|"I not listen to YOU!"|
I don't know what to do anymore. I have read and read on how others deal with this kind of behavior (Aha! Parenting has some great articles) , but the ideas just repeatedly backfire. He's a smart little one and, while a new approach will work the first time, he sees through it the second time. I'm finally getting him to say his feelings ("I'm very, very ANGRY!!!") so I can mimic them back to show him I understand. But it's not helping - instead of yelling and screaming about the problem, he just yells and screams about his emotions.
My husband isn't helping, either. Due to some physical and mental problems, he's not spending enough time with Little Guy to even be able to understand his speech. When he is around, he gives in to the demands just to avoid the tantrums. This means that Little Guy is "the boss of Daddy" and he sure throws his weight around! When my husband just cannot give in, such as a situation like the cake one or something that is dangerous, he goes from weak-willed Daddy to the guy who's threatening to spank. Especially when Little Guy is hitting (yeah - THAT makes sense!) Then Dad leaves because "I can't deal with this anymore." UGH!
The only thing I can think of doing differently is spending more one-on-one time with him. I thought that we already did a lot of it. But, now that I stand back and evaluate our time together, we don't. We might be in the same room, but we are both doing different things. He'll be playing with his cars while I hit up Facebook for the latest news. Not really quality time.
I have a ton of projects that I want to do with him (check out my Pinterest Kids' Crafts and Recipes boards!) but I really need to get my house in order first. So, I've been working on getting our house cleaned out and organized. I've been asking him to help me, which he eagerly agrees to do. Unfortunately, he will help for only a few minutes - then he's into things he knows he should not be playing with, running into the bathroom and tossing anything he can get his hands on into the toilet, or running into my oldest's room and messing with his stuff (our doors don't close correctly, thanks to shoddy carpentry.) After five or ten minutes of cleaning, we end up throwing in the towel for a little while. It just feels like an uphill battle right now and I'm becoming disheartened and frustrated. I'm going to keep up with this, though, because I'm pretty sure that the novelty of it will wear off and he'll (eventually) be able to focus on our "Important Jobs" that I need his expert help to complete.
This kid is busy. He's smart and can see through plans and, I swear, tries to foil them just for the heck of it. He really wants to be helpful and spend quality time together - it's just that he's still at that self-centered age and wants the best for himself first. And, thanks to Daddy, he thinks that flipping out and throwing a huge tantrum is the way to get those things. I suspect that he leans toward the ADD side due to his inability to do anything for more than a few minutes - even the things he LOVES to do. He's got a great sense of self and takes pride in anything he does - especially when he doesn't need help to do it.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I don't do rewards for a good job - I want him to learn to do good things because he will feel good inside, not so he can get a sticker or piece of candy. He is often congratulated when he obviously struggles with something and overcomes it, whether it is getting his pants on by himself or helping me do the dishes without getting down off the chair and running around the kitchen getting into everything. He knows the rules that are unchanging (mainly safety ones) and the rules that can be bent (the "harmony ones" that help us all live together.)