Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 10. Ugh.

So, it's a good thing I'm keeping track of my progress with Peanut Butter, because yesterday I felt as though I had taught him nothing. In public. I took my three young ones to the doctor's office for Raindrop's 6 month appointment. It's always a long wait in the waiting room, but there's a play area, and no matter how long we sit waiting, when they call Raindrop's name Christopher Robin always complains that he didn't get a chance to play with the toys very long. Anyway, the two boys played well together for a while, but shortly after someone I knew showed up in the waiting room, they started to fight. And Peanut Butter's immediate response to frustration was not to ask Christopher Robin nicely to change his ways, as I've been teaching him, but to shriek his grating yell. And when I removed him from the toy that caused the conflict, the noise escalated to loud wailing. This wasn't just one incident, but three or four or five. These public displays of bad behavior are so intense for me, because I don't feel free to deal with him the way I would at home, and his bad behavior humiliates me, quite honestly. I know the ideal is to keep what's best for him in mind as I deal with his behavior, no matter where we are, but it affects me much differently when I feel like people are watching me and judging my parenting. The stress and frustration are almost paralyzing. I dealt with both boys in a (outwardly) calm manner the whole time we were in the office, but when we got out to the van I told them both (Christopher Robin was misbehaving by the time we left, too) how disappointed I was by the way they acted, and I stewed the whole way home and as I got them lunch and put them down for naps. One child training book I have explains that if you train your children to be obedient at home, you won't have to worry about dealing with them in public. So when episodes like this happen, I feel like I haven't done my job at home well enough.

I think the experience brought home to me how important it is that I not allow Peanut Butter ever to respond with shrieks no matter how frustrated he is. If I hear him shrieking, I no longer allow him to explain what the problem is to me; I discipline him for the shrieking and then deal with the problem. Even if he has a legitimate complaint against Christopher Robin, his response cannot be to shriek about it.

If there's anything good about yesterday's experience, I guess it's the renewed sense of urgency I get to train my boy to behave like a civilized human at all times. God help me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. Even though I'm not a parent, I've heard plenty of moms say that they came to the point of realization that sometimes a child will act up in public just because they are a child and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Of course keep up the good work! But until they grow up some more... the outbursts will occur. Hopefully I don't discourage you, but I just want you to find consolation in knowing that every parent struggles/ed with this too. Love you!