Last night, my husband and I were talking about our 4 year old son, Phoenix, and a….different…approach to parenting him that I’ve been trying recently. which has…seemed to work?
Basically, the more over the top negative and attention seeking he is, the more aggressively over the top positive I am with him. COMPLETELY ignoring his attention seeking negative behavior and finding SOMETHING he’s doing to praise him with.
This child…guys. He’s so ridiculous. And he does not at all respond to negative or yelling or consequences or taking things away…but he does always seem to respond to positive attention and reinforcement.
The other day, he was screaming. Just being loud. Playing…but screaming and being way too over the top. I asked him to go play outside if he wanted to be loud like that, but I was met with defiance and “no” and then he got even louder.
Instead of yelling at him, I stopped and gave him a hug. He immediately stopped and apologized and started playing quietly.
So…for him, this works. The only issue is that…it’s INCREDIBLY draining for me.
Like…it sucks every single bit of juice out of my soul and being, and I don’t have the endurance to do it all day every day.
So, in talking to my husband last night, I discovered what I do without even realizing it in order to protect myself. The more over the top, sarcastic and reactive I am in the positive…it’s like the sarcasm protects me from the thought that I’m actually giving my kids positive attention, when it feels safer and more comfortable (for me) to yell at them or take something away. So the subtle sarcasm just makes it easier for me to deal with.
I don’t have therapy this week (which sucks), so last night while I was talking to my husband, I said “shit. Im never going to remember to talk about this in therapy”. And my husband said sure you will! Just write it down. So I told him to say it again. And…that’s where this next part was born. 🤣 There’s no reason to include this, other than it made me laugh. So maybe one day in the future if I reread this, it will make me laugh again. And that’s enough of a reason for me to include it.
What you’re about to read is a voice to text transcription of a conversation between my husband and I, game show style. So…enjoy that. (Side note, he calls me Jackie, because that’s my name. Alana is my middle name, just to clarify.) 😊
(Me-) Wait, OK go, it’s voicing.
(Him-) What do you want me to say, that you go over the top of your sarcasm? Okay, start over.
OK. OK ready go.
Hi this is Derek, giving you the latest and greatest of Jackie’s parenting advice for moms and future moms. Chapter 1 – Phoenix is a young boy age 4, who loves to be negative on purpose. So Jackie, as a professional mother, when he throws his food on the ground, will say “oh, thank you so much for sharing that food with the dogs! But if you’re all done with dinner we can go wash your hands.” This is just another one of the many parenting techniques that Jackie has in her arsenal. And the more sarcastic, the more safe it is 😉.
I wanna hear from Jackie herself now. What is your response to when Phoenix says “I want to break your bones”?
Funny you should ask. Tonight, my response was quite simply, “I am feeling so strong right now! My body feels amazing”. And that actually happened.
Yes, it did. I remember that tonight and I remember thinking, wow that is so clever of her. I’m glad we talked about that one of the many parenting techniques that Jackie uses.
Wow, thanks Derek. It’s been great chatting tonight.
You’re welcome. It’s been my pleasure.
Thanks for having me.
If you made it this far….that’s great, and thank you for caring about my really weird life. Sometimes we need to find the humor where it might be otherwise really hard to find.
This week is going to suck without having therapy tomorrow, and I still haven’t heard any more news on the land. We’re going to call first thing tomorrow morning. So it will probably be the most Monday kind of Monday that there is.
For now….enjoy what’s left of the weekend!