Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Am Never Going Out In Public With Him Again!

Okay, maybe not "never", that would be impossible. I'm talking about my 2 1/2 year old son, the one my friends and family refer to as "challenging". Let me start from the beginning of the most recent incident. Just a little background first, I have 5 children, ages 7, 6, 4, 2 1/2, and 1. My husband is not with me today because he is working. So it's me, alone, with 5 kids.

Today, I had to go out for a little errand. Nothing big, but it was close to dinner time. I had some certificates for Noodles & Company through the library reading program, for free bowls of whatever their little hearts desired which was, of course, mac & cheese. So, I did my errand, went to the restaurant, and ordered their mac & cheese, along with a nice little bowl of chicken soup. We were doing good, for about 5 minutes. Then suddenly, my son decides that he doesn't want me helping with his water. Well, that's not happening. There wasn't a lid on the cup, and he's just not that talented yet with such a large glass. So I told him I would help him hold it while he drank. He wanted none of it. So he started screaming. And I mean the I'm-not-getting -my-way-I-must-let-the-entire-shopping-complex-know-I've-been-wronged kind of screaming. So I finally managed to calm him down. For a minute. I tried to convince him to eat some of his mac & cheese. He thought I needed some so I took a bite. Now, it's not exactly my favorite thing to eat while I'm pregnant, but I was trying to humor him. Bad idea. He felt I needed more, and when I refused, trying to tell him that I already had my own food, he tried to throw his whole bowl of mac & cheese. I wasn't having any of that, so I grabbed him up and hugged him to me. After a moment or two he gave up, but then we were back to the water issue again. He wanted to hold it all by himself, which meant trying to tip it up while sucking on the straw, and again, I wouldn't let him. So again, he started screaming and trying to throw things.

Now, while all of this is going on, his three older siblings were happily munching away at their mac & cheese, and the youngest was occasionally squawking for more mac & cheese of his own. I was only giving him a bite at a time since he was in his stroller, and I didn't feel the need for a high chair.

There are thankfully very few people for the most part. I'm really only noticing stares from some late high-school aged boys, who probably think this whole thing is just fascinating. I finally give up and get take out boxes to dump all the mac & cheese into, so we can leave. I have never had to leave anywhere. I was so completely embarrassed by the behavior of my child I was shaking. I couldn't calm him down, I couldn't get him to see reason, there was nothing I could do. I felt helpless. Then to top it all off, when I said "We're leaving, let's go", he jumps up and shouts "Yay! We're leaving!". So this is what he wanted all along! I couldn't believe it. I tried fighting back tears at this point, unsuccessfully. I just couldn't comprehend the situation. He'd been fine most of the day, had had a nap, and had been behaving for the most part.

So now what? I've just done the worst thing I can think of, which is giving in. If I sit back down, the screaming re-commences. If I leave, he gets what he wants. He doesn't understand punishment, and no matter how hard I've tried with him, he just wants his own way to the point of abusing his siblings, or himself. Where do I go from here? My oldest son was strong headed, but would eventually see reason. There is no reason with this child. He can be the sweetest, most loving child in the world, until something happens that he doesn't like. Then the horns come out and all hell breaks loose. I hate to say something so awful about him, but even our closest friends and family have commented the same thing. I've had to leave church services several times because of him, but at least I could leave the other kids with friends or daddy, and come back after a few minutes.

Has anyone ever dealt with a child like this? Do I need to get him into behavioral therapy? I'm really at a complete loss, especially after today.


Milehimama said...

I have a child like this.
I'm assuming you've read all the standard parenting things including Dobson's The Strong Willed Child. Here are a few other books:

Stanley Turecki, The Difficult Child

Ross Greene, The Explosive Child
(helped me TREMENDOUSLY!)

Mama Says

sjl+ said...

Hi Shanna,

It's Fr. Scott. I'm doing well. I'm a priest at Church of the Messiah in Jacksonville. I have been married almost three years and have two kids: Meghan's almost 13 and Cathering will be 2 at the end of August. I'm sorry that it's taken so long to reply. What's going on up in "What's left" of the CEC in Wisconsin? I hope all is well with you.


MommaBlogger said...

We're doing great! I'll pop over to chat :)

Angela said...

I have one that has always been exactly like that. He is now almost 17 and I wish, with everything in me, that I had sought some kind of intervention or therapy when he was young. He's more work/stress than all of my others put together. I'm sorry I don't have any good advice...just hugs and sympathy!