Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I've mentioned that I've thought a lot about what sort of parent I want to be. And Aaron and I talk about out what our parenting strategies are. Which help a lot. But sometimes, a phase sneaks up on you and you get slammed. Maggie has always been willful, but this new phase of hitting and crying and massive tantrums.... it's just stressful. Add that Cam is also still able to throw a tantrum or two himself, there are days when I'm just done. I want to scream and say NO MORE CRYING.

And actually, I have done that. Perhaps not my best parenting moment, but I'm human.

I also recognize that there has to be a better way, right? There has to be some tool or something that I'm doing that I can change/implement to help this. Because the current situation is not great. In the morning, I basically pray that we can get out of the house without a meltdown - and then 50% of our evenings are filling with crying kids. It's too much.

So we've got plans. And unfortunately, I kind of had to steamroll Aaron on this - because his opinion is that the kids are old enough to understand what they should and shouldn't do, and just do it. He has this thing he does with Cam 'first time every time'. He tells Cam that he shouldn't have to tell him to do things over and over - that he should do it the first time he is asked. Which is great, but he's 3. I think that we may need a bit more than a rational talk to get things moving smoother.

  • First thing - is that I know we are doing the right thing with Maggie's tantrums. She can cry all she want, but she gets no attention while they are occurring.

  • I'm still going to insist on 'sorry' when a child does something to hurt the other. But it doesn't have to be just the words. A hug is just as good (and it totally worked last night! Maggie hit Cam on the head, he start to cry, Aaron told her to say sorry or give him a hug, and she hugged him and said sorry. No meltdown. Progress.)

  • We are starting a form of a chore chart. This will definitely help with Cam - but I also hope it will with Maggie.

  • I'm planning on tying the chart to 'prizes'. I know the kids will love it. Hoping it gives incentive to better behavior.

  • We are changing up Maggie's night time routine. She really likes these sesame street ABC books which are very short. It take me about 2 minutes to read one book. So I've been letting her pick a PILE of books to read each night. Which has turned into a thing. And pretty much every night, when I leave the room, she cries for want of another book or another song or another SOMETHING. I try to calm her down, but eventually leave, and she cries and cries. For a long time. After about 15 minutes, Aaron goes in and soothes her. Which always works. Last night, we started the same 2 book rule we have with Cam, and when she cried.... we let her. We have the video monitor, so we know she is fine - it's just like the crying chair. It was brutal. But once she realized Aaron wasn't coming in, she settled down and started playing with her toys.

  • Final thing? Calms Forte for Kids. My friends at Nini Bambini swear by it. Figured I would give it a whirl.

I'll report back and let you know if my plans actually work.


HereWeGoAJen said...

Your plan sounds great! I bet it will really help!

Serenity said...

Oh, I'm glad the choice part worked for Maggie. I was really surprised when it worked with O, too, but it did.

The crying stuff, too - O isn't that dramatic, but my best friend's daughter has a flair for it like Maggie does. I've watched them ask her, in the middle of a complete melty fit: "Do you need to go to your room to calm down, or do you want to keep playing?"

And it's worked. One time she chose to go to her room. The next time, she figured out how to calm herself down.

Now, granted, she's going to be 4 in June, and this was a month or so ago. But it's worth a try, right?

Incentives are good. Very good. They work with O. Just make sure you have a mix of right NOW! incentives (for O, stickers work really well) and a more long term prize they have to earn. O's is a trip to Monkey Joe's with a friend - a place I hate but he loves.

Good luck and keep us posted!