I watched an episode of Dr. Phil called, “Are you raising a brat?” Of course, there was no shortage of video of wild children and screaming mothers. It sufficiently scared me into buckling down on my Love and Logic skills, which have been slipping recently (ok, Eric, or were never really there to begin with). In addition, my fuse has been much shorter since having Adrian and Stephen has been a bit more difficult in his attempt to get attention. These two things combined have made me more snappy than I want to be with Stephen, so I need to make some changes and avoid becoming “angry yelling mom.” Thankfully, Stephen gives me ample opportunity to work on my parenting skills.
I am going to tackle my nagging first. I need to tell Stephen something once and expect him to do it and not bug him 101 times, which rewards him with attention and drives me NUTS.
Experiment 1: I asked him to pick up the toys and clothes in his room. I said that when the chores are done we can do something fun. He has not picked anything up. I have not said anything else about it. My plan is to read my book and not play with him until he does what I asked (without nagging, of course). I’ll let you know how this turns out.
Experiment 2: Stephen asked for more candy after I gave him smarties. I said no, candy is all done for today. He kept bugging me, asking and asking for more candy (Please, Mommy? Pleeeeeeeease? Please please? combined with his super cute/pitiful blue eye look) I held my ground and ignored him. He went downstairs, climbed a chair, and helped himself to a tootsie roll. When he returned, I used my love and logic line: “Oh, this is such a bummer! You got candy after mommy said no. I’m going to have to do something about this later. Try not to worry about it!” Then I cheerfully returned to folding laundry.
His eyes got wide. “I’m sorry I ate the tootsie roll, Mommy!” I thanked him for his apology.
He has apologized multiple times since, and asked if he could go to the bathroom so he could get the tootise roll back. He also stuck out his tongue and wailed, “It’s not coming out, Mommy!” I just sympathized with him…poor little tootsie roll.
Later, he asked for chocolate from his Advent calendar. I said, “What a bummer! I can’t give you any candy until I can trust you with it.”
He apologized again and stuck out his tongue so I could find the errant tootsie roll.
I plan to continue milking this, at least for a while.
I just have to stick to my guns and stay strong! Resist the unbearable cuteness! Don’t become angry yelling mommy!