‘Push sisters?’ ‘No!’
‘Hit mummy?’ ‘No!’
‘Hit sisters?’ ‘No!’
‘Kick mummy?’ ‘No!’
‘Kick ball?’ ‘Yes!’
‘Throw mummy?’ ‘No!’ (I love that one! God bless his belief in his strength.)
‘Throw ball?’ ‘Yes!’
You get the idea. This is a daily conversation and my son generally knows the answer to each of these questions. However, sometimes instead of just having a conversation we get action. It usually is a frustration acted out on me. Sometimes it can happen with other kids in the play school.
Trying to reason with a 20 month old is pretty impossible but our ‘thinking step’ is also not working. He usually heads there himself when he needs a break from the mayhem anyway. So this evening I decided another tack. Instead of taking him and putting him in a place alone I stayed very close to him but didn’t converse. So this is how it worked:
My boy was eating his dinner and we were having a great time until one of the girls started to cry. This meant that I had to divert my attention. He then decided to throw the yoghurt pot which meant mess all over the floor. I then went over to him and explained in a firm voice you are not allowed do that. Of course that made no difference and he then hit me twice. So in other words – I’m pissed off with you mummy! Instead of taking him to the thinking step, I told him I was very angry with him and how you never hit mummy. I then quietly cleaned up around him. Once done I took him upstairs for bath and pyjamas with no chat. Gave him a quick bath, again no happy chat. And then for the first time without prompting a sorry I got one!!! Now I don’t know if this is something that will happen next time but it got me thinking.
Tantrums are a very normal part of childhood and we have our fair share. Yes, absolutely take the child away from what’s frustrating them (if possible) but maybe isolating them isn’t always the answer. This is only one instance do I’m not saying I have cracked the code! But maybe there is another way.
The girls are now 4 months old and my boy is 20 months. Time is flying by and our little unit seems to be knitting together. Every week it gets better. We are now all starting to have fun together and play includes the girls a lot more. Can S join in? Can she have a car too? Will we all play pizza puzzle together? And although they’re not fully participating yet I can see my son really wanting to play with them and they follow him everywhere he goes with their eyes.