We have been working with a Family Support Specialist from Help Me Grow for a few months. You may recall that Little King David was in the habit of throwing massive tantrums. It wasn’t unusual for him to cry for an hour or two if he didn’t get his way. This was very unnerving for Mommy and Daddy and rather than battle each other over how to fix this problem, we decided to get help.
David hasn’t had a monster tantrum for awhile now and we no longer feel like we are walking on eggshells all the time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Mommy and Daddy got in the habit of bowing to His Majesty a little too often.
Rather than command our little toddler, we began to make requests. It wasn’t uncommon to hear Mommy use her sing-song sugary voice to say:
“David, please don’t touch the stove. It is hot and Mommy doesn’t want you to get a boo-boo. Mommy would be very sad if you got hurt.” (Repeat 20 times)
“David, please lay still while I change your diaper. This is very messy business and Mommy doesn’t want you to fall off the changing table. You will get a boo-boo and Mommy doesn’t want you to get hurt.” (Repeat 20 times)
“David, please don’t stand on the chair. I would like you to sit on your butt. If you fall, you will get a boo-boo and Mommy doesn’t want you to get hurt.” (Repeat 20 times)
I’m sure you can see how my communication style was flawed. It was even better when Mommy and Daddy were in a room together. I would repeat my request a zillion times and Daddy would be sure to interrupt to repeat my request again.
Our Family Support Specialist must chuckle to herself every time she leaves our house.
Her instructions this week are to stop rationalizing with a toddler. Use only simple sentences and short words. There is no need to offer explanations or rationalizations.
I’ve been trying this for two days now and I have a new child!
Mommy says, “David, sit down.”
David sits down.
Mommy says, “David, we are taking a bath now.”
David runs to the tub.
Mommy says, “David, we are eating.”
David stops hollering about getting out of his high chair 5 minutes after we start eating dinner.
Either it’s a miracle or I’m dense. Probably the latter…