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.