Showdown at the shampoo corale

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, you know... small things get so blown out of proportion with difficult children, don't they? No major incidents this evening after I picked J up from school - he excited because tomorrow we are going to collect our new dog - until bath-time. He washed himself and I said he could have a gold star (he gets gold stars all the time to motivate and reward... the chart goes on for months and he is quite happy with just getting the stars). Then, as the bath water was draining, he was sitting looking at the water saying he was looking for "the yellow"... uh, oh, I thought, he's peed in the bath. But, no, turns out it was his bottle of shampoo which he had almost emptied into the bath. I was cross - and said, out of my annoyance, that he was not getting the gold star (even though this was a mistake as once he gets a star it shouldn't be retracted). I talked to him, crossly, about how it was a naughty thing to do and shampoo costs money. He then started on this great performance of crying and shouting, saying he wanted to live with daddy... I said that if daddy was here, he would also be cross. He then started crying piteously saying he had "a naughty mummy and daddy" and wanted "a nice mummy and daddy". I just waited for him to calm down then asked him if he knew it was naughty? Yes, he did. I felt there should be some sort of consequence but what? He doesn't get any pocket money. And consequences in any case always cause this great fuss and furore, as if he is being severely abused...
    Really, what is the point of all this? I want him to understand that shampoo costs money, that it is for your head not to be used as bubble bath and he must not do it again. That is my desired outcome... We talked about it, he said sorry. We did a role-play where he was the mummy and I was him putting shampoo in the bath; he got cross with me and seemed to understand something. Seemed but it's hard to say.
    Such drama and emotion all the time... and that's just me :) As usual, with these kind of scenes, I am left feeling battle weary and vaguely ill at ease.
    Well, what would YOU have done...?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    All kinds of soaps and shampoos are routinely "dumped accidentally" at our house. The solution is to get a refillable, travel-sized container (they actually make these for shampoos and body-washes) and just keep them filled with a little shampoo at a time. That way, even if he dumps a 'whole bottle' - you only lose about an ounce of shampoo. Less stress for you. One less thing to fight about...

    Hope this helps!
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I like what you did with the role-play, and I like the travel-size idea.

    The way we handled it was by getting 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner & body wash... And the bottle must last at least one month. We write it on the calendar. If it doesn't? Jett (or Onyxx, back when) got to use whatever was available (Jett's for Onyxx, more recently it's been her leftover perfumey stuff)... They don't like that.
  4. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I like the travel size idea too. I think it's hard for young kids to "grasp" the idea that items cost money - even if they go to the store with you. I don't think their developing brains quite get it. Giving just a little bit in a bottle sounds good.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, I understand they don't "get" about money yet... What my irritation was about, and I should have pointed this out, was that we have had this happen before with a big bottle of my shampoo. So I guess I was fondly hoping after the last time that he knew not to touch it and empty it all out in the bath... a lot of things he does know not to do he doesn't do (after the usual cafuffle to get there, if you know what I mean).
    And the point of my posting was... I think... more the intense drama and performance at being scolded. What is all this about? It's so exhausting.
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I think you did a good job with this. Yes, he got upset, but it was a knock down, drag out, hours long screaming fit. He calmed down and was able to do the role playing with you. We all get cross and say things in ways that we should not, but that's part of life. You found a way to not let it escalate any further than it did, and the night sounded like it ended on a decent note.

    I like the idea of the travel size bottles. We've done that, too. I don't think that difficult child and easy child are using it for bubble bath, but you would think that they have hair as long as Rapunzel with all the shampoo they go through! So, we've started using the travel sized bottles so that there isn't a whole bottle for them to use.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm certain I was still doing that stuff at 9 or 10!

    Perhaps it goes something like this?
    He wants a "bubble-bath".
    You won't let him - or at least, not nearly so often as HE wants...
    So, he finds a way to get it anyway.
    And he figures the cost of a blow-up is "worth it" because he got to enjoy it first.

    In this case... prevention is probably the only option.

    FWIW... I don't even dare put out an oversize bottle for ME. Too much of a klutz, will guarantee that before I've used 10%, it gets spilled... either in the tub (at least manageable), or all over the bathmats (every try to clean THAT up?)...
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I like the travel size idea, too. If you're not too squeamish, you might also want to tell him that sitting in a bath with shampoo in it can cause a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) (or at least irritation that feels like it).
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, you're right, Bunny, I should be grateful for mercies... J doesn't actually have fits that go on for a long time but his short bursts are very intense and voluble... And, yes, the evening did end very positively with him actually wanting to put his mattress in his bedroom, entirely on his own initiative. To explain... some time ago J was getting out of bed in the middle of the night and coming into mine. To stop his and my sleep being interrupted, I hit on the solution of bringing his mattress into my room. Worked like a charm - he has been sleeping all night long without waking up and has also stopped wetting the bed at night, which I'm really pleased about. We have long said that when he gets a dog, he and the dog will sleep in his room, and he will stay all night in his room... part of the master plan to get him to sleep independence. We are getting the dog tomorrow and so... he wanted to bring things forward, I guess.
    I laughed about the Rapunzel. That would go down well in this house - we love that story! Shampoo is obviously intriguing to kids, but I just expected him not to do it because he knows it is not "allowed".... unreasonable?
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For an average 4yo, it would probably be next to impossible, so...
    For a 4yo with executive functions challenges... definitely a stretch too far.

