Do you ever feel like there are times when you just can’t get through to your kids? You explain your reasoning very clearly, and they seem to understand, but it doesn’t change their actions. In your mind, your thought processes are very logical, but for some reason, you’re not getting through to them.
It’s important to realize that there are times in our kids’ lives when they are just completely beyond reason. It can be frustrating to try to figure out what to do with a child who seems completely incapable of listening to you and following your instructions. Is the child being disobedient when they are beyond reason? Maybe. But it’s more important to understand what may be causing the problem in the first place, and deal with any disobedience later.
We’ve had a few instances recently where I realized that there was just no getting through to Lucas. Just tonight, during dinner and bedtime, he was completely beyond reason. He cried. He complained. He cried about everything under the sun. He threw a bigger fit than he’s ever thrown during a timeout. And throughout all of this, I noticed that his eyes were red and he was rubbing them. The child was tired!
We had a very tiring weekend with family in town. Our routine was off. Our mealtimes were off. Roomtime didn’t happen. And they went to bed very late last night, much later than they should have. To top it off, both boys slept in our room, and Lucas kept falling off the crib mattress, was in and out of our bed, and just didn’t sleep very well. But sure enough, he was up at 6:47am, as usual.
So considering the damage was done, what was I to do with this completely inconsolable, unreasonable child?
- I kept my chatter to a minimum. I knew I wasn’t going to get through to him, so I just kept quiet. Anything I did say just set him off.
- I fed him his dinner. Yes, I put the food on the fork and put every bite in his mouth. I knew this was the only way he was going to eat in his current state, and my goal was to get him fed and in bed, and do it quickly.
- I didn’t give him a shower, even though he needed it. Sleep was more important.
- I carried him upstairs, again without a word. Yes, I carried my four-year-old. I wasn’t going to attempt to drag a tired, crying child up the stairs.
- I shortened his bedtime routine and didn’t read to him. He was upset, as was I (we read every night without fail), but again, he just needed to go to sleep.
Even after I put him in bed, he cried and cried and came up with a bunch of excuses. After giving him water and helping him blow his nose, I said goodnight, ignored any other excuses, and waited for him to fall asleep. When it was quiet, I started to think about all that went wrong, and vowed to myself to do things differently the next time family is in town.
Good thing tomorrow is a new day!