Re: Non Compliance in Preschoolers
posted at 6/27/2013 12:55 PM EDT
I had a date night with DS last week. He wanted to eat dinner at the mall - I thought great, we'll go to one of the sit down places, have a nice dinner, go home and watch a movie. DS, however, wanted to ride in the racecar stroller the mall people so thoughtfully have at the main entrance we came in. Hence, our meal ended up being McDonald's in the food court that I ended up schlepping halfway across the mall and back home because DS refused to get out of the stroller and eat at a table. I lectured him (unmercifully) about being considerate and polite and why we eat at the table, etc, but I was annoyed too, because the night wasn't going how *I*planned. As we were walking out to the car (with happy meal tucked into my purse), DS said, "You're very grumpy. But that's okay. You can still be my best friend."
It sort of stopped me in my tracks. DS throws fits about not getting his way constantly and my reaction is always to count to three or take something away or negotiate. Here I was, doing the same thing because the night wasn't going *my* way. So I apologized for being grumpy, we went home and ate crappy McDonald's food at the kitchen table (along with Alka Seltzer for me), had popsicles on the front steps, then went inside and watched a movie together.
Since that, I've been trying to be more conscious of the way I interact with him. I'm looking for signs he's getting frustrated or bored and trying to head it off. Not every day's a win (hello, incident report from preschool that tells me you hit two kids and bit a third on your cranky day this week), but at least now I'm trying to understand a little better how I react when he gets noncompliant. We haven't had any days as bad as the one where I washed his mouth out, thank God, but no doubt we'll have one of those again before the summer ends and at least now I can think back on this and hopefully give myself some perspective before doing something that will make us all feel awful afterwards.
Plus, he slayed me when he told me I was his best friend. I literally stopped in the parking lot, hugged him, and told him I was sorry I was grumpy, that it was his night too, and no we were not going out for ice cream because he still hadn't eaten his dinner.