Monday, January 16, 2006

Unpunishable Boy: 1, MomCat: 0

Here are the facts. My six-year-old is driving me insane. It is the truth. I am not exaggerating. Ok, well, maybe I am a little.

So, experienced mom readers out there, this is a shout-out to you--especially if you have raised a son who has not grown up to be either a social misfit or a serial killer. First off, let me bow down to you now and pay homage to you. But, secondly and seriously, I need your advice.

My son is a good kid. He's funny, smart, and insightful. I enjoy him tremendously...most of the time.

He seems to have an issue though. That is, anytime he's allowed to do something special, like playing playstation longer than normal, going to the movies or getting a treat to eat, he immediately starts acting like a complete turd afterward. I don't know if it is the high of getting to do something fun and special that makes him think he's unpunishable, or what.
"Look at me, I'm unpunishable boy. Able to smart off at you at every turn. Able to laugh in the faces of my parents as they reprimand me. Nothing can STOP ME!"
Case in point, today my son got to play at a friend's house for almost 5 hours straight! This started off to be a 2-3 hour playdate that just didn't seem to end until I insisted on picking him up. When we got home, nothing was asked of him. I let him put in a video I had rented for him and relax for almost 2 hours. He needed it, I knew, and so I let him.

Next, came dinner. Not only did he and his sister openly and forcefully reject my health-conscious-but-delicious meal, but he turned on the timeout charm. He wasn't just pushing his parents' buttons, he was taking a sledgehammer to them! Ask him to do something and we got, "N-O spells no." Threaten to ground him from tomorrow's playdate, and he laughed. I kid you not, the little guy laughed in our faces.

I mean, there were serious moments that I was sweating bullets that this kid was just going to jump up on the table and announce to us that he would be in charge from now on and that was that. And, in my state of weariness, I might have just said, "OK. Tell me what you want me to do Unpunishable Boy. I am here for your every want and need."

He is getting over being sick with strep. I am feeling drained like I am getting it now. These two are not a good combination. So, our evening ended with a tantrum like no other, and a trip to bed at 7:30 p.m.

So, I am at my witt's end. Not only did I have to email his friend's mother and explain why we had to cancel our playdate tomorrow, but we also had to take away his playstation for 1 week. Still, he went to bed kicking and screaming with no remorse.

I know one day I will appreciate his backbone and his ability to argue. Perhaps he'll make a lot of money one day as a lawyer. But, as his mom, I'd love some advice until we get to that point. How do you control the smart-mouth back talking? Because I wasn't counting on this until at least the pre-teen years and I'm at a loss.

Because I feel badly for sharing such negative things about him on here, I will share this conversation we had earlier today in a happier moment. I truly love the way his mind works in moments like this:
"Mom? Why do we have Martin Luther King day?"
"Well, honey, Mr. King was a really important man who did great things and so people thought there needed to be a special day to remember him."
"Hmmm. Well, what do we do on this holiday?"
"I mean...isn't there going to be some sort of a feast or something?"


Blogger daysgoby said...

I have no solutions but I *feel* for you. The idea that my son will grow into a teenager makes me want to breathe into a paper bag or something. Fouryearsold is bad enough.

9:01 PM, January 16, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Been there and I agree, some days it's REALLY not fun. About the only advice I have is to hang in there. (and pick and choose your battles)

Certain foods seemed to send him over the top. Like sweet things, processed foods and apple juice was also biggie.

He needed lots of down time - quiet activity. Some cartoons and video games would set him off.

I will say, one of the very worst things I did was to give in. Then every time after he would try to wear me down. So stand your ground - no matter how hard it gets.

The outcome has been that I do have a great kid that turned into a fine young man.

But it wasn't easy. Take lots of time for yourself when you need to.

Sorry this is so long - I have been there and feel your pain!
((hugs)) Vicki :-)

10:55 PM, January 16, 2006  
Blogger Tyra said...

Just stand firm with your punishments and he will figure out that if he acts like a turd, he loses privileges. It's hard though but standing firm, following through with the consequences you give him are what works. It just takes longer for some kids to get it.

8:11 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Viamarie said...

