Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cry me a river

We've been seeing a lot of crying lately ... I mean A LOT. Every naptime; every bedtime; every time he has to make a decision on whether or not he wants to go with Nana (not to mention the times when he has no choice but to go with her).

Mom's getting really tired of it. Tonight, I threatened the loss of his "Mommy" story if he didn't change his attitude about bedtime and put his toys away (he was throwing a tantrum). He continued to misbehave so he lost the "mommy" story. I should have known that this was a mistake. I should have known not to mess with his bedtime routine, but I was desperate (you'd understand if you'd been at meeting with us tonight), and I didn't know what else to do.

So anyway ... no "mommy" story. All hell broke loose. Hysterical crying. Kicking. At this point, I was at a loss. I had realized my mistake -- you can't take something away from a child that he comes to expect from a routine. But, he was behaving entirely inappropriately. So, I explained that Mommy made a mistake, but I also explained why I had taken the story away. Once I felt he understood, we read a short story (series of poems to be accurate). Then he cried again because he wanted another story.

This morning he opened the pantry door and saw cookies. I need a "spinkle" cookie. Not until you eat breakfast. Allen, you have to eat real food before you have a cookie.
rolling around on floor
crying, "I don't want weal food. Just cookies!!"

I stopped arguing with him and went back to eating my breakfast. Finally he came over and ate his eggs. After he was done, he said "I a good boy! I ate weal food. I can have a cookie now!"

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for this stage -- the tantrum stage? The crying. The "I need" stage? I've tried reasoning. I've tried hugging. I usually remain very calm. I speak quietly to him. Do I just have to hold on until it passes? Help, please?!



Jenn said...

so sorry, I wish I knew?!

KMag said...

I think you may have hit on something when you ignored the behavior and continued to do what you were doing...eating your breakfast.

Megan Lynn said...

Sorry I'm so late to post! I have been having similar issues with Phoebe! She is very strong willed which can be hilarious and can also be miserable. She screams, cries, arches her back and throws herself backwards slamming her head into the wall or floor. The only thing that seems to work for us is ignoring her. They say you should ignore them for one minute per year old they are and then when you give them attention say "mommy doesn't respond to tantrums, would you like to try again nicely?" Let me know if you hear anything better! We tried slapping her little hand when she reached for the stove one too many times and now if we say "Phoebe no" she looks at us and smacks her own hand...guess that didn't work.

Allegra said...

that little phoebe is something else! i can't believe she slaps her own hand. love your advice, meg (and Kristen). i'll keep trying that.


PWNort64 said...

Okay, coming in way late.

Sounds like he is totally testing his boundaries. When we went through this, what worked for me was tightening the boundaries, standing firm and being consistent. This helped to reinforce for him that when I said 'no' to something, no amount of whining, tantruming, crying, or any other kind of hysterics was going to change the answer. If I had given in, that would have provided that much more fuel for him to think it would work again. Ride it out, ignore the behavior as much as you possibly can. Try not to react...way harder to do than it sounds, but extremely effective.

PWNort64 said...

Also wanted to add: When things have gotten out of control, I have taken away part of his bedtime ritual/story reading. It did upset him very much, but I'll tell you that it also really got his attention. The most effective attention-getter in our house is losing TV privileges. For a while there, TV was something that had to be earned by the previous day's behavior. He's actually had to go a couple of weeks with no TV... gasp! But the behavior on the other side is worth it in the end.