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  #1  
Old Apr 23, '12, 7:17 am
JLCecilia JLCecilia is offline
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Default pushing my kids buttons

My oldest is most like me, very emotionally volatile. BTW he is almost 6 and in the recent months his fits have gotten worse. Although infrequent, he will get so frustrated with me he will flat out scream at me and my knee-jerk reaction is to spank. This is probably the only time I spank any of my kids. And I'm horrible at it, I don't think I'm spanking hard enough to hurt him, but just the whole situation is so distressing to him you'd think I was flogging him!

The way it happens is that he'll be dragging his feet, he's bored, he starts getting in everyone's faces, mine and his brothers, just pestering everyone and whining about something that's unfair. It gets old really quick and I may try having him sit with his head down for 5 minutes or so, but it isn't long before he's at it again. So then I send him to his room. Every time he comes out I send him right back and if he so much as tries to talk to me I just cut him off and tell him I won't speak to him till I'm ready. Each time he comes out and is sent back he becomes more and more upset until he just explodes.

Thankfully last night DH came to my defense and did the spanking for me. I know DS is likely tired (he gave up naps when he was 18 mo) and sometimes I feel as if I'm not spending enough time with him. During naptime yesterday (typically I like to sleep too) I read to him and he was totally captivated. We will play cards, but it's frustrating to both of us when little brother gets in the middle. After last night's episode when things had settled down, I pulled him out of bed and snuggled with him and prayed a decade of the rosary.

Really struggling to stop before things get out of hand and just take him on my lap and say a little prayer together. RRRGG! Anybody else struggle with this? I feel like such a jerk and the more we but heads, the less tolerant I am of everyone and everything. I just want the world to stop and run away.
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  #2  
Old Apr 23, '12, 8:38 am
VeritasLuxMea VeritasLuxMea is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

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Originally Posted by JLCecilia View Post
My oldest is most like me, very emotionally volatile.
Quote:
Thankfully last night DH came to my defense and did the spanking for me.

So who spanks you when you get "emotionally volatile"?
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  #3  
Old Apr 23, '12, 9:58 am
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28562 28562 is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

Look up The Five Love Languages. I think there is a kids version of the book also...it can help you to realize what effective discipline will be for different kids, depending on how they perceive love.

For example--

My daughter (5) is definitely a Words of Affirmation person. When she is in trouble, all I have to do is let her know that I am disappointed with her and she cries like a baby. I don't often have to spank her because she strives to do better just to make sure we are proud of her and not disappointed.

My oldest son (3.5) is a Physical Touch person. I could talk to him all day long about what he did wrong and he would go do the same thing again. But if I spank him or pop him on the hand, he will really try to not let that happen again. I can spank him really hard when we are wrestling and playing and he laughs like there is no tomorrow. But if I spank him 1/10 as hard and I have an unhappy look on my face, he falls to pieces. Very interesting...

Our youngest son is just too young to tell what he is going to be, but my bottom line is that when I began to understand what makes each of them tick, I was able to 'custom fit' discipline for each one of them. It has been MUCH more effective.
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  #4  
Old Apr 23, '12, 10:21 am
JLCecilia JLCecilia is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

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Originally Posted by VeritasLuxMea View Post
So who spanks you when you get "emotionally volatile"?
I do, but even at my angriest my spanking is wimpy at best.
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  #5  
Old Apr 23, '12, 10:35 am
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kristacecilia kristacecilia is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

He sounds like a boy!

My boys (8 and 6) go through similar episodes. The biggest thing is to watch for those clues and nip it in the bud- when you see him bugging everyone or whining, you need to address that calmly before he escalates.

- If he is bored and acting out, offer a job. Boys need SO MUCH purposeful work. He can move a pile of logs. He could scrub a bathroom. He could empty the dishwasher. If he turns down the job you can either insist or tell him that if he continues whining or bothering people that you WILL find a job for him and it WILL be done to YOUR satisfaction.

- If he can't be respectful of the family in a family area, he has to leave. We have one family space that is living room, dining room, and kitchen all in one. Everyone is expected to be considerate of the FAMILY in this area. If not, you may go to your room until you are able to be considerate of the FAMILY.

- If he is wound up and needs to release some energy, send him outside! Have him run laps of the house. Have him practice playing catch with himself or his dad.

If it still escalates to a fit, here they are treated like this:

- "You are free to be upset and even cry about something if you need to, but if you are being very disruptive you need to do it in your room." Usually we say, "Why don't you go lay down on your bed until you are done crying, then come back and we can try talking again." If the fit escalates, I remove said child to his bed (that rarely has to happen!)

- If you slam a door, you will be asked to come back and "Try that again... this time please walk normally and close the door properly." And I will make them come back as many times as is needed.

- Try to be respectful of the fact that he is struggling with his emotions, model good, mature behavior with YOUR emotions (ie, no fits and no lashing out in anger, and if you do, you better apologize afterward!), and try to love him THROUGH the fit. "I can see you are really upset right now. I understand that X really bothered you. Your reaction is not okay, though. Please go to your room until you can calm down and we can talk about it."

Most of all, don't wait to address bad behavior until he is about to push you over the edge! Six is one of the prime times to be developing good habits, and it's your job as a mom to help him develop those habits. Of course, you can't give what you don't have. So YOU start praying about your own temper, seeking confession OFTEN, and responding appropriately when you are frustrated. Then you will know how to help him.

