Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've got a problem on my hands!

I've got a problem that I am wondering how to resolve.

It's with regard to my son.

He screams/shouts...whatever you call it!
He does that mainly when he is tired.

Due to some comments received since the PD trip...even from certain children, I have been wondering about my need to discipline him with regard to his shouting.

I know he does it for a reason.
But I reckon he need not do it too often. Especially when I am trying to give him the most comfortable position to sleep.

I started scolding him on Sunday.
He took to the scolding hesitantly.
It managed to stop him from shouting for too long.

Last night when he shouted at dinner, I tapped his mouth and scolded him.
Last night I saw a change in him.
I could see that he was really 'geram'.
His whole body would stiffen up and he would shout but more inwardly than outwardly (if you know what I mean).

I don't want comments that he is misbehaved.
Or any sighs that he is shouting again.

But I also don't want to do the wrong thing by him.

Have you experienced this before?
When is it time to discipline a child?
I feel he understands when I am angry and he understands the scolding.
But his reaction last night was the first time.
And it made me sad and worried and scared.

I have to pray....
but I would also like to know what your thoughts are....


JLow said...

Just last night I grunted and raised my voice at Caleb, when he wouldn't cooperate and was sharply turning his head, effectively slipping out the bottle teat during feeding. Most times I can "follow" his head, moving the teat and bottle fast enough with the head-turn so that the teat stays in. But the little bugger can be very fast.

Upon "yelling" at him, I got yelled back by Hot Mummee, saying I am biased and was never like this with Caitlin before. Not true- Caitlin too wasn't all that easy to feed. And, that I should pseudo-pleasantly distract Caleb with his jingly toys, or whatever.

That wasn't the first time I grunted at him, and he does usually get more distressed and starts the crying engine (ie not quite full fledged crying, yet). Sometimes he does follow through, other times I am able to distract him.

He's 5 months 6 days old.

I am personally torn between the soft vs hard approach with "telling off" the kids ("Aww.. there there now...." vs "STOP THE YELLING OR I WILL SMACK YOU I SWEAR!"). We have a few examples of kids whose parents yell, and these kids have adopted the yelling practise too, presumably (on my part) that they think that's the norm. My own upbringing does not involve yelling- it's usually very short warnings before the cane is out! But my siblings and I grew up in a "quiet" household, in that context.

Therefore, I cannot reason why I do sometimes yell at Caitlin. It does get her back in line, but it is mostly out of her wish not to piss me off further. I do sometimes adopt the finger-flick on her hands when she starts reaching for things she's not privy to, and a few times almost doing the same on her lips when she talks-back or persistently makes noise. Usually it's the threat that stops her; I think flicking can be quite painful.

And I am always sore with myself afterwards having behaved that way with my child- the yelling at them. The yelling is mostly the activities before bed (since I am already home)- the slow milk-drinking, the procrastination of getting changed, distractions along the path into the bedroom, not wanting toothpaste on her tooth brush, etc. And then already on the bed, she'd ask if I am still "not happy with me?" It's really heart wrenching.

Been mostly like this with her this year. She turned 3 Nov last year.

I think it's natural to be frustrated with them. These are my personal experience, and I am sure parents with older kids would have more experience than I. I personally don't have the answers to the right approach, and I think I am usually already quite tired from the whole day's activities of work and car-shuttling that by the almost-end of the day, my fuse is already short. It doesn't help with Hot Mummee still at work at those hours.

Julie said...

Ann, I don’t know how bad is the screams and shouts you are referring to. It’s common for babies to be noisy when they are tired as it’s how they give the adult the sign of tiredness (although we prefer they did it in a better way).

Same with Jonathan, when he is tired, sleepy or hungry, he will whine, refuse to be carried by anyone and will not sit still. Sometimes they just do it for reasons we yet to discover.

Remember my post on me spanking Jonathan because he refused to sleep since hours ago and I felt so guilty and sad after that? I read from books/articles that it is never too late to discipline a baby by the time they reach 1 year old. I don’t know how practical it is but our parents would say otherwise. During our time, if we misbehaved in public, people will say “this kid got no parents to teach” then followed by a “good lesson” from our parents.

To me, I discipline Jonathan as and when necessary from the day he is born. A little tap and scolding is good enough at this stage. I will explain to him the reason regardless he understands or not. I think he understands because he will pause for a while, stare at us and sometimes give us a cheeky grin.

There’s no best way to handle kids. It’s all based on individual experience and situation. Most importantly, pray for wisdom and the best reference is the B-I-B-L-E.

