Monday 25 February 2013

Cutting Back on Whining

Both of my boys were slow to talk.  Alex didn't become reliably verbal until almost three and a half.  Nathan benefited from our advanced techniques and was speaking reliably at eighteen months.  (For those without kids, most children are talking at a year.)

I'm going through a moment which most parents go through: Why did I ever encourage them to talk?

It's rhetorical, of course.  But Nathan in particular has been really difficult to deal with because of his whining and screaming.  As soon as he feels upset or threatened, he starts to scream at the top of his lungs.  And then whines about how <blank> hurt his feelings.

It's been really frustrating to me because I want to teach him to respect and honour his feelings (and the feelings of those around him) rather than just repressing them into a sour lump in his gut.  But at the same time: this is not an appropriate way to share his feelings with the world!

I've been trying to give him warnings but if he persists, he loses some privileges.  Since this usually happens when he's using the computer, it means he usually loses the computer.  These are the times when I regret encouraging the computer over the TV.  He was much better about sharing the TV.

We had a short talk today about respecting other people.  I told him that it wasn't respectful to yell and scream, even if his feelings were hurt.  I'm hoping I kept everything on his comprehension level.  I know I'll have to keep repeating it.

It's difficult to deal with.  I have very sensitive ears and find it very hard to tune out what's going on around me.  So the ignore-it-until-he-gives-up technique doesn't work well.  I end up grinding my teeth and inevitably having to react. 

I hate seeing him upset.  I really hate knowing that I've genuinely hurt his feelings.  Moms shouldn't hurt their kid's feelings.  (They do, but they shouldn't.)

I know it's a matter of waiting until his empathy grows in so that he can genuinely appreciate the effect on other people.  Until then, he'll need to be reminded (which will hopefully prompt his empathic development).

Until then, extra hugs and kisses when I catch him being good.

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