I just wanted to let you know of a really rewarding experience I had with B this morning.
After a super hectic holiday and quite an extended period of disrupted routine, I was noticing a lot of “behaviors”. He was more easily frustrated, more quick to resort to tears and shouting “no”, hitting, and throwing. His attention span was greatly diminished. And he was playing on his own A LOT less (he generally plays calmly about 50% of our day). Yesterday, I was feeling pretty low about the whole situation myself which, of course, just seemed to make matters worse.
This morning, I stopped negotiating. I stopped trying to make it easier for him. I stopped trying to compromise, to please him. I refused to play trucks when he wanted me to, offering cuddles, stories, block or play dough instead. I refused to get out another activity when he immediately gave up on the first one he had requested.
And, guess what? He cried a lot. He pulled my arms and insisted. He threw something. I took it away (that’s the rule). He flailed his arms at me. I said, “You may not hurt me. I will not let you hit.” And he went for his blanket and his binky and self soothed for about 5 minutes. Then he latched on to something else and we went through the same routine.
I stuck with my answers. I re-emphasized the expectations and the boundaries of what was acceptable. Rather than catering to him in an effort to make things easier on us both – which I had been doing out of exhaustion and frustration since the holidays – I stated the rule and I stuck by it. And I didn’t go along with what he wanted to do when I knew I would be miserable and resentful.
And that was it. He was back to his calm, cheerful, focused self – the little guy I had been missing since the hectic holidays. Woo Hoo for routine! We had a fabulous day together, going through the familiar daily rituals. And the suppertime breakdowns in the evening were even far improved over the past couple of days. I feel like he really just needed the parameters drawn again and that’s why he had been “acting up”. It just took me a while to catch on!
Thanks so much to S. for sharing her success story! I hope this supports the noble mother community as we strive to figure out the best way to respond to our children when they are challenged by their own daily inner work. I would recommend reading this article about tears and crying by Aletha Solter to continue your understanding about the necessity of allowing children the space to work out their own stress, anxiety, and traumas through crying. I welcome your success stories as well as your parenting challenges, mamas!!