Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preemptive Strike - Preschooler Style

Last week, I posted about honesty, and about how I too often let my struggles go on silently.

So here I am, being honest again.

I am at a loss with Sophie's newest behavior problem.

For about the last week (maybe a little longer), Sophie's little tantrums (feet-stomping, arm-flailing, garden-variety four-year-old obnoxiousness) have taken an unexpected turn.  Sophie is now into preemptive punishment -- sending herself to time-out, barring herself from things she enjoys, taking away toys from herself... She's punishing herself before either Greg or I can step in.

I have no idea why she is doing this, what she aims to gain out of it, or how to help her correct it.

Sometimes, like when the kids are snuggling sweetly with me, or when Sophie shares with Joel instead of tackling him to the ground, or when Greg is chasing them and they are both shrieking with joy, I think, "Yes. This is awesome. I was made to do this. I love this."

Then there are times like today, when Sophie asked for gummies, and then AS I WAS OPENING THE PACKAGE, she said, "No. Fine! No gummies for me!"

My main thought: What the hell am I supposed to do with this kid?

Being honest about my struggles means admitting that sometimes I feel like I'm really not cut out for this parenting thing.  I mean, I know we'll all live through it, it just sometimes feels like I'm doing it ALL WRONG.  We talk to her. We work with her to find ways to calm down. Today we talked about how it's not okay to just stomp off and slam your door, but it is TOTALLY okay to say, "I want to be alone right now," and go to your room.  And then later, she freaked out, stomped off, and slammed her door.

My solution today was a little "please calm down" pep-talk and a nap.  I know she needed it; she didn't even fight me when I told her to lie down, and she fell asleep within minutes.

I know it's temporary, kids go through Things, whatever.  It's just scary and hard when it's your kid that you love more than your own life, that you're responsible for.

I guess I just hope this is a Thing she's going through, and I hope I'm not the cause of the Thing.

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