I went through the same experience and my best friend shared this tip with me which really worked.

I was asked to refrain from making my daughter watch exciting tv programs, playing video games, or playing with a group of friends outside the house before mealtime or bedtime because it over stimulates her.

Child psychologists say tantrums are the result of over-stimulation. A child is too tired, surrounded by too many sights and sounds, feeling too many conflicting feelings...and yes, even receiving too much attention. I instead gave her a book, paper, pencil and crayons/coloring pen.

By my doing so, I was able to develop new interests which later on became the skills she used in putting up her own graphics design company.

Hope this will work for you too.

8:16 AM, January 17, 2006  
Anonymous Theresa said...

No boys here, but tons of sympathy! I think it's a universal thing at this age. My advice? 1. Be firm on what the rules are and the consequences for breaking those rules. He doesn't want to eat, excuse him from the table, but be sure he understands there will NOTHING to eat until breakfast. 2. What has always worked for me when my girls have had tantrums, is pulling them aside, and telling them that when they are able to talk to me without yelling, or crying, or smarting off, then we will talk. When they calm down, the first thing I ask is "ok, this makes me think there is something on your mind that we need to talk about. Am I right?" Sometimes, they just jump right into bad kid mode, rather than try to communicate what they are feeling.

Hope it helps! Hang in there!!

8:26 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

You handled it awesome. You doled out the punishment and stuck to it. I don't see where you need advice. Just continue being consistant. Great job Mom!
Oh and I love his comment about the feast. Certainly there should be a feast!

8:51 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

My pediatrician told me 13 years ago that the best way to parent was to stand firm and parent with this one sentence: This is not a democracy.

I think you handled it awesome. And, the curve balls now are just gentle preparation for what's to come. He's 6 and 6 is when they really start questioning the "why" and "what" of the world and unfortunately that includes you. Hang in there! It sounds like you are doing a great job.

11:03 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger NinaKaye said...

I have a six-year-old boy, too. Only when he gets in trouble or things don't go his way, he acts like he's about 2-years-old. I think I'd prefer the "N-O spells NO!" stuff. The pouty, whiny, crying makes me crazy!!

6:41 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger karla said...

Oh, man. You're making me very, very nervous. My son is only 11 months old, but I'm going to go ahead and start now dreading the evil that is to come. Because I was a good kid, as far as I can recall, but the adult Karla is very strong-willed and stubborn and independent, so I can only assume Diaper Butt will exhibit some of those traits as well when he gets a little older.

And then it'll be time to throw down.

I feel for you. How much is boarding school?

8:19 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

No advice except... Do you need an application for Super Nanny?

I like the over-stimulation advice. I'm gonna have to remember that when my time comes!

8:41 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I've been beaten down with 3 boys but I am able to still applaud your sticking to what you threatened!! He's testing the ol' boundaries with his 6 year old arrogance. He's realizing that he is totally separate from you (getting to go to a friends etc.) and just testing the boundaries. You will survive. That's all I can promise. Your doing a great job.

8:43 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Vanessa said...

No kids here, so I have no leg to stand on, but I think you're doing a great job because you took something away from him when you promised him you would. (aka consistency!)

I do know this: My nephew, Reece, was really being a turd and my sis-in-law and brother took away ALL caffeine and he's much kinder. True story. You might try it.

10:06 PM, January 17, 2006  
Anonymous sarcastic journalist said...

I vote that he never gets to do anything fun again! Ha! That'll show him!

10:39 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger christina said...

It is posts like these that make me wish I could just keep Bean this age. Gah. I bow in homage to you, because I know that you're son is probably an incredible kid.I say this because YOU are a wonderful mother!

11:23 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

Oooooh I so feel your pain--I don't have much in the way of advice because it sounds like you're handling it very well. But I would like to say that it's very normal for him to be testing limits, etc and the fact that he went so far over the line probably has as much to do with getting over strep and the overexcitement of the extra-long playdate as it does with the fact that he's a future serial killer or social misfit.

Hang in there! It does get better--or if not better, at least different so that you can be entertained by new varieties of stress!

7:17 AM, January 19, 2006  

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