that it is okay to admit that I've screwed up. It is my job to
teach my child that it is important to apologize when I've screwed up. Because otherwise, how can I expect them to know how.


Kristin said...

My step-daughter has been especially bad lately too and I have found myself in the same boat. Like she is doing really great with reading but I am having a REALLY hard time telling her what a good job she is doing because of all the bad stuff. It is hard but we get through!

Peg said...

Oh, I have so been there. I have a particularly hard time with our 10 year old Damon. He knows exactly how to push every one of my buttons and it is his method of choice to get attention around here. I sometimes can feel the frustration spewing out while at the same time my rational mind is telling me to just be quiet and respond with more patience. It seems like the spewing wins out every time.

I hope the adjustment to his asthma medicine helps. Sleep for you would be great too.

Hang in there!!

Logical Libby said...

I feel your pain. There are days when I don't know which is worse: the way Meg is acting, or how I am reacting. Just know that it is something all parents have to go through, and that we all have your back.

Have you tried a humidifier in his room to help with sleep? Or those breathe right strips?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that even with all the right tools it's still hard. I hope things are getting better, and that new medications for him and more sleep for you help.