I struggle with the boy, I do. Anything I tell him, be it things he needs to do or merely information (such as the time of day), he interprets as "bossing" him around. He refuses to change his underwear, brush his teeth, unpack his backpack or do even the most minor chore without saying charming things such as "you can't make me," "you're not giving me my freedom," or, my personal favorite, "why do I have to do everything around here!" The school crossing guard told me yesterday that O is "so smart, but that boy is cheeky." Yep, 'fraid so.
Anyway, I'm done with it. The pattern came on slowly enough, but I'm doing my best to step back from it (and hopefully change it) with a three prong approach. One, is to just not engage. I tell him the things that need to be told (such as we are leaving in 5 minutes) and I don't react/engage with the fuss that comes back at me. Two, I hold him to the consequences of his actions (a tactic otherwise called "being a hardass"). If he is outrageously rude, he has to leave. I'm not available to be yelled at. This policy has even resulted in him being left home from E's last soccer game. He wouldn't brush his teeth, which I believe is a basic requirement for being ready to go out in the world, so I left him at home. He fussed and cried, but he called me later to apologize for not getting himself ready. Huh. Wow, it worked!
The third prong of my new approach came to me yesterday when I was avoiding life by taking a turn through the PTO Thrift Shop. Books were on sale for half off and I wanted to pull a few for the girl, since the school library is being packed up for the pending renovations, and I'm just not getting her to the public library often enough. I found her a small stack, a book for me (Life of Pi) and then came across a whole stash of Star Wars graphic novels and chapter books. In the game section, I also found a complete Battleship game! Rather than dump these treasures on them all at once I let them pick one book after helping with a school walking audit yesterday.
This morning I woke up to find O making his own lunch. He had already tidied the living room. He pitched in emptying the dishwasher. And he brushed his teeth. Oh yeah, he got another book. I need to go back and buy the rest of those Star Wars books. What was I thinking leaving some on the shelf????
I'm saving Battleship for a big weekend of yard work...
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