Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

Does anyone else have a Jekyll and Hyde child?  I have one.  Lately, Paul has decided that once 5:30 or 6:00 hits, he’s going to turn into a hellion.  Anything anyone says sets him off.  “Hey, Paul, can you go wash your hands for dinner?” is followed by screaming, kicking, hitting, and general unpleasantness.  It lasts until he goes to bed, and by that time I’m usually so frazzled that I break down into tears the moment the door is shut (frequently earlier). 

It’s so very odd, since he’s a gem in the mornings.  Seriously, that kid is insanely cheerful in the mornings.  And he’s generally quite cheerful throughout the day.  Sure, he has his moments, but no more frequently than my girls.  But then the witching hour hits, and he’s a monster.  He gets a bee in a bonnet and there’s no getting it out.  Once he starts, he really cannot stop.  He’s beyond all reason at that point.  We’ve tried every punishment available, and nothing gets through to him.  It just gives him something more to fight against.  We’ve tried ignoring him and leaving the room, but he follows us around and starts screaming and hitting you to get attention.  And when you’ve got dinner on the stove that needs to be watched, it’s impossible to remove yourself from the situation. 

We’ve realized that he needs a technique for controlling his temper before it gets to this stage, so we had a long talk with him last night about the importance of controlling your temper and taught (or tried to teach) the principle of consequences.  He really doesn’t want to be bad.  He certainly doesn’t like the consequences of acting this way.  But once he loses control, he forgets about any consequences or no longer cares. 

This evening was the first in a week where we haven’t had a massive meltdown.  And he was so proud of himself!  As soon as Aaron came home, he ran up to him and said, “Dad, I had a really great day today!”  I know that this isn’t the end, but it is so relieving to know that Hyde doesn’t have to appear.  It’s relaxing to have an evening where I haven’t ended the day with sobbing because I’m so frazzled and tired and frustrated.  And it’s amazing how much energy you have and how much you can accomplish when you’re not battling a four-year-old for three solid hours!

Every morning when Paul is pleasant to be around I have to remind myself how much I love him and how much fun he is to be around when he chooses to be nice.  It makes the bad times a teeny tiny bit easier to manage.  Here’s hoping this phase is a short one so we can get back to the business of liking each other again!









Jen Kesler said...

I feel for you! I'm glad this week has been a little bit better!!