Sunday, February 28, 2010

Whine Online

Today, I do not want to be a mother (which is really ironic because in my last post, I was feeling so grateful for all the wonderful things God has given me). I really do love my kids, don't get me wrong, but lately, I'm so frustrated with Ethan. I'm almost at my wit's end with him. He seems like such an angry child lately. For example, when we're playing games, I let him win about half the time (sometimes more); but when he doesn't win, he screams "I WANTED TO WIN!" and throws things around. He'll grab a toy from Benji, and when Benji cries, Ethan yells "STOP CRYING, BENJI!" He's very disrespectful to Chad and me, saying things like "I will never come to dinner. I will never eat that. I will never go upstairs. I will never take a bath." He is disciplined, sometimes with a time out, sometimes with a loving but serious talking-to, sometimes with a spanking. No matter what the discipline, it seems to make him more angry.
Someone told me that around this age (4), they go through a very selfish phase. That's fine, but I still have to teach him not to be so selfish and to be respectful.
What's the root problem? Does he feel like I don't love him enough? I tell him more than once a day that I love him. I try my hardest to be patient and loving at all times (even when I discipline).
If we're not at Disneyland or watching a movie or if he's not at preschool, Ethan asks me constantly, "Mommy, will you play with me? Mommy, will you play with me?" I really hate the imagination play he loves to do. Here's how it goes: we each get a transformer, a Lego man, or a Batcave inhabitant; we make them talk to each other, a bad guy comes along, they fight off the bad guy, they talk some more, the bad guy comes back, they fight him off again, blah blah blah. It's SO BORING! But I do it because he loves it. When he asks me to play with him, I'll set the timer, and say, "I'll play with you for 20 minutes, then I have to..." When the time is up, he begs for more and gets upset when I say no.
My kids are not into crafts, coloring, play-do, puzzles, Candy Land. It's all imagination play with Ethan, and I despise it.
WHAT DO I DO? How do I play with him without hating it while I'm doing it? How do I teach this child that it's okay not to win? That it's not okay to throw things around? How to be respectful to his parents and to other children?
Any advice appreciated. If you have a lot to say, call me.


Carl and Amber said...

I'm ready to write a similar post about my kids! Alyssa will look at us and grin while she is choosing to be disobedient. The moment I see that grin, all patience is lost! I've overused time-out, and it has become pretty ineffective. Right now I am trying to set a prize for the end of the week. This week was a redbox movie. Next week it is staying up late with just me. If she behaves well and doesn't loose too many stickers, then she gets it. But what really works the best has been to set aside my whole morning, until lunch time, playing and reading with them. Then, they honestly give me the rest of the afternoon to do what I need to do. We have also been so good at saying morning and night prayers with the kids, and we always ask that we will be patient and loving with one another and that we will act NICELY! Last, we have to really evaluate ourselves and make sure that none of this behavior is coming from us. I know that at times I have been a bad example, and I see the kids mirror it. It is totally my fault.

Sarah said...

Amber, said exactly the right thing. I just wanted to add that my older two kids started their "terrible" stage at about 3 and a half to 4, and they said the exact same things as ethan is. Its definitely a stage that he will be out of sooner than you think! EmmaLily is a lot better recently (still working on it) and Nephi has been doing a TON better since first grade, hes such a good kid now. i mena, not that he was bad before, he was just disrespectful and defiant, etc. It seems to me that EVERYONE in the world goes through this stage whether its when they are toddlers, preschoolers, teenager, budding adults, or middle aged!
so the important thing is (aside from prayer, like amber said) to not despair! Keep positive! Keep telling yourself that this is truly just a stage that he will grow out of within a few years. Give yourself a time out to evaluate yourself if you do get to angry with him, that way you dont have a tantrum yourself! i dont know if you do, but sometimes i do that!! i just go into my room, shut the door and scream into a pillow... i do have four kids all at home after all...
good luck and let me know how it goes!

Brooke said...

I remember doing this kind of play with Harry. I wasn't very good at it. I would always make my character take naps. It helped when I could find a playmate to take my place.

Hope, You are doing a good job.