Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Struggling

Today has been a very trying day. Mostly, I suppose it is because I have been feeling inept as a parent. Luke is changing so much and my responses to his behavior seem too much or too little, but never balanced. The current "issue," as I said in my previous post, Luke is in a screaming phase. He screams if I take something away, if he wants my attention and I am not giving it to him, at the priest while he is giving his homily, or just for fun.

Today, while making dinner, he screamed repeatedly at me. Each time, I said "No screaming, " firmly, and placed him in another room. (Consistent, but not effective) Instead of seeing this as a negative consequence, he was delighted. He got my attention and it became a game.

So, I am trying to figure out what to do now. It is hard to discipline since he does not understand what is going on yet. I would just keep trying my current technique with him, but it seems to do the opposite of what I intend.

I think that part of the reason that he screams is that he wants more attention. I do spend time with him, but I could spend more. I do expect him to be more patient than he is perhaps capable right now.

I am confused. Parenting is humbling.

4 comments:

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

I'm sorry, Katie. I meant to call you today and I guess I should have! I found it really surprising when I first started having to actually deal with discipline. A baby is pretty simple in a lot of ways! Once they develop their little sin natures a bit, wow it can be difficult. I don't have any good ideas for you, but I wanted to say that I know exactly where you're coming from, and yes, it is very hard, and yes, parenting is confusing and humbling. Keep praying, and I'll say a prayer for you too.

Doug said...

Hi Katie,

Yes, parenting can be fun. If I remember correctly, when you use to cry to get attention, I cried back at you or with you. You would get mad, but stop crying. I don't know if it created any long term pyschological effects but it was effective.

Children alway test the boundaries, seeing what they can and cannot do. The best advice I think I got was that there needs to be clear and consistent boundaries which, rather than stifling a child, helps them make sense of the world and gives them a place of safety in the chaos and unknown outside. Remember, this is a phase and will pass. Perhaps ignoring the undesirable behavior will take the fun out of it for Luke so he will stop. If it is your reaction that he is seeking by screaming, if you don't react in the way he wants, he will find that this method of getting attention is not effective.

Kids don't come with instructions, nor is there one set of instructions that works for all kids, so we learn as much about ourselves as our children during this time.

Dad

Kathy said...

Oh dear dear Katie, you sure are right to say that parenting is so very humbling and also confusing at times. I think that yes our kids do start exhibiting their wills at about Luke's age. It was quite surprising to me when my sweet babies started looking at me with that, "It's me or you, mama" look on their face!! It helped me to always try to see the humor in the situation-it is ridiculous after all, for a 2 or 3 foot high kid to take us on!! I sure did start reading the books like Strong-willed Kids by Dobson, Making Kids Mind Without Losing Your's by Kevin Lehman. And I sure did learn to pray like never before!! God will give you what you need, both now and all along the way, to raise little Luke. I remember thinking that I sure did wish God had given a manual for each child!! Mothering is a very challenging job- and a very rewarding job!--(as I talked with Susie last night and heard of Matt and Tim's loving care for her right now so tender and such a great comfort, I had to think back to our early mothering days and just smile at God's ways) I am praying for your wisdom and creativity with Luke- he will get it- your persistence will pay off. (It always comforted me to know that God gave each of us our temperament and unique ways -particularly it helps with little strong-willed boys-- to remember that God has a plan for Luke that requires his unique package, to fulfill it!! God made him this way!! Of course, you must channel his energies and discipline him- of course- but that too will accomplish God's plan-for you as well as for Luke. I am praying for you and I still have a few of those books if you want to read one- and of course you can call us anytime. I sure don't have all the answers, but I will help you any way I can.
mm ps I sure do love your dad's response-He sure does love you Katie-

Kathy said...

Just thinking- remembering how I used to call late afternoon "the witching hour" as all hell tended to break loose then. :) I used to give the toddlers a snack as I fixed dinner-everyone's blood sugar is at a low-ate a snack myself. Everyone was getting tired and cranky- Maybe save a fav toy for that time of day?? Do you have a drawer that could be Luke's to play in when you are working there? (I keep plastics in one that is great to play in-or paper bags are fun too!)
Also I think that daddies have to get into the act too. When Rod came home he always spent some time with the kids. When they were toddlers, I was just about to run away from home at that time of day on some days!! He always read to them at night and I would get some break then too. (I do remember the days when I thot maybe I was going to go crazy!!) but look, I made it!!