The punishment that punishes me too

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Can I say being a parent stinks sometimes? Literally and figuratively. Right now I’m speaking in the figurative sense.

You see, Cooper has being hanging out with a neighbor boy his age. They jump on our trampoline and play in our sprinkler. The little boy is nice and they both get along well. The only problem is this friend is a little wild and very impulsive. I’m not going to blame it on parenting because I don’t know his parents well enough. It just might be his personality. Cooper, himself, is also wild at times and impulsive but we’ve been trying to work hard on self-control (tough for an almost six year old).

Anyway, Cooper has been treating Garrison (and his other siblings) poorly. Nothing extremely major (except for the time he kicked Garrison in the face). He’s just been a little too bossy and pushy and waaaaaaaay too rough, especially when Garrison clearly tells him no.

Cooper’s behavior has been influenced greatly by his new found friend (but I’m not blaming his friend because it’s Cooper’s choice to make bad decisions). This stinks as a parent. It stinks because it’s Cooper’s friend (we really want him to be able to play with this neighbor friend and also treat others in the way that is expected) and they are little and pretty innocent at this age and it’s hard for them to really understand a whole lot of reasoning behind it. But it also stinks because it means we have had to dole out the punishments A LOT lately and that’s no fun for any of us.

Right now as we speak Cooper is inside the house working in his preschool work book while all the other kids are outside on this beautiful sunshiny day playing with neighbor friends. He’s dealing with two punishments right now – no bike (this is for a completely different infraction) and no friends for a whole week. It’s a no good week for him.

How is this a punishment for me? No alone time and I need some time to myself to regroup in the afternoon. But he is a social person. Think a big, huge social butterfly. He’s extremely extroverted and just the thought of being left out or alone can make him antsy. So he keeps bugging me. He wants to know what he can do. He doesn’t want to play in the basement by himself or go and just sit in his room (which I guess I could force him to). Plus, there are only so many age appropriate “extra” chores for him to do each day and he can’t read by himself yet. So he just kind of follows me around bored (which is good for him and to be left out of fun) and I remind him why he’s not having fun and everyone else is.

So sometimes being the parent also means the punishment is also really a punishment for you. Oh well, we are two days of the seven he needs to serve down. Not that I’m counting or anything.

(PS – I realize I’ve been MIA quite a bit and a lot of that has to do with a social media diet and other things going on that I will most definitely fill you in on. Hopefully I can get myself back in the groove soon.)

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3 responses »

  1. Your post reminds me of a similar situation that we have going on and I’d love your advice. We have a neighbor girl who is difficult for Em to play with (both 4yo). Her parents don’t believe in “forcing sharing” and it results in a controlling and one sided encounter. Anyways, Em doesn’t want to play with her and so we’ve been avoiding interactions. Obviously I can’t do it forever, so any advice on how to nicely explain the situation? Relates, Em was diagnosed with autism this past April and so social situation are hard enough as is for the sweet girl.

    • This is tough. We do enforce our rules are our house and let the neighbor kids know (because I want my kids to follow the rules at other people’s homes as well). We’ve had to tell kids how to treat our property and how we share at our house. We also have a rule that if you are playing at our house everyone is included – this one did not go over with a neighbor girl well. She left our house but a few days later showed up willing to play with everyone. We’ve also had the “sharing” talk with our kids. It’s such a tough thing at any age. If it’s at our house and our belongings I will enforce sharing or try to switch activities to do something together. We have also asked kids to go home if they did not want to follow our rules (and we expect parents to do the same to our kids).

      How did you find out Emma has autism?

      • I’m definitely going to try making sure it’s at our house next time it comes up – good idea. As far as Emma’s diagnosis, I started noticing her speech first – just that she was falling further behind her peers. Other things were also there, but this is when she was 2.5 or so, so you know how it goes – “give it time”, “kids are all so different”. But as her mom and having an education degree, I knew something was going on. I pushed for her to get her early childhood screening as soon as she could and they agreed a full speech eval would be good. She qualified as “developmental delay” and started receiving services at her preschool. As the months went by, I still felt like some piece to the puzzle was missing (long story short) and pushed for further evaluation and they came back ASD.

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