Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Third Time's a Charm
Wild Child really annoyed me today. His Jekyll Hyde personality exploded in a public place, which didn't help matters. This, after he received great praise for his maturity and control.
Dominic came to work with me today because he had the day off of school. I work at the school he used to attend, so he visited his old classmates and spent the day with them. The teacher went out of her way to tell me how much he has grown up. How when he raised his hand to talk about things that were off subject, she told him that it wasn't the appropriate time and he said okay! He had a great day.
On the way home we stopped at CVS to pick up Daniel's prescriptions. Nora was with us too. They always ask if they can look at the toys in the toy aisle while I'm waiting to pay for the prescriptions. Fine. Well of course it is taking longer than usual because the person behind the counter can't find the stinking box of pen needles. As I'm waiting, I hear a screech coming from the toy aisle. I quickly excuse myself and go to find Dominic, red faced, complaining about his sister. I grab his hand and run back to the counter. All the while he is fighting me, trying to get back to the toys. I give him my sternest mom look and ask him to stay with me. He screeches in reply.
Nora comes to tell me that Dominic wanted to see all the things that were hanging on the pegs (there were different things behind the front toy), so he was taking them off and putting them on the floor. A CVS employee told her that he wasn't allowed to do that. So she picked them up and put them back. Then Dominic attempted to lift up the front toy to see what was behind it, and Nora thought that wasn't what he should be doing. Screech.
I told Dominic that we could go together to look at what was hanging on the pegs as soon as I got the prescriptions, if he would just calm down and listen. STAMP. SCREECH. Back up two paces. More stern looks on my part. More screeches on his. The prescriptions finally arrive and are paid for. I marched Dominic out of the store.
When we got home, Dominic went into time out. Time out has never been a great thing for him, because he'll slam the door and tear his room apart rather than take the time to calm down.
The things that worked on my other two kids just don't work on this one.
Anyway, he went into time out with a major warning. If I heard one stamp, one slam, one screech, or if his room got messed up, I would call his karate teacher and take him out of class.
Here's the deal. I'm soooo tired of doing the "catch him being good" thing. It just doesn't make a difference to him, or at least, it doesn't at home. We had a talk just this morning about tantrums, and how inappropriate they are for a 7 year old. I said to him, "do you ever get mad at school? Do you have screaming fits there?"
"I do get mad at school. But I don't want to get in trouble. So I calm down and deal with it."
AGH! After I calmed down (I had to clean 2 rooms to do it) I went to Dominic, who was, by then, quite calm and happy. I told him that I have had it. I'm done with tantrums. If he can control himself at school, then he can control himself for the person who loves him most in this world. And if he has a tantrum again, he's going to lose something precious to him. Like his DS. Or his guitar. Or his favorite car book. Whatever. I'm just not putting up with it anymore.
So he says to me, "then I can just use some of the money I have to buy more things!"
Okay. Good point. I said, "That's true. But here's the deal. The first thing you will lose is your money. I'm sure there are lots of underprivileged kids who could really use it. After that's gone, and your piggy bank is empty, then we'll start working on your stuff."
Of course he got very sad. And I explained how sad I was every time he screamed loud enough to break my eardrums. But I reminded him... he doesn't have to lose anything. All he has to do is control that temper. I reminded him of the many techniques I have told him about to try to get him to calm down, the major two being taking deep breaths and talking about the situation.
We'll see what happens. Maybe Super Nanny will appear at my door and tell me that I'm doing everything wrong and that I need a chart on the wall with gold stars for good behavior... but I'd probably just kick her out into the street if she did. She just doesn't know Dominic.