Have you read the book, “Bringing Up Boys”? I heard it’s good and I’m finding time to get one and read it? :P

mumsgather said...

I think that most kids misbehave when they are tired or hungry. Thats when the tantrum and whining etc starts. When they are sleep and on low energy they will become more hyper and disagreeable. I find that the best way to deal with it is to make sure that they get plenty of rest and eat when they are hungry BEFORE the misbehaviour starts. This way it won't develop into a bad habit. You mentioned that he does this when he is tired so perhaps you should try to make sure that he does not get over tired. Making sure that he gets enough sleep may actually stop this behaviour altogether. As for discipline, I think its never too young to start to discipline as soon as they start to show inappropriate behaviour.

Ponytail said...

I spank Zoe on her hands and buttock to discipline her!
A lot of ppl might think and even give comments that she is a good baby, but I think otherwise...hehehe. I do not know about other babies, but she is 1 that can pretend to behave like an angel in front of others, but sadly not her parents...
I do not want to spare the rod nd spoilt my child. Maybe she do not like it now, but she will understand 1 day - just like how I understand why my parents beat the daylight out of me when I was little.
Since Zoe is bigger now, she actually listen to me when I explain to her why I spank her...just have to wait till they calm down from all the crying...and explain later. This is my version of tough love - like how Simon and WY told us...

HI said...

Well, Olivia never really shouts or screams when she is under a year old. According to experts, babies under 18 months has no impulse control. For example, they can't help it if they want to throw their food on the floor.

Maybe I'm lucky but Olivia doesn't really 'misbehave' when she was younger. I don't even think that babies could misbehaved, get what I mean.

I think the recommended way for boyboy's 'problem' would be to speak to him sternly, don't raise your voice because how can you ask him not to shout if you're raising your own voice? He'll get it.

Besides, he's still a baby, that's what babies do. :)

Angeline said...

many mommys don't know that shouting at their child actually doesn't sustain forever...

the surprisingly opposite works. That's what I learnt over the years in teaching and mingling with kids of all ages....

Completely ignore! Don't even look at him. Don't even let him touch you. Walk away from him. Do this for 5-10mins.

you'll realise he will find it puzzling and afraid....that's what you want - tell him you are ignoring him because of his behaviour.

when he quietens down, speak to him sternly why you ignore him, "I don't like children who shout! I love children who tell me what they want without shouting!"

In future, the moment he starts, you just walk away and he will know what to do.

This is the long term solution and less frustrating method to solve kid's misbehaviour

Daddy Parenting Tips said...

When Haruka starts to cry or grouses, all the cats, dogs, monkeys, elephants in the room will be laughing at her. They would say shame, shame... and Haruka will just look at them, sometimes continue making a few more demanding cries and later be distracted by something else. I started this since Haruka was around 4-5 months and it has worked so far. The point a baby crys, screams or yells is to get attention or maybe frighten her parents to act. But, when she knows crying and screaming does not work, and its funny to see the elephants and monkeys laugh at her, then she thinks its better to smile and laugh to get what she wants. Now, if she wants that delicious biscuit, she smiles at me and nods her head.

JLow said...

The later comments above reminded me of what my eldest brother did once (or twice).

His son was quite a cheeky toddler (now in Form 3 or 4). One time he was crying so much that my brother carried and put him in his tv room (which was dark) and let him cry all he wanted, alone. I think this lasted some 45min.

I think it did "break" the kid's habit. My brother also mentioned that he'd "reward" the kid (I think it was again the same son) by only picking him up after he'd stop crying. Cry, put down, stop, pick up/carry. That broke the kid too; soon he knew that crying wasn't getting him anywhere.

I tried this once with Caleb, and got scolded by Hot Mummee for allowing his crying to escalate in "urgency"!

A gift from God said...

mmm... I doubt at this age, boy boy will understand your scolding. He will probably feel even more insecure with the raised voice and angry scolding. Just be patient, start to discipline him when he is much older.

Pat said...

Its true, before the age of 2, babies will not understand the scolding.

Cynthia also started acting up recently, throwing tantrums when she can't get her way. The only thing we can do at the moment is just to be firm with her and try not to give in all the time. The crying can be quite annoying at times, but I guess that's where patience comes in :)

I think as long as we make our babies realize that they can't have their way all the time, that should be enough for the moment to let them slowly learn about boundaries, and curb their natural selfishness.

Apparently, selflessness and being social has to be taught, so I suppose once past two we need to start inculcating these.

Don't be too hard on yourself and Christopher for now, just remember that he does not understand yet :)