I don’t ever curse… you can ask my friends they’ll back me up, but I had no other way to describe today… the day I’m still in as I hide in my room with the timer set to 15 minutes as the girls have break/running/no work time. I’ve spent the last two hours with a screaming and crying almost 6-year-old. I am using this post to literally unpack what happened in my mind and hopefully try to learn from this experience for her benefit and my own. She is doing great in kindergarten, I can’t believe how much she can read already and how she loves to sound things out. She really can do anything she wants to do WANT being the operative term. This week we are adding color words to our list of sight words, she pretty much knows them but I thought we could do some fun activities and Miss thing (my 8-year-old) has to do a color wheel this week and well it’s fall and those are my favorite colors coming around… so I thought it was perfect.
I decided to have her make a color book. Se loves making books and I”m really trying to do this enrichment stuff led by her interest. Each page was a different color and she was going to write ” I see a ______________ _______________. ” She was going to fill in the color of the paper and add an object to the sentence. She already knows the sight words I, see, a, an, and all the _at family words so I thought with a little help she could make a book she could feel proud of. She did black first great – she just forgot a… no big deal I was helping her sister.
Next I wrote I see a black cat. and then under it I wrote I see an orange… and it was all over. Mom it’s a orange. Then I told her about the word an which she had already learned how to read and that this is what an is used for. It goes before naming words that start with a vowel. Which are all terms she can understand. She threw a fit. I mean an all out hissy fit. She screamed ” I will not write that and you can’t make me!” It was crazy and illogical and had some more screaming in it. Normally I’d loving say ooh we need to calm down let’s go up stairs and have some alone time, but I’ve been reading AHA parenting. It’s an amazing read. It makes so much sense. I struggle with big feelings, and that’s why I can be passive aggressive and try to eat away my feelings… I don’t want to do that to my girls… I want to handle this situation right so here goes.
So here’s how it went down. She is literally screaming, stamping and yelling about how she won’t write an and I can’t make her. (This is a true story, and it was as surreal as it sounds.) THese are the tips Dr. Laura gives..1. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that there is no emergency. 2. Remind yourself that tantrums are nature’s way of helping small people let off steam. 3. Remember that anger comes from our “fight, flight or freeze” 4. Set whatever limits are necessary to keep everyone safe, while acknowledging the anger and staying compassionate. 5. Set limits on actions only, not on feelings. 6. Keep yourself safe. 7. Stay as close as you can.8. Don’t try to reason or explain. 9. Don’t try to evaluate whether he’s over-reacting. 10. Acknowledging her anger will help her calm down a bit.
Sadly I didn’t have them with me but I remembered quite a few. I talked calmly and quietly and stated that I understood that the word didn’t sound as good to her as a. I said that it’s not fun to not want to do something, I stayed close, I let her be mad. But I did mess up one part I tried to explain “an” thinking maybe she’d understand… big mistake mentioning “an” set her off all over with more passion (seriously I was thinking in my head is this really happening?) I did acknowledge her anger. Finally I just hugged her and didn’t say anything and it took another 20 minutes till she calmed down… but now I’m at a point of what do I do now. She needs to learn to use the word “an”. She also needs to learn that just because she doesn’t like something doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to do it. What happens when she’s no longer homeschooled and has to do what her teacher says. I’m a little unsure of how to go on, we ended up doing a math sheet on apples. The irony is that her word family of the week is the _an family. I have printed out about 20 activities to do with the _an family. Oh the irony is not going to be lost on her, she’ll be annoyed and might throw another fit just because of it. But I’ll press on. Today for my own sanity we are going to avoid the an word even as an ending and begin again tomorrow.
My take away: It’s true kids can’t listen to reason or make good choices when they are throwing a fit and punishing them more for that reason is just continuing the cycle. They need to learn coping methods for calming down. This little girl likes hugs (it was a little funny to see her internal struggle of wanting a hug and not wanting to be nice to me). I’ve learned that she is stubborn and doesn’t want to conform just because you say so and hopefully as an adult this will be a great quality that will have her thinking out of the box and maybe keep her from negative peer pressure. But alas for now it is to be parented and reigned in. I know what I’m about to say next is a bit controversal, but I want her to be able to obey. I want her to question, but to be able to be obedient to her parents. We are loving and caring parents that have always loved, admitted our mistakes, and never ever spank. She needs to trust us and obey us. The word an is a part of the English language and she needs to learn how to use it. It’s my job to teach her and just because she doesn’t like it doesn’t mean she can just choose to ignore it. Just like she can’t choose to ignore safety rules, or rules about how to treat others. Sometimes we have to do things we disagree with because they are the right thing to use!
After she calmed down we tried to brain storm solutions..
My idea… lets write it an with the n being really small so she can show it that she disagrees but is still writing it the write way and that she would still be learning how to use it in the correct way.
She vetoed that idea.
Her idea… She could write two books one the way I want and one the way she wants, but then she added in a not great tone “but I’m only going to read the one with a”. I told her that statement was meant to be unkind and we don’t talk unkind to each other. (Just so you know at this point I’m on the point of losing it and that my nice voice really sounds like it’s on the edge of me screaming even though it’s really quiet.)
I said maybe we aren’t quite ready to share yet while we are still angry so let’s do something fun, I read her a story for her reading word pages. Then it was break time.
I am not sure what tomorrow brings or if I’m ridiculous for feeling – Oh she will learn to use the word an, but it’s how I feel and Dr. Laura says we should validate feelings. And that is what this blog post is doing for me.. writing it out is feeling validating… also I’m really up for suggestions. Also I really wished I could have video taped her all and out fit because i know my words don’t do it justice. But really all I want is to say thank you to Dr. Laura or helping me from keeping that girl in her room til she calmed down teaching her that I can’t deal with her big feelings, because even though I really don’t know the right way to deal with them I want her to know that I want to try to deal with them with her and that I want her to learn how to work through them, and that it’s okay to have them.
Please check out AHA parenting.. .this is not a sponsorship – she has no idea who I am…