Understanding the pressure points

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am just thinking this evening that one of the things I have perhaps been misunderstanding about J is the notion I have that difficulties are expressed often or consistently and so when they are not that is "confusing" or bizarre... In fact, I think J is not puzzling. He is basically a nice-natured kid, as many people have remarked on. But what happens is that in the moment of intense frustration or anger, he is moved by an impulse of anxiety/desire to control and becomes very hostile and rude and unmanageable. Then the moment goes and he is back to being his usual sweet self...
    Tonight was not a very good evening... Those children staying in the village! Thankfully they are leaving on Tuesday. They go to bed late and always ask if J is going out to play after supper - which of course upsets him when I say no... Anyway, tears and protest tonight when it was time to go in for supper and bed at 8 - he ran away to lower down in the village, sat down crying and shouting, refusing to come. What do you do? After various failed attempts, I ended up picking him up and carrying him... not easy up inclines of dizzyingly steep gradients... Then he was too heavy for me and sat down refusing to move again. I got cross again, tapped him on the side of the head (no comment), which of course made him really cry - but did also make him come... Then he refused to get undressed once inside and I got cross again... He ended up sobbing saying he wanted to talk to Daddy (which he did and they had a nice conversation)...
    Really I am chasing red herrings seeing the difficulties as part of J's character. He isn't choosing to be Damned Difficult. Still doesn't stop me getting cross...
     
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Malika, I think I start off every post to you with the words.."he's 4" LOL.

    Again...I think that was perfectly normal and you reacted pretty normal. Now maybe I would have given the slap to another part of the anatomy but yeah...get your hiney up to the house J without all the fussing...or with it...I dont much care! A few swats on his butt arent going to scar his psyche for life. He is just pushing you to see where you will draw your lines and if he can make you back down. All kids do it. Its his job to do it and your job to stay firm. You have to be up for this because it doesnt end for the next ...oh lets see he is 4 now? at least 16 to 18 years! LOL.
     
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks Janet. The trouble with hitting is... the way it makes me feel afterwards. Not good. For my own sake, I do better to avoid it... But I think J really needs to accept me as the authority (not a fascist one, bien sur), for his sake as much as mine. Life becomes very difficult for children who cannot do this... At the same time, like I said, I don't think he can really help his explosions.
    I refuse to think about the next 14 years!! Sufficient unto the day... :)
     
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika -

    Some of the pressure points... well, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.
    Having a S/O is a HUGE help (provided, of course, that its the right kind of S/O)..
    Other people may have supportive family close by.

    I don't know how many times one of us has turned to the other with a look that says "I can't take this any more" - and the other steps in and takes over.

    Those who don't have that "break" capacity? My heart goes out to you. I don't have the answers - mine won't work for you. But... others have walked in your shoes!

    Part of the challenge is your own pressure points. How do you get a break from J, in healthy ways, that enable you to recharge your batteries? Because, one of J's pressure points will be feeding off of your pressure points. This, in fact, is "normal" kid behavior.
     
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    I was thinking that "he's only 4" as well, but you can start teaching natural consequences NOW. I mean by specifically discussing the fact that if he puts up a fuss, he's not happy, you're not happy, and he misses out on doing something "happy", even though it wasn't what he had planned on or hoped for. This evening's example would work well. If he didnt' put up a fuss, he still wouldn't have gotten to play with the village kids, but he WOULD have had a pleasant evening at home with you doing - whatever. Instead, he put up a fuss and you BOTH got upset.

    I think this is one of the things "normal" kids naturally pick up on, and therefore don't go into blown out tantrums even though disappointed. "Our" kids need to be taught this. Not saying he's going to pick up on it right away, or even this year, but it's never to early to start. I'm still working on this with my 8 y/o. Fortunately her tantrums are very infrequent.
     
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Not a bad idea Keista. Say something along the lines of...well, Im going home J. I had hoped to have a scoop of berries with whipped cream or maybe a cookie but sense you have caused such a ruckus I dont think I am in the mood anymore. Such is life. Oh well. And then dont have them. Or maybe let him hear you talking about eating a cookie after he went to bed because you were so stressed out from his tantrum...lol. Make him think about it.
     
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    You know, he is so much like my youngest difficult child. It helps me -sometimes, lol, to remember that he has some damage caused by fetal alcohol. I try to lower my expectations about what he is capable of and have some understanding that there is much he isn't totally in control of. Of course we work towards that control. A lot of times he is sweet but there are times that his capacity for emotional regulation is just impaired. But is it is coming over time. The thing you really want to think about is really focusing on the positive cause all these kids hear is negative all day long. Of course, trying to be positive is really hard...

    I think you just have to get used to deal with lack of emotional control. Personally, I wouldn't "tease" him iwth the thought of you eating a cookie or whatever--it is likely to only escalate the lack of emotional control. you want to model calm, easier said than done as these kids push any and all of our buttons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    To avoid tantrums, I find it really helpful to stick to a bedtime routine. That bedtime routine has to start at least 1 hour before going to bed. Ours is pretty easy: clean the house (toys get picked up by the kids, dirty clothes in laundry by the kids as well, and I do the rest), bath time, supper time and then we chill (my oldest watches a few cartoons and V plays quietly or snuggle with me). If the bedtime routine is disturbed, watch out!! And it can be a very tiny change, or too much conversation/stimulation. When we all chill, I also make sure to turn most lights off.
    What also works and making sure V understand what is happening and why. The tyopical "because I said so" just does not work. I make sure to have his attention, explain and ask him to rephrase for me. This way I know if he processed the information or not. That technique has helped us a lot. It is actually unbelievable how many tantrums we've avoided since we do that.
    The "problem" with all that: it is time consuming and it requires a lot of patience. Somedays, one wants quick and easy... and that does not work.
    As parents of difficult child, we simply don't have the luxury of quick and easy. That's where respite is so important.
    Don't blame yourself for the little tap, he will live through it.
     
