Today I took my son to a birthday party. It was a good party. He had a great time.
But while we were there he got upset because I told him he could no longer play on the swings. Of course you expect to have moments like this when taking your kid in public. Well I’m working on getting my child to be more verbal. Like myself at his age he isn’t very interested in talking very much. Instead he rather just scream or hit.
In my efforts to get him to be more verbal, he has improved a little. Now instead of going immediately to the screaming or hitting, he verbalizes how he’s feeling in the moment. “Wanna hit Mommy,” he says so innocently. Oh this is just so awesome.
My initial reaction to that when it first began was a pop to his butt or hand accompanied by my “you better get yourself together” look. Then my common sense had to take the wheel cause Jesus did not hear my cries! I was not handling this situation correctly. How could I communicate to him that hitting was not the answer when I was spanking him for just wanting to hit me? And he wasn’t hitting me. He was just saying he wanted to even though that was embarrassing as hell.
My ego has to be put in check on a regular basis. I certainly want to be the authoritative figure in my house, but I know I’m not going to get there by having a power struggle with a toddler. Especially not in public. I try to make sure my discipline plan is one that I will feel comfortable sticking to in public. That’s one thing I promised myself I would try hard to do.
So, what is my new response to this? Ignore. A very difficult complete ignoring of the fact that my 3 year old can boldly tell me he wants to hit me. Instead, I focus on the behavior I want to change. I sit him down and hold his hand. Help him count to ten if he’s really upset. Then explain to him what is happening and have him respond with a “yes ma’am” or “okay”.
I know this may not make me look like I have my shit together and my kid doesn’t play with me! I don’t care. I’m trying to raise a self aware child with good self esteem. I’ve already had my chance to develop these things. It’s my turn to pay it forward. Even if I do look like a SUCKA!