So with all the changes and all the stress my parenting skills have been sadly lacking. I’ll admit I’ve let my son basically do whatever, as long as it wasn’t going to get him hurt. And with the extra stress and craziness from work, once I get home my patience is zilch, which is great when you have a 5 year old. Oh, and to top it off, I have quite the reactive personality. So I tend to have a short fuse and go 0 to 60 in a snap, another great quality as a mom.
My poor kid hasn’t had the easiest go either these last couple months. Starting early February his normal daycare person took time off for family reasons, and he had to go to the back-up sitter. Back up #1 couldn’t watch all the time so he started at back up #2. Original daycare person then had another life change, and is now moving to Oklahoma, and by association so is my son’s best friend. Backups 1&2 are 20 miles away so I talked friends and came up with new in town sitter. So in less than 3 months my son has had 4 sitters plus a week with my sister.
Like many kids, especially at this age, my son loves to get reactions. And as much as I hate to do it, I give him a show every time he tries. I don’t even make him work that hard. But, in fairness, how annoying is “can I please have a cup of water, can I please have a cup of water, can I please have a cup of water, can I please have a cup of water”. It’s been 30 seconds, ask once!!! Or the always classic response to get from a misbehaving kid, “no”. WTF! Do not tell me no!
Hindsights 20/20, well, given I’m judging myself maybe more like 20/50, a bit skewed. So after finding out yesterday that the bad behavior at daycare has become too much to handle, my kid has basically been put on probation and has a 1 week trial to see if he can stay. Now in fairness to my son, his daycare lady is actually a friend of a friend who is not a childcare provider, but a stay at home mom with a teething baby. Her patience are dwindling as well. My little town of Warden does not have one single licensed daycare provider; they don’t even have a preschool. Apparently the migrant head start is enough to cover the highest needs of the town. Well I’m not a migrant worker, so I’m out. All my backups are 20 miles away which makes it an additional 40 miles round trip morning and afternoon, plus they’re not in the school district and he starts school this year.
So hubby and I have sat down to discuss our parenting strategy. I drew on every (what I once viewed as ridiculous) episode of nanny 911, and good parenting article I’ve read. We are going with the “time-out spot” tactic and focusing on consistency like our lives depend on it. The plan is that more serious infractions will get instant time-out, where the more minor – guilty of annoying people on purpose -infractions will get a warning, then a time out. Perhaps part of my problem is that I just referred to my son’s misbehaving as infractions – I better put that on the list to evaluate.
I have no idea where the crying will fall. My son cries, and I think that is my biggest struggle. I don’t get it. I’m not a crier, and as a kid, it really wasn’t allowed. For anything. He cries over everything from I got an invisible scratch, to you wouldn’t order ice cream from the Schwans man for me. I’m thinking tantrum crying will be time out, and “I gave you loves but don’t get why you’re crying for no reason” will be – go hang out in your bedroom.
So far, the time out thing seems to be working; he doesn’t want to stay in time out. Although I have to keep putting him back and saying “the timer will start once you stay in time out, and I will re-set it every time you get out”, I figure that shows he doesn’t like it. Another observation pulled from Nanny 911, those kids never want to stay in time out, then all of a sudden they get it and they start being good. Hey, at least I’m not pulling parenting advice from the roadrunner.
We are also working to be more consistent with routine and working toward more hands on parenting. I’ll admit we’ve been lacking. When my son was a baby he wasn’t in to the bedtime rituals of rocking or cuddling. You had to just set him in his crib and walk away. That has carried over throughout the years, and although we have a list of bedtime steps, we haven’t been too consistent, and normally its “get ready for bed”, and we might read a story or he may have taken too long and just has to go to bed. His big complaint is that we rush him, which I understand, I hate getting rushed.
Personally, I’m praying for patience and guidance.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.