I started reading a book called Setting Limits in the classroom, which is a wonderful tool if you feel inclined to read it. I bought the book because, in the classroom, I’m a pushover and I knew it was a skill that I needed to work on. I don’t like to admit it but, I’m very permissive. A style which carries over to my parenting style. I don’t like to discipline, yet I despise the “discipline dance” and I’ve caught myself doing the dance over and over again, to be honest it just makes me tired. The dance ususally sounds something like this at home, it’s similar in my classrooms:
Me: Could you clean up your toys, please?
Liam: Yes, mommy.
(ten minutes pass and nothing has been done)
M: can you please, pick you your toys?
L: (if he acknowledges hearing me at all) I’m playing with them.
M: no you haven’t touched them since yesterday.
L: I’m playing with them. (moves toys around)
And so forth and so on, this interaction goes on until I crack and end up cleaning them up myself. Well yesterday, I told him he had until 12:00 to clean up his toys in his room or I was going to come in with a broom and some trash bags. I set the timer because I know he can’t tell time. Ten o’clock rolls around, eleven o’clock ticks by, and 11:30 flies by and nothing. Not one single toy has moved other than to be examined played with and shown to me, almost in taunt to test my bluff. In the class, Liam would be several students who would prefer to talk rather than do their work.
12 o’clock: I walk in with a broom and two trash bags and start picking up his toys. I don’t say a word. Liam starts screaming because he has learned this is a sure fire way to get his way (though, not necessarily with me, but it’s worth a try.) I clean up the toys, some of them his favorites, and haul them down to the basement. Afterwards, I explain that in order to buy back his toys he has to earn so many stars for each bag.
Fast-forward to tonight, he tested his limits every which way we went out to City BBQ, on of my mom and my favorite restaurants. We ended up leaving with our dinner in a box before I was able to take one bite of it. Liam started in the car because I wouldn’t give him the IPad. I didn’t want him to run the battery down before we got to the restaurant. He threw his “I’m going to get what I want, and I’ll be darned if you’re going to tell me otherwise” tantrums. When he gets going on a tantrum it’s really, really difficult to calm him down. It’s almost as if he gets lost in the tantrum and doesn’t know how to find his way back to reality. He lost his computer privilages in the car, because of said tantrum. For once mom was in agreement that was the consequences for his tantrum. By the time we get to the restaurant, he had pretty much calmed down. We order our food, take our seats, and Liam, again, demands the IPad. I had left it in the car, I was going to hold my ground. He appeals to Gramma, to no avail and begins round 2. His screams reverberated off the walls. I knew the stares well from the other patrons in the restaurant, they ranged from 1. “control your child” 2.” your kid needs a good spanking” to 3. I understand whole heartedly.
Where am I going with this? I was very proud of my mom tonight, she stood her ground. She was the one who, for once, decided that she had finally had enough permissiveness and stood her ground. (I didn’t get permissiveness as a trait arbitrarily) I’m not saying we had to be mean to get our point across. Neither of us yelled, we boxed up our food quickly and efficiently and left. We got our point across to Liam, that this behavior was not going to be tolerated anymore.