Trust me, you can do it. I used to lash out in anger a LOT with my kids, especially my oldest, a boy, and one day I scared myself so bad that I asked God to please take away my anger. I still get VERY angry and they still are VERY annoying sometimes, but I rarely lash out anymore. I really had to beg God to give me the virtue of patience and be committed to working on it every.single.day.
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  #6  
Old Apr 23, '12, 10:41 am
JLCecilia JLCecilia is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

Thank you kristacecilia! I can't remember which psychologist it was, Dr. Ray or the Pocaks who said it's best to post scripts for certain situations so you're never at a loss for what to say or do. Thank you for the reminder. Now, to put it to practice. I lived with a lady for awhile who'd tell her son, 'Are you going to make me sail a Hail Mary?' I guess that's a good diffuser, better than counting to 10, at least you're talking to someone when you pray!
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  #7  
Old Apr 23, '12, 10:58 am
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kristacecilia kristacecilia is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

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Originally Posted by JLCecilia View Post
Thank you kristacecilia! I can't remember which psychologist it was, Dr. Ray or the Pocaks who said it's best to post scripts for certain situations so you're never at a loss for what to say or do. Thank you for the reminder. Now, to put it to practice. I lived with a lady for awhile who'd tell her son, 'Are you going to make me sail a Hail Mary?' I guess that's a good diffuser, better than counting to 10, at least you're talking to someone when you pray!

Any time!

I completely agree about having things ready so when you are about to snap you have something to say or something to give them to do. Our big ones for a BROAD variety of behavior are:

"Try again, please"
"Please go to your room until you are calm."
and "Please go outside!"

A lot of annoying boy behavior (at least in this house) seems to be caused by boredom or an attempt to get attention from me. I really try to have routines in the day to give attention and then if they are still acting up, I send them outside or address the specific behavior. Boredom is always busted with chores here, unless they can find something to do. My sons are currently cleaning up a mess they made in the basement because it's raining and they were bored and getting out of hand.

Right now I have an 8 year old who likes to hit when he doesn't like the way things are going and a 6 year old who sounds a lot like your son- he just likes to bug his younger sisters until they cry. I sat down with the 6 year old and approached it like this:

"I have noticed you are really struggling with being kind, especially to your little sisters. Do you agree with me?" (let him talk)

"What do you think your life will be like if you are unkind to people? What do you think your life will be like if you are kind to people? What does Jesus say about being kind to people?" (short discussion, mostly getting input on the reasons why THEY think developing the habit of kindness would benefit them. I may point out that if they are unkind to their sisters or to each other they won't be able to have much fun because they will be mad, their sisters will be unkind to them, etc).

"Well I am going to help you develop the habit of kindness so that you can have (the benefits he listed). How can I help you?" (my kids come up with crazy ideas like "give me this signal where you cross three fingers and stick it behind your head and then jump on one foot if you see me being unkind". I don't always stick to their suggestions, but I might point out that I can't always do that... like if I am washing dishes. Is there a phrase I could use like, "Remember, kindness!" or something?")

"Okay, so tomorrow morning when I see you I am going to ask you what good habit you are working on and you are going to say what? (kindness!) And if I see you being unkind to your sisters, like when you bug them or take things away, I am going to say, "Remember to be kind!" Right?"

If we seem to not be progressing at all after a week or two we will sit down and revisit the reasons why HE wanted to develop the habit of kindness and how it will benefit him, the signs we agreed on to remind him to be kind, specific things that have happened where he was unkind and other ways he could have handled it, etc.

This way HE is working on developing the virtue and *I* am there as a support, not a lecturer/warden. Progress is soooooooooooooo painfully slow, but eventually they can develop good habits. They SHOULD develop good habits.
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  #8  
Old Apr 23, '12, 11:05 am
JLCecilia JLCecilia is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

Beautifully put! Yes, the only things I've been able to muster are, "I don't like to be around you when you're like that," or, "nobody will want to play with you like that." But I don't follow up with any plan of action. Need to take more time to draw him up in my lap and get him talking.

Thank you kristacecilia!
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  #9  
Old Apr 23, '12, 11:06 am
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Iron Donkey Iron Donkey is offline
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Default Re: pushing my kids buttons

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Originally Posted by kristacecilia View Post
- If he is bored and acting out, offer a job. Boys need SO MUCH purposeful work. He can move a pile of logs. He could scrub a bathroom. He could empty the dishwasher. If he turns down the job you can either insist or tell him that if he continues whining or bothering people that you WILL find a job for him and it WILL be done to YOUR satisfaction.
All I can say is that my mom used this method on my 3 brothers and me, and it worked like a charm: "I'm bored" "Let me find something for you to do... Let's see, the bathroom is dirty, the laundry needs done, or I can get out the vacuum for you..." "I, uh, just remembered I have some really exciting grass to watch grow."

There is very little like the overhanging threat of having to scrub a toilet to curtail disruptive boredom. Which is interesting, because our normal way to avoid it was to go outside and dig big holes in our backyard (I'm still not sure why that's better than scrubbing a toilet, but we all thought, and still think really, that it was).

In any case, good luck to the OP.
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