Tuesday 12 January 2016

More Morning Tantrums

Some days it just hits you out of nowhere.  Nathan woke up on the wrong side of the bed, grumpy and irritable from the moment his feet hit the floor.  He complained about everything.

As we were getting ready for school, I realized he hadn't fed the cat (one of his usual morning chores).  I decided not to push it and got the cat food without asking him.  This prompted a fifteen minute throwing-things and hitting-things tantrum because he wasn't going to get his chore star.  We ended up being late to school which deeply upset Nathan even further.

Playing it back in my head, I don't think I could do anything differently.  Once he started throwing stuff around (he tossed his allowance in the garbage, threw his glasses across the room, hurled the cat food into the bathroom and that was just the first few minutes), the option of letting him calm down on his own went out the window.  I needed to regain control, which meant confronting him and preventing him from further acting out (this is where the Nathan hitting me came in), even though it meant escalating the tantrum.

With the morning crashing and burning, I decided he would not be going to Cubs that night.  The regular meeting ends up pushing bedtime back as much as an hour depending on where the meeting is.

After school, when I told him that he wasn't going to Cubs, he begged and pleaded to be allowed to go.  He was promising that he wouldn't lose his temper again.  I wanted to believe him but experience has taught me that this promise is one he can't keep.  No matter how good his intentions, the tantrum will inevitably fly.

I don't like having to tell Nathan that I can't believe him, that I know he can't do something.  But at the same time, that's part of my job: recognizing his limitations even when he can't.

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