Monday, August 17, 2009

"I will not cry"

We were walking in the shopping complex. Drove my car that evening since it was going to rain (my car gets to be parked in the porch since it is newer!). As usual we forgot to transfer the stroller to my car.

Christopher started acting up pulling my hand and dragging his feet and jumping each step. I could see the crowd behind us was gathering and hissing (if only they could horn, they would have BLASTED!) So, I pulled him one side and spoke sternly to him.

In an instance, he yanked my hand too hard. He was balancing on the balls of his own feet. His hand was a little oily. And he fell.....the 3-4 inches on his back and knocked the back of his head.

He had a total look of surprise.

I had let go. Mummy let him go!!!

(Not on purpose, or course. His hand was too oily for me to grasp.)

What trust a child has in us. And how we reduce it overtime.
Christopher is at a crying-to-show-temper stage. If we do not give in to what he wants or if he gets angry or upset, he will throw a crying fit. Of which will stop magically once his needs are met.

Of course I don't condone to his crying to get his needs met. And many a time he has sat in a corner crying for the duration it takes him to stop. And many a time I have stood at a lonely aisle in the shopping centre standing with him until he stops crying.

It is not a pleasant job. People do stare when we are outdoors. They must wonder why I am not doing anything. But I do really stand my ground. The lesson must be learnt consistently no matter where we are.

Of course, if it happens at home, he still has to complete whatever task he didn't complete before he started crying. And he still will not get that junk food he wanted to eat. But yes, sometimes after his crying when he has hugged me and followed after my "sorry mummy", he gets to watch the show of his choice.

(I am really gald I followed through on this lesson earlier. It is paying off.)

If outdoors, he just gets a drink of water and a 'change-the-subject-distract-him' talk after that.

Everytime when he cries, reasoning doesn't help. He will not or cannot listen. Giving in will be worse. Asking him to stop right there and then is impossible.

But yesterday I found a new way.

He was crying as usual becuase he wanted to watch Barney. It was night time. When at home, night time means no more DVD/VCD shows for him.
It wasn't a hysterical or loud cry. More a frustrating demanding whine. I was asking him why he was crying. He should know the rule by now that night time means no more TV for him.

When he stopped, I asked him to repeat after me.


He looked at me. We continued our business.

The next time it happened, some 1 hour later, I looked at him and told him why he could not eat an orange at 10 pm. And that I will give it to him tommorrow.

Then I said...

"Christopher, repeat after me"


He stopped crying. And I could repeat my reasoning to him. I gave him some raisins instead.

We repeated the sentence some 3-4 times that night. He stopped everytime he completed the sentence.

I am hoping this method will run its course till he learns to verbalise his feelings (that is still very much work in progress).


reanaclaire said...

Ju Ann, where did u learn this child phychology thingy? effective? if only i know many years ago.... hhahaa...

Angeline said...

Mommy dear... you are improving by the hour!!! *hooray*
maybe next time you can try, telling him what to do, instead of what not to do.

I did that for my boys when they were younger... I went "Stop! Smile now."
and guess what? they did and they still do.... without the need for me to say...*giggle*

LittleLamb said...

I hope it works for u and Chris...

JLow said...

Oh great! Things to look forward to with Caleb! He already does naughty things and looks to check my reaction! And we try our best to tell him off whilst knowing that, at 1.5 years old, he can only understand so much of what we say.

Mummy Gwen said...

That's good you stand your ground. I hope yr method works. I think it's a great one. :)

mommy to chumsy said...

ahhh..good job, Mommy :) Ashley went though this stage too and it drove me up the wall. We never give in too :)

Irene said...


andrewjune said...

thumbs up, Ann!
i won't stand in a corner and watch my poor daughter screaming her lungs out at a mall...cos too many onlookers will be staring at us...i tried that once but the more we ignore her, the more louder she became!
i guess she is one tough cookie!

thks for the tips...i always find inspiring motherhood tips fr ur blog, girl! keep it up!

Daddy Parenting Tips said...

Barney says "Use your imagination".

All experts say, use reasoning, but what helps even more is a smile and talk at your child's level and reason at what motivates them.

Daddy, "Time to sleep".
Haruka: No!
Daddy: "Do you want to go out early tomorrow to play?"
Haruka: No!
Daddy: "Do you want to be a Barney girl? Do you want to be a good girl like the Barney girl in the show. They are always sleeping early."
Haruka: Ok.

If that fails, I ask her does the Barney girl sleep early? She keeps quiet.

But she continues to be wakeful and talks to herself. But that's fine as long as she accepts the reasoning and not yell back.

This one on motivating a 1 year old

This one on learning from Barney

coffeesncookies said...

I am guilty of giving in ! I am guilty ! Really am ! Coz I just want her to shut up. Terrible me huh ? Now the tantrum is worst, she spits .. Abooo ! Aboo ! Kei sei ngor ! I must admit, it's my own fault.

MeRy said...

Good idea...

Shireen Loh said...

my ashley is going through that phase now. she is slowly calming down but still needs alot of improvement bcos she can't speak very well at the moment. she is struggling to tell us what she wants but we will always speak calmly to her. well, at least i try to speak calmly to her becos most of the time, I am the one on the verge of exploding. hubby's job that one heheh..but yes, you are right..we can't give in. and kids would have to learn that they can't have everything. good job Ann. keep it up. oh and thanks for sharing with us..:-D

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ann, I guess kids learn at a very young age if they can bully the mother (or father...daughters tackle the fathers), they will.
Quite recently at a Mall, a Chinese mother, I guess a fairly new immigrant from China, she talking in Mandarin to her very young kid, about 5 I think, a boy.
He was bawling and screaming, pulling his mother towards a toy store.
He had spotted a toy he wanted.

My Mandarin is zilch, but can guess she telling him she can't afford it. Price tag I saw showed $75!
He continued with his tantrums, sitting on the floor, screaming his head off, legs kicking every which way. Everybody stopped to look, some in disgust, some in pity.
She tried consoling, didn't work, talking, didn't work....

She then gave him 2 very hard slaps, a palm on left, back hand on right face, like Bruce Lee's slaps....the sounds like gun shots!
You could hear a pin drop then...then boy was so shocked, not one sound or sniffle came out.

She just walked away, and?
He quickly ran after her....and?
He held her hand, his crying forgotten. Very quick memory loss, ha ha.

Best regards, lee.

Linda said...

Some very good ideas there... :) my 3 year old seldom throw tantrum these days.. but will remember to use it with my growing up 1 yr old... :)
I usually ask her to "stop crying! Get a tissue and wipe your tears" before continue with any activities, or i'll ignore her for the moment, and divert her attention and ask her about something else... Must make it like it's not a very BIG matter of them crying to us... When all didn't work and it happened outdoor, i'll quickly forcefully strapped her in the stroller and start to push away without saying anything. And talk about something else after she calms down a bit.

I always talk to her about her unacceptable behaviour by the end of the day, and end up with a big hugs and kisses afterwards... :)

Uncle Lee,.... a big slaps is very hard for any mothers nowadays, that's boy mother must be very tough....

Big Pumpkin said...

Hmm...I wonder if this method will work with my daughter, must try.

Debbie Y said...

I do apply the same on my Xandria and it works. Usually, after her annoying cried, I will try to explain to her on the reason again and make her understand.

Moomykin said...

I always feel the hardest part of being a parent is the discipline part. Sitting by their bedside when they are sick is hreatbreaking, but not as "tough" as the pain we need to bear when we have to "harden our hearts" so that our darlings would be better little human beings.

p/s- it is also always the case of the child sensing the competition when the mother is expecting another... BUT this is just a phase.