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks Klltc. We have our bedtime routine in place - looser rather than rigid - and normally it works fine and normally we don't have tantrums at bedtime. But normally there are not children staying in the village who are up and outside late...
    What I was thinking this morning was that really it's no good using normal parenting techniques on J. Normally, in such a situation, the parent would react as I did and the child would basically accept the boundary. And because I am human and not some superhuman know-it-all, I obviously react sometimes as you would with your typical kid... The only thing about it is that it really doesn't work. Because there is always a fall out. This morning J was difficult and argumentative - and also upset and crying in the night - in the way that he has not been for some time. I know it is all because of my "oppositionality" last night... crazy I know. It shouldn't have to be this way. But J just does not respond well to authoritarian methods - even my ex-husband (who has limited psychological understanding about anything) said this. Interestingly, he said that he had found the only thing that worked with J was giving explanations and negotiating...
    I suppose J is lucky in the sense that he has been adopted by someone (luckier if he did not have to be adopted in the first place, but that is a world other than this one) who is willing to look at and understand him, and discover the best way to approach things rather than ploughing on with tried and trusted methods (that do not work)... but like anything else it is a process, and one falters along the way. Obviously. I really don't blame myself for screwing up last night but I would prefer it if we could find more constructive and wholesome ways of resolving problems. That may be too idealistic :)
     
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika -

    You ARE finding more constructive and wholesome ways of resolving problems. Its just that... first, it takes practice, and second, you're still human and human beings never do anything with 100% accuracy.

    Believe in yourself. You ARE being a good parent. J is so lucky to have someone who sees past the "behavior" and is working toward solutions.
     
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Based on your prior posts it sounds like J is a pretty smart cookie. Not all children respond well to this method but I always used the next day to briefly rehash the poor encounters...and, of course, there were quite a few. After time had passed and things were calm I would say "Why don't we talk about what happened before? Tell me how you felt when we were angry and I'll share how I felt then too. Maybe we can find a way to avoid those ugly moments since you and I both love each other and prefer to be happy."

    Usually this helped teach sharing emotions, choices on way to respond..and sometimes the chance to apologize which made everyone feel better. I think you're doing a great job, by the way. All of us have had our moments! DDD
     
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    What a good idea, DDD! I shall try this with J.
    Meanwhile a small dilemma. I discovered last night that J has broken a light in the village - one that goes on at night, lighting up the (historic 13th century!) church. The visiting children he plays with told me about it (happened when they were all playing up there) and when I asked J, he said yes, he did. He says he "didn't mean to" but that doesn't mean anything really - even if he "intended" to, he doesn't understand the seriousness or consequences of damaging property, which is part of his developmental delay, I would think.
    So... not good. I talked about it to him last night, said we have to tell the town hall about it (in these small villages, the town hall is the focal point for all administrative and other matters). I do want to tell them, feel that is the right thing to do - on the other hand, I am obviously loathe to have J put down again as the troublemaking Moroccan boy... It would probably be quite expensive to repair. I wondered whether I should offer to pay for it - but on the other hand, I didn't break it, J did, so should I pay the consequences for that? It can be looked at that he is my responsibility and I should do so, of course.
    What would you do?
     
  13. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Since you've talked with J about it, now it is hard to pretend you don't know about it... If you want to teach J about being responsible for your own actions, then you should have him go to the Town Hall and explain what happened. If you don't have the finances to cover the repairs, maybe just ask how J. can make it right.
    In those small villages everyone knows everything. It is only a matter of time. If you are proactive about the issue, he might be seen as a turbulent little boy with a mother who handles things right! To be familiar: he is a tough one, but she won't take no sh...! lol
    That's what I would do, and remind J that you are proud he is admitting his mistake and that mistakes happen.
     
  14. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    One thing I sadly realized when my youngest was's J's age was that I unfortunately needed to maintain a much higher level of supervision than other mothers of kids his age. He would always kick the ball the hardest, be inappropriate in some way at the playground, etc... It was exhausting but he couldn't help it. I felt like I always had to be there and be vigilant.

    I think you are on the right track to get him to apologize for his actions, praise him for that. I am sorry that ethnic bias is such an issue. But as one of hte other posters said, at least people should respect you for doing the right thing. And you will be teaching your son a lifelong lesson that we need to be responsible for actions, even if they are accidents.
     
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    If the children told you...they have told others. In a small community I would assume most people know about it. on the other hand I think it is really important to keep in mind that he is only four years old. Small children very rarely purposely take an action with a planned bad result. in my humble opinion he is not old enough to "pay for it". He is not even old enough to write a note of apology for goodness sake. He can do age appropriate penance at home....perhaps early bedtime for a couple of nights?

    Personally I don't trust "stranger" adults dealing with little children. What they may deem acceptable to say or do may very well not be acceptable. If there is a representative that accept payments, explanations, etc. then can't you go there alone? Word will still spread about J but he will be saved from a possibly misguided lecture or action from an unknown adult. DDD
     
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your comments. Something about DDD's post struck home to me. I will go to the mairie myself to explain (it's only open in school hours anyway :) ) and explain/apologise.
    I did also try your other suggestion, DDD. About talking about our feelings of what happened last night. Wasn't exactly a great success. I said "J, shall we talk about what happened last night and what we felt when we were both so angry?" And J said... "Chocolate!" Meaning that he wanted chocolate hazelnut spread... and that was as far as our conversation went.
    You can't win them all.
     
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sharing "chocolate" at the table while you talk is a great idea. DDD
     
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