The two nights before last night both John and I got treated to crying, screaming, and all kinds of things when it was bed time. The pediatrics book sez it's all normal for a four-year-old and we just have to respond firmly but patiently and not get emotional about any of it. It's not about us, it's about him, really. He really is intentionally disobeying and intensionally stomping over long-set rules and intentionally trying to get us to crack, and, yes, indeed, he's doing his best to make us as mad as possible and, indeed, he's calling me names and swearing at me to get responses. And, no, he doesn't have a clue why he's doing it.
But we'll all feel better if we set down the law and abide by it and, by all means, make those judgment calls on his actions. But, please, don't judge HIM, that leads to therapy later on (as some of us well know).
His worth is not at question. It's just the worth of his actions.
And, man, it's hard to remember that when I have a squealing, crying, screaming, swearing little toddler kicking me in the shins and telling me I'm NOT special and NOT nice!! Uhm. Hm. I guess I have been pretty good about stopping my habitual swearing when around my child when the worst he can say when he's really upset with me is that I'm not special and he is. Hm. I guess it also tells me something that he's couching all his name calling in NOT [some positive thing], too, as if he can't think of a negative word to use in a pinch. Hm. Hadn't thought of it that way until I wrote this down. Interesting.
Anyway... time outs were called. The timer was reset numerous times until he just collapsed, sobbing, into a little heap in the timeout corner, and finally stayed there for the requisite time. And since then life has been much quieter, calmer, and happier. He figured out that, yes, indeed, both Mom and Dad are going to call timeout on such behavior and he may as well not do that. It's no fun.
I'm still amazed at what a simple requirement that one be still in a spot, any spot, can accomplish, and just how MUCH Jet hates something that is the exact opposite of corporeal punishment. Though the whole, sit there and we'll ignore you for a bit might be the trigger. Who knows?
Last night was good, though, and he didn't fight going to bed or any of the usual routine with John. We'll get to see, tonight, if that'll stick with me.
Anyway... I expect more of this in the future. But so it is. I'm just glad that it's taken him most of his fourth year to finally figure out how to act like a typical four-year-old. They say five will be better if we get through this with boundaries intact and keep encouraging his abilities.