Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Monday, 19 March 2012

One More Time...or One Million

So, the entire article could be an exact re-print of our lives, every day, many times per day, until it gets to this part, which has never happened:
"Needless to say, when I returned to cover positions in that classroom, I NEVER had to talk to him again about dropping his friends off the teeter-totter"
If only.

Oh, and that exact scenario actually happened on the weekend.

Nothing like constant repeat violations of every basic household and social rule, often within minutes, to make one pretty convinced of one's ineffectiveness as a parent, and as a facilitator of attachment (as I envision will one day be evidenced by blissfully and mutually respectful, serene parent-child relationships. Indeed).

If I was more convinced all this lack of compliance was substantially linked with attachment stuff, I might put more effort into using a more exclusively attachment-oriented approach - or if I was more motivated to do the thing with less evident short-term, but more evident long-term, potential results. Or if I felt strongly that there was an organic inability to link cause-effect and learn from experience. Perhaps there is truth in all of that - we have no way of knowing. But darn it, I would really like to see even a speck of progress in the rule-following and inhibition department after nearly one year. Even a speck would be lovely.

(And yes, it is possible there are some specks I cannot currently see in the midst of a frustrating couple of weeks - because I think a couple of weeks ago, I even commented to Geoff that one child appeared to be managing impulses a bit better. Think I forgot to knock wood when I said that. And I realize his self-control issues are mostly of very little clinical significance. And that the other has a personality perhaps less inclined to "remember" details - like the specifics of rules, among other factors. So I guess this post-script is a bit of a disclaimer, and admission of awareness of my bias at the moment. But I also believe myself to be a fairly accurate observer of things, so I still stand by the spirit of my observations. And I truly believe these boys can be pretty high on the sensitive, strong-willed, determined, feisty, assertive, omnipotent end of things, so I tend to be sensitive and [internally] reactive myself when people suggest it is ALL just "normal" preschooler stuff [or imply, at least in my imagination, that perhaps my perceptions have something to do with having three children of three different ages all at once]. Normal, with a cherry on top, perhaps. And some whipped cream. And when I am more lively one day, and more positive, I need to do a post on 3 and 4 year-old cuteness and brilliance. One of these days. I promise-ish. And I feel the need to state that they are not usually overly defiant...except when they are...which is often, recently - it's actually almost the opposite much of the time...kind of a frighteningly adolescent non-chalant disregarding of rules and instructions, with an occasional, casually-stated, "Well, I didn't want to do what you asked, so I did this instead." Publicly, they may throw fits at times, but most often show off their charming-ness quite nicely - and we deal with things as quietly as possible in public, which means others see lots of cute and not much of the other - or they see the "cute" not-doing-what-has-been-asked-stuff, like crawling across the stage during Sunday School open session while all the other children are seated nicely on the carpet watching the leader. Uh huh.).

1 comment:

Hi from Ruth! said...

You're a Gordon Neufeld fan if I recall correctly, right?

He talks a lot in his courses about what you term impulse control. Until kids are somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8, he says that they're simply unable to have mixed feelings. In other words, if you tell one not to hit his brother, he will look you in the eye and say "ok, I won't hit my brother." He means it in the moment. But because he cannot hold two thoughts in his head simultaneously until his brain is of the age to do so, he might be confronted 15 seconds later with a sibling who annoys him and he will simply be unable to think anything other than "I'm mad so I will hit him."
When his brain is ultimately able to hold two simultaneous thoughts, the annoying sibling will do something and he will think something like: "man, is that annoying; I want to hit him; but I better not because I don't want to get in trouble..and I don't really want to hurt my brother anyway, even though I'm really mad."

I see this very much in my almost-five-year-old; the inability to 'follow rules' because she simply cannot retain them in the needed moment - she can only think single-mindedly. So it's rather useless for me to get frustrated with her because it's not part of her brain yet.

By contrast, my 8-year-old usually can have mixed feelings now. Exceptions being (even like us adults): when he's tired; grouchy; angry; hungry, etc. All of these conditions take away our ability to have mixed feelings, which is why we sometimes say/do things that we'll ultimately regret and wish we'd never done (kinda like the 4-year-old repenting for hitting mere seconds after I've told her not to and her agreeing).

Not sure if any of that helps, but your situations sounded so familiar!!

Blessings, Joy.