Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ignoring . . .

I refuse to engage my children in their battles. I will not get sucked into your bouts for attention. Here are some examples. . .

Last night Harrison and I had to go visit our pediatrician for a medication review. He was pleased with the progress we have seen due to the SDHD medication we put him on a month ago. In fact, he was thrilled that such a low dose was being effective and thrilled that our first shot at a med worked. I was as well. I know, better than most doctors, that medication is a tricky thing in all my experiences with Dustin.

I had some libraries materials we had to return and wanted to have Angie order some books for us so we visited Lakeside Learning Garden. Yes, I could order the books myself, but I hate to pay online and decided that I would support a locally owned, small business instead of visiting Border's or Barnes and Noble. So, we went into Angie's store and Harrison began playing with the Lego's. I got him out of the store with merely a grumble and headed over the library. He began to whine that he wanted to play on the computer. I said "Harrison, honey, I am only dropping these off and we have 3 computers at home for you to play on." "But, mommy, I want to visit" "Harrison, our computers go to the same place." The hopping and the grumbling began. I steered him out of the library, across the parking lot, back over the Angie's parking lot with silence. Problem is, my silence was met with lots of grumbling, "pleeeeease!", and "why nots". Just then Angie and her kids were leaving and he took the opportunity to throw a major hissy fit. This time he began hollering that "I don't like you" and he actually tried to run from me. I snatched his coat hood and steered him back into the van door without a word. I smiled to Angie and she gave me that mother knowing look.

I think years ago I would've tried explaining, and cajolling and saying things like, "Oh, Harrison, that hurts my heart, I know you love me you're just angry right now." Not now. I know he is mad, why inflame the situation or give any kind of attention when he is throwing his fit? Later I did address it when it was time for bed. I asked him if that's how 5 year olds should act, and asked him if he loved me and told him it's okay to say, "I'm angry at you", but we shouldn't say hateful things just because we are mad. I got a far better response then than I would have if I had tried that conversation when he was fired up. Anyone watch the Dog Whisperer? It's like Caesar says, don't give love and attention when they are in an excited state. It does nothing but reinforces the negative behavior. I'll say it, disciplining kids IS like appropriately training dogs.

Another example. When Dustin is sent to his room he likes to slam the door, bang on the walls and throw things down the stairs. I used to get all angry about this. I would address it right then and it always made the situation worse. I would always start with "How old are you?" and end with "No more!" Even if I was calm, it did nothing but made the situation worse. Now, I ignore. Let him cool down and THEN deal with it. When his time out is over and I call him down it usually goes something like this:

Me: Dustin!
Him: Can I come down now?
Me: Yep, but you have to clean up your mess.
Him: I can't clean all that up.
Me: Who threw it down the steps?
Him: Me.
Me: How old are you?
Him: 12
Me: Well, maybe a 12 year old will learn that if he doesn't like picking it up he shouldn't throw it down in the first place.
Him: Will you help?
Me: Nope, I didn't throw it down.
Him: Man, this sucks.
Me: Yep, maybe you'll think about this next time. You're doing a good job though.
Him: Thanks, can I have a snack.

Can I have a snack? He is ALWAYS hungry. It drives me NUTS! This is something else I ignore. I used to say, "You just ate. You can't possibly be hungry" and "Dustin, you need to wait 30 minutes." etc, etc, etc. But now I just lower my head, put on a really irritated look, and give him the "eye". He sighs, and says, "Sorry, I just ate."

So my motto is . . . Ignore! Don't engage! I have learned that the harping I used to do did nothing but irritate me! I try my best to deal with it later so they can learn from it in an appropriate setting that will make a difference.

I can also ignore loud noises really well. I can tune out just about anything. The only problem is I tend to ignore my husband as well . . . LOL. I always tell him it is a occupational hazard!


Angie said...

This MUST be going around! You should've seen the fit C. pitched at the Post Office right after we saw you and the one that morning and the one the evening before!!! Argh! I wish it was warm enough to "encourage" him to go out in the backyard. I agree with your approach and I love the pic. I might have to steal it for my site.

Patty said...

I call this refusing to be dragged into another one's drama.

I HAVE to ask... Have you ACTUALLY said the words, "that hurts my heart?" I just didn't see you as the "new-age parent" type. Not that my kids might not have benefitted from me being more gentle on their souls... Maybe it isn't too late to try the line out on them?

Sheri said...

Yes Patty! LOL

I think that comes from years in the child care field. I also say,

"you're making me sad."
"oh no! you are not being kind to my friends"
"we do not bite our friends"
"please do not put your hands there"
"did that come out of your nose"
"do not put that booger in your mouth"
"do not lick me"
"do not lick your friends"
"do not lick the door"

It's a joyous profession!

Patty said...

If we change booger to cat poop I say the last five to my dogs all the time so I guess I can see where you are coming from.

The memories I have of my 16 years of doing childcare are more along the lines of "I'm setting the timer" and giving the look that said, "Go to time-out." No words needed for that one.