Every time I think things are getting better with Zach, he seems to want to prove me wrong. He went through a very rough patch just after Evie was born, but with a day care change and the passing of time he seemed to be getting better. He has his good and bad days, but overall things have been better.
We still occasionally have days where he refuses to get dressed, but I can usually convince him without too much of a fight. He still throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, but they are less frequent. And he still has the occasional night where he doesn’t sleep well but they are few and far between these days.
The last week or so has been a bit more challenging. I’ve woken up several times hearing him crying in his sleep. Sometimes he wakes up. Other times he stays asleep and the crying eventually stops. I know kids have bad dreams, but I hate not being able to know what is scaring him or making him cry. When it happens I have flashbacks of the months of night terrors we went through and I spend the rest of the night hoping and praying that they aren’t starting again.
Just after I stepped out of the shower this morning I heard him crying. He was still in bed so I rushed in to see what was wrong. He immediately reached up to give me a hug like he does when he’s been in trouble for something. It just didn’t seem right. When I asked him what was wrong he said, “You were in the rocket ship and you blasted off without me because I wasn’t in my seat.” I asked why he wasn’t in his seat and he said, “Because I wasn’t listening and you blasted off without me.” He was crying because I left without him.
And then it hit me. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have told him I was leaving him at home if he didn’t get in the car during one of his morning tantrums. I felt awful.
We had a talk about dreams and how they weren’t real. I reassured him that I would never leave him because he wasn’t in his seat. We hugged and snuggled and made up, but I still feel just horrible.
Why in the world would I ever say something like that to him? Why did I feel the need to use fear to get him to behave? That is not at all the kind of parent I thought I would be. Why should he have to hurt because I am frustrated? Yes, a child needs to behave but not because he is terrified of what will happen if he doesn’t.
I need to do a better job of keeping myself in check. Seeing my son wake up in tears and thinking he was in trouble was horrible. I never want to have to do that again. I know I’ll never be the perfect parent I want to be, but I am going to strive to be better from now on.
Don’t feel too bad, I say that to Nolan every single time we leave the house because he refuses to cooperate. I try to say “We won’t go anywhere until you put your *fill in clothing items* on!” but eventually it turns into “Paige and I will have to leave you here!”
He hasn’t expressed anxiety over it- but I think I’ll watch my tongue from now on.
Perhaps some small rewards for cooperating would give him an incentive?
@jenny bean – The idea of rewards did cross my mind, but I’m not sure what would work. He has a behavior chart we use now that doesn’t seem to be very effective anymore. It may be time to re-vamp that a bit and create new rules/rewards.
I think threatening to leave them when they don’t do as asked is very often done. I must say that this is the first time I’ve heard of a child who has actually dreamed about it though. Sometimes, I say it this way: “Everyone’s ready to go, don’t you want to come along? We don’t want to leave you here.” something along those lines.
Awwww…hang in there Dee!!! You are doing a great job! Don’t be too hard on yourself.
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