I know I said I wasn’t going to do any more regular weekly posts but it’s Thursday and I have something to write about. So…
This week we’ve been concentrating on teaching DoubleShot appropriate ways to handle her anger. We showed her that slamming doors is not ok. We gave her a pillow and told her that when she’s mad, she can hit the bed as hard as she wants to. Last night she had a success in this area! She got really mad about being told no more video games for the evening and started kicking a plastic bottle around the living room and down the stairs (all wooden floors here!). I took the bottle away from her and reminded her that if she’s mad, she can use her Mad Pillow. She disappeared downstairs for a couple minutes and then came upstairs carrying the pillow. She beat our couch into submission and then started kicking the pillow around the living room. I was ok with that. Success!!
Of course, this still doesn’t address the reason she is angry or the aftermath once she’s sulking. But at least she’s not slamming doors or pounding on walls or throwing breakables across her room. I am grateful.
DoubleShot likes playing video games with baba in the evening. They usually play for about an hour. He tells her before starting how long they will be playing and what time they will stop. Lately, she’s wanted to play three player Mario so that all of us can play at the same time. It’s fun, but she really stresses about being told she’s only allowed to play for an hour. We had to pause the game briefly for a bathroom break and had this conversation when sitting back down:
Me: Sorry, I had to use the potty.
Me: Yes, we are going to bed at 10.
DS: No, play until 10! (It was just after 8 and we were almost done with our hour of play)
Me: We will add five minutes because we took a potty break.
Commence much whining and pouting because we had to pause the game. I was amused because she wasted more time whining about losing time than we took going to the bathroom. When the hour was up, she was angry that we had to stop playing. The video games themselves don’t seem to be the root issue. Some evenings she can stop playing at the time limit with no issues. Other nights she just falls apart. If she and baba play on the weekend during the day, she has no issues stopping at the end of an hour. It seems like it’s triggering something about nighttime – “oh, no, we’re done with this. That means bedtime is approaching.” Cue terror, which is displayed in anger and whining and then shutdown.
I can see hints of progress in her attitude toward bedtime but we still have a long way to go before she stops being terrified.
A highlight of my day yesterday – I was on my hands and knees in the kitchen, scrubbing the floor. DoubleShot comes up behind me and lays across my back.
Me: What are you doing?
This is the first time she’s used the word “hug,” though she’s been giving and receiving hugs for a couple weeks now. But she actually admitted that she wanted a hug! Woohoo!!
Every little step…
Do you think bedtime holds genuine terrors for her? Or are her tantrums a way of trying to assert some control?
Sounds like much hard work and much good work.