99% of parents just read that title and went “no fucking thanks.” Those people have already experienced full swing tantrums and have zero interest in ever revisiting that part of their life. Why? Because it’s awful.
Dealing with a four year old who is throwing countless tantrums a day is comparable to tying a dozen steaks to your body, standing in a lion’s den and trying to convince them not to eat you.
My sweet, caring, always reliable Baby M skipped the terrible two’s, dodged the troublesome three’s and dove head first into the fuck off four’s which is the reason I have been so absentee in writing.
Well, that and endless stress from mounting car troubles. Went for an oil change, was told my engine was shot, cried, did math, cried more, called the bank, cried more… It’s all sorted out. I realized that you can get a second opinion on things like that and my truck is running beautifully now.
Anyhow, we’ve been having some difficulties with our oldest boy. Constant screaming, whining and crying over just about everything for an entire week straight. Since I’m home all day with the boys it felt like the weight of correcting his behavior was mainly my responsibility. Not only because I’m home all day, I guess, also because Curtis has an old fashioned way of going about things (time out and whatnot) and I like to try some different approaches to things. Ugh! And that’s not to say that he isn’t open minded to new things but he isn’t going to come home from a long day at work and think up new ways to stop our kids from acting out. (This is what happens when I don’t write for a week or so, my brain is all mushy gushy and all over the place).
I didn’t want to bring up the tantrums until I had a solution since I’m not always the best at finishing my “follow up with me later” posts. Time out, taking things away and even a couple butt spankings didn’t help get rid of the tantrums. If anything they added fuel to the fire, so I would have to say that being unforgiving about a nasty tantrum is a big no. It wasn’t until a graduation party over the weekend that I realized how bad he was acting out. We needed to leave so that I could drop him off for his cousin’s party with his bio-dad. He didn’t want to leave and began throwing himself on the ground, as I carried him away he decided to begin punching me in the leg…
I made a color chart!
I’ve come across pictures on Facebook of teachers using them in class. At the top you have a green sheet a paper, yellow in the middle and red at the bottom. Green is bedazzled with a smiley face and the red with a sad one. Bad attitudes are subjected to a quick descent into the sad faces and good behavior keeps you right there in the green. It’s weird and red doesn’t really come with a punishment other than his “M” magnet being displayed on the fridge in the red for everyone to see but tell him he’s going in the red and he panics.
But wait, there’s more:
I also started to reward his good behavior more often. I think I got so used to him always being a good boy that I stopped giving him praise for it. So I’ve reintroduced special treats: a sweet thing for finishing a meal or a quarter for cleaning his room, high fives for completing a task and a big hug for doing or saying something kind.
In the midst of the tantrums it became so clear to me that rewarding his good deeds would bring about more of them. After eight days of bickering and two days of no fights at all, I feel confident in the new approach we have.
Live well. Love completely.