Tag Archives: Good Behavior

Why It’s Always The End Of The World For Your Child

In my house, the end of the world came around with a distressing regularity.

With three young dudes growing up in the same house, being ruled over by the meanest, most horrible dictator ever to put on a pair of pants and then jump up and down on poor, defenseless boys who only wanted so very little. . .

Those poor young dudes. It must have been like living in hell. Only, the thing of it is. . . I was there. It wasn’t hell for anyone. Anyone but an adult in the vicinity.

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You’ve all seen it. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve seen it.Pulling an ugly face is a regular occurrence for little dudes during their toddler years. And beyond, if I'm being honest.

Something happens and suddenly the world ends for a young dudette, who starts screaming and yelling and crying and throwing herself onto the floor of the grocery store and acting like the end is not only nigh, but already here and wearing spiked heels to step on her.

On a (slightly) less histrionic level, I and probably most parents in the history of history have heard just about every single variation on the phrase, “This was the worst. Evar!”

I mean, seriously. If I hear that again, I just might be the one who screams.

So, yeah. We’ve all seen this sort of thing happen. Something minor rocks the little dude’s world and he reacts like someone tried to cut off his arm and beat his puppy to death with it. (Although that might be a bit of a harsh simile. Accurate, but still harsh.)

The big question (other than, “How do I stop this? Or, barring that, make a clean get away without being caught?) is why? Why do our little dudes and dudettes react so over the top?

The easiest answer is also the one about which we can do the least. They simply have no basis for comparison. When young dudes aren’t yet six or so, they are all about existing in the now.

If it already happened, it doesn’t matter. If it will happen in the future, it doesn’t matter. Right now. That’s all that matters.

Which means that, if a child doesn’t have something right now, at this very moment, it will never happen. They will forever be deprived, just like they have always been deprived of what they want. That’s a hard thing to face, especially for tiny humans who have so little experience.

Which leads us to a second reason. Being young, they have no basis for comparison. When little J’Amelia is mean to your daughter in school, it might be the worst day of her life so far. Really. She might not be exaggerating. Oh, she will experience worse (much, much worse) later in her life, but being young, she still hasn’t enjoyed all of life’s little jokes.

Young dudettes and dudes don’t have the life experience necessary to really make a good comparison between miseries. Stubbing her toe is bad and hurts, but they can’t ask themselves if it’s anywhere near as bad as that time they broke their arm. Or cut open their thumb. Or, really, anything.

Our ability to compare allows us to realize that it’s just pain and we’ve had worse, which allows us to calm down.

And, that’s another thing. We, as adults, are supposed to be rational, thinking beings. (I’m going to be nice and say most of us are, although, in my heart of hearts, I doubt it.) The brains of young kids don’t fully mature until they’re much, much older, say, around 25 or so for boys.

Unfortunately for the ears around them, their limbic system (which controls their emotions) is fully functioning, firing on all cylinders. Toddler brains become flooded with the hormones and neurotransmitters that cause pain and anger and sorrow and all the rest, but they don’t have the cognitive skill and experience to overcome that and regain control of themselves.

Looking back, I’m not sure I was able to offer much in the way of hope for struggling parents. Other than the obvious: This, too, shall pass.

And, though you doubt it in the midst of a truly epic meltdown, it will get better. All you have to do is stay relatively calm and help your little dude through his current issue.

It’s not personal. It’s just what and who they are at the moment. Keep showing good behavior, being a good role model and talking them through their experiences so they learn the right thing and . . . everything should be fine.

I’m going to do you younger parents a favor and not even bring up the teenage years here. Mostly because I’m a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and there’s some stuff up with which no one should put.

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Making Friends

by Richard

Sometimes it’s hard for a young dude with ADD to make new friends. I’ve seen that first hand and experienced it somewhat in my own life.

Along those lines, there’s a great article in the newest issue of ADDitude magazine that talks about how we, as parents, can help our young dudes and dudettes with attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder to make new friends.

Here’s what parents who read the magazine suggested.

1. Play matchmaker

2. Make friends with other parents

3. Get the young dudes and dudettes involved in group activities

4. Organize playdates (for the younger set)

5. Good behavior makes good friendships

6. Give your young dudes and dudettes talking points and reminders

For the most part, I think these are some pretty good suggestions. The only one I really have a problem with is No. 2, which basically assumes that because we parents are friends the kids will be friends as well. They also suggest that we talk to the parents of kids in our  young dude’s class and tell the parents about any social problems. Assuming then that they would tell their kids to include ours in play activities. I don’t know. . . that sounds like pity play to me and I thought we were supposed to be encouraging friendships.

Of all these, I think the best idea is to get your young dude or dudette involved in group activities. And here I’m thinking specifically about sports teams. Not only will they get some good exercise out of the deal, but the shared experiences will really foster bonding and friendship between teammates.

The most important, though, probably are the final two. These are the ones I’ve most noticed impeding my own young dudes’ efforts at making friendship. All three of the young dudes have a tendency toward acting more than a little goofy. We tried to develop code words that would draw their attention to their behavior. That way, we didn’t actually have to reprimand them in front of guests/friends.

It’s the last one, though, that I think is what can really make a difference. For instance, Hyper Lad makes acquaintances really easy. Not friends, acquaintances. He’ll talk about his great friend, say, Rob. I’ll ask what his last name is. Hyper Lad has no idea. He also has no phone number or other way to contact the kid.

Our young dudes have a tendency to hyper-focus on what they’re doing in the moment and that leaves them forgetful about making sure they stay in contact with would-be friends. That’s where we can help out. A simple reminder might be all that’s needed to kick them into friend-making mode.

Not only a good idea, a good plan.

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