Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parenting - More than just feeding and walking them??

Ah, so we went to our first night at a parenting group/class that started this week. It's always a joy to have your kid run wild and act like a lunatic at a parenting group.

"Hello, my name is Melissa. And my kid needs some discipline...quickly."

They had a babysitter upstairs and we could hear every whine, screech, and crying fit. By 8:30 he was in meltdown mode and sobbing. I brought him down with us since we were wrapping up and he could not sit still. It was painfully obvious he has never been trained in obedience.

At home he knows the boundaries of the house and generally follows our house rules. But other than that he has no rules. **Insert "Oops" face here** He doesn't know how to sit down and stay in one place to play for any length of time. He doesn't like to hold my hand when we're walking. He won't sit in my lap. He' a wild animal.

It was great (sarcasm) and humiliating. It was like everyone was thinking - I hope my kid doesn't turn out like THAT one. I have no idea what people were thinking - but I'd probably be thinking that if I were them.

So Mark and I had a long discussion about what we expected of Hayden when we were out of our home.

1. That he should be able to hold our hand while walking without pulling or collapsing to the floor in a tantrum.

2. That he should be able to sit in one place with a toy for a short period of time and play quietly without moving or running around.

We'll start with those.

So today we began "practicing" these skills at home. A big part of the problem is he doesn't have a lot of opportunity to be trained in how to behave while were out, because we don't go out a lot. So I instituted a "play mat" in the kitchen. He got to pick one toy and had to play on the mat while sitting. Sitting and being still are the most difficult for Hayden. We started with 5 minutes of playing without disobeying and leaving the mat.

And he did wonderfully! I think it only took 15 minutes for him to finally spend a 5 minute stretch on the mat. I'm slowing going to extend the time, but I'm excited he did so well on the first try!!

Since he seemed to be obeying well, I tried a variation of the mat skill. We went outside in the front yard. His "mat" was the front porch. While I weeded and watered the flower bed, Hayden played on the front porch. He had to be reminded several times of where the boundary was, but he never willfully disobeyed after he was reminded. So Corbin and Hayden played, while I was able to actually do something in the front yard!! Something I never could do with Hayden before.

I got a recommendation for his shrieking as well. I small bit of something that tastes awful, like vinegar. Now he has his shrieking and tantrum "medicine" - I think it's working. Now when he starts screaming and I approach him he says "uh oh" - so he knows he's A.) Done something wrong and B.) Will experience a negative consequence for it.

This is really my first intentional "training" for Hayden. Most of what I done so far has been "reactive" parenting. He misbehaves and I discipline him. But I've never taken the time to train him to have the skills to behave well. Hopefully I can give him the tools to behave better in new situations.


Anonymous said...

How was the class? What was discussed?

Robyn said...

If you need practice getting "out" with Hayden, give me a call sometime and come on over!

LeftyMama said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, girl!! Everything you're describing sounds like pretty typical toddler behavior to me. Plus, even the most angelic little ones sometimes have bad days where tantrums ensue.

The lessons on what you want to change/improve sound like a great strategy -- Hayden just needs to have your expectations reinforced on a regular basis so that he can learn what he needs to do. Hey, that means you have an excuse to go out more often. Let's do lunch!

You are an AWESOME mom. Don't ever doubt it!

It All Started With a Kiss said...

Sounds like you're doing great, mom!

I think we've all had one of "those" moments. Oh, the stories I could tell! The good news is that I know the situation can be different next time as I'm more diligent. Yeah, it may be "typical" toddler behavior but I don't want typical children! *grin*

That's a good way to put it - reactive vs intentional