I have a question about the dynamics between my son (4 1/2) and daughter (2) and myself. My son is quiet and slow to warm up with people outside the house, but with me (and nobody else, not even my husband) at home he sometimes blows up screaming and crying when he is frustrated about very small issues. I respond to this by helping him articulate that he's frustrated, telling him this behavior isn't acceptable and that it won't help him get what he wants, and then trying to help him calm down (deep breaths, etc). If he's still freaking out, I send him to his room and tell him to come out again when he's able to have better behavior. I do NOT give in to him, even if it's a reasonable request, until he calms down, I require that he ask me in a polite tone of voice.
In general I feel like my approach is helping... the freak-outs have been fewer and less intense lately, and I haven't had to send him to his room in a while. (He also just started Pre-K, and I think some of the behavior was because he was worried about starting school. Now he's settled in and liking school, he's better.) HOWEVER, I've been noticing that lately his sister sometimes just gives him what he wants as soon as he starts to cry.
For example, they were sharing crayons this morning, and she was using the purple crayon. He wanted the purple crayon. She said no. He screamed, and she threw the crayon at him. He immediately stopped screaming and started coloring with the purple, and she found another color.
I don't want to micromanage the way they interact, I think they need to learn how to do it themselves. But I'm concerned that she is helping to reinforce his idea that screaming/crying is a good way to get what he wants. She's only 2, so I can't really explain to her that she shouldn't give in.
I'd love any thoughts or suggestions you have, Barbara.
Thanks so much,
From: Cfran, Cambridge, MA