    But that's just my opinion. (like usual!)
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Okay, IC, taking advantage of your opinion :))), why does J get so very angry and dramatic when he is scolded, do you think?
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well... I'd make a more educated guess if I spend a couple of MONTHS with him, but... while I would enjoy the break from here, its just not going to fly.

    It could be any of these - or multiple (likely) - or something else entirely, of course...

    1) He is highly sensitive. This kids of people tend to be skewed a bit... more sensitive to the negative than to the positive. Imagine if he were looking at problems through a microscope, and thinking they really were as big as they appear. He's had enough losses in his life already, that it adds to his already sensitive nature.

    2) Culture... He sees himself as a child, and you as a parent... but not necessarily in a hierarchy... You are not "above" him, but rather, working together. Therefore, being "put in his place" = "put down" = war.

    3) Some small thing from the past... I've heard of kids who had certain thoughts and/or experiences going on (normal stuff) at the point where they lost a parent (death or divorce)... and any occurence of those experiences triggers fear of losing the other parent. If being scolded for things was a pattern going on when you and his dad split up... he may be overreacting because of history.

    4) Executive functions... When you ask "normal" things and he reacts "normally", it feels good for him. But when his brain "skips" (remember those old records?), he reacts in ways that he would not, if he were "on track". And then he is afraid of what his own mind is doing to him. which makes the whole thing even more scary... and he spirals. He is perceptive enough to know it shouldn't go this way, but not mature enough to do anything about it.

    Maybe somebody else has more ideas?
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, I'd say those are pretty good guesses, IC. I think 1 and 2 seem particularly valid - he is very sensitive and I think he probably does take being scolded as an attack rather than as a natural event in a top-down hierarchy... He accepts my authority a bit more than he used to, though; this is good not because I want authority (I actually don't particularly :)) but because accepting that makes a child feel more attached and secure. And perhaps 4 does come into play too. 3 I don't think so because he was only 18 months when we separated and no-one ever scolded him for anything at that age. On the other hand, he did see a couple of scenes of my ex-husband being verbally abusive and totally out of control with me. Moroccan males are often very volatile and highly emotional - the ones that don't say the prayers and who drink and smoke hash, particularly (my ex-husband has now become the praying, non-drinking and non-smoking kind...) So one might say it is perhaps in J's genes also?
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My suggestion: Whatever shampoo is on sale for a I'm serious too.

    Ok, well, Sonic always got so sensitive to criticism (even when it wasn't criticism or scolding...if you get my meaning) that he would cry, slam his bedroom door and we could hear him talking to himself between sobs "I am so stupid" "Why do I do such stupid things" "I'm an idiot" etc. I really believe that our differently wired kids are less resilient to scolding and I have learned not to scold. Yes, he is eighteen and will still do this so we don't scold. We talk. "Hey,pal, that cost a lot of money, so can you please try to use just a little?" I figure it will work as well as "You can't do that" and it won't cause him to go into a long, rambling monologue about how stupid he is, which disturbs me. This is NOT necessarily a negative. I get along famously with Sonic, PastryChef and Jumper, especially the girls, even though they were not born to me. They did pick up many of our values, however they are their own unique people who do not share our DNA.

    Another thing you can do to avoid The Big Shampoo Battle is to put a little bit of shampoo into the cap and put the rest of the bottom up high. That way, if he throws it into the tub, it's not wasting much. Heh, you are lucky that he will let you wash his hair at all. Sonic had sensitivites to baths and shampoos,w hich still exist. At J's age, we shaved Sonic's head, w hich he liked very much: "I look like Michael Jordan!" who was a big shot basketball player in the United States.

    I STRONGLY believe, after all our adopting, that our adopted kids are more like their birthparents than us and that they can adapt to our environment, but that DNA pretty much trumps all. If you were in an adoptive parent group, I believe you'd hear this a lot from other parents. Somebody in his genepool was probably a lot like he is.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you need to take another look at the "shampoo showdown"...

    Why was this such a hot-button issue for you? In the grand scheme of things, is this really an issue you are willing to battle to this level? Is the waste of shampoo really worth the amount of stress that you put yourself (and your son) through?

    Speaking as a Mom who has been there (Oh you would not BELIEVE the amount of things that have been dumped, destroyed and wasted for no reason around here!) - I think you need to realize that you are going to drive yourself to exhaustion over these relatively small issues....and you need to pace yourself for the long haul.

    That's why I suggested the travel-sized bottles. J can still learn not to waste....but if he dumps the shampoo anyway - the smaller bottle will be less emotionally-charged for you....and you will be able to handle the whole thing with less stress and more calm.

    Save your energy for the really important stuff. Just my suggestion...

    (((hugs))) for you and J.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Daisy Face
    It wasn't such an important issue for me :) It was a banal one. But Jacob reacted very strongly to my getting (slightly) cross about it, as anyone would, and that caused my question... the intensity of his response.
    In the grand scheme of things, a few bottles of wasted shampoo are not going to feature very highly on the eternal list...