Friday, September 5, 2008
"You need sleep to be healthy. If you guys don't go to sleep I'm gonna kick your butts."
That lovely quote was not from me or Matt. It came from Ethan. He's big on threats lately.
"If you don't let me play video games I'll call you stupid"
"If you be mad at me I'll hit you with my blankey"
He tends to pick whatever it is we're on his case about that day to use as a threat, hence the no-no words butt and stupid, and the hitting with the blankey. It has also brought us to this level: "If you guys don't let me have a candy I'll threaten you."
My favorite: "Right now I'm feisty. If anyone touches me I'll tackle them." That one came out of the blue at Grandma's house with no provocation.
So what do you do with a boy who throws out threats left and right? The first step is to realize he's just following the examples in his life. "If you don't stop kicking your sister you will go on time out." "If you don't stay in bed you will be grounded tomorrow." He hears a lot of threats directed at him, it's no wonder he's started tossing them back at us. But how do you teach about good behavior and consequences without an if-then statement? I don't think you can. I've tried to reword my sentences so that they don't sound so threat like, but they end up so convoluted and confusing that Ethan and I both walk away wondering "what was that?"
I hope like every other struggle we've had with Ethan that it will eventually wear itself out and that positive reinforcement will help to move it along. Because he's scared of the "beginning of the night dark" Ethan usually wants one of us to stay in his room while he tries to fall asleep. The other night, instead of his usual "stay in my room or I'll *insert threat*" he called out "Mom, will you stay in here with me since you're so pretty?" Hopefully he'll learn he will definitely catch more flies with honey like that.