Friday, May 9, 2008

Munchkin and the Fit

Last night Munchkin, who will be 7 in August, had a Brownie meeting. Our Brownie meetings are held at her troop leader's house so they're pretty informal. They were scrapbooking at the meeting and I, being the wonderful mommy that I am, got suckered into offered to help. The meeting ran pretty late because the project was a little more involved than we had originally anticipated and it wasn't until after 9:00 that the last girl had finished her project. I helped tidy up for a few minutes and then called out to Munchkin (who was playing with two other girls) to get her shoes on so we could get going.

Munchkin did not answer.

I called her again as I found my purse and her shoes. No answer.

So I began to look for her.

I finally found her hiding behind our troop leader's daughter's bed. Irritated, I told her to come on and get her shoes on. She grumbled and then came out of hiding and got them on. As she slowly put her socks and shoes on I helped clean up a bit more, got a teeny bit distracted by conversation and discovered that Munchkin had once again ran back into the playroom.

So I called her... again. Yep, you guessed it. No answer.

I found her again and what did she do? She ran from me. That's right. You read right. She RAN from me. She RAN in someone else's house (she's not even allowed to run in OUR house!) and made me look like an absolute moron. Our troop leader's husband grabbed her (he looked rather practiced in his technique, btw) and delivered her crying and fit throwing self to me. I dragged her (yes, literally, I had to drag her) out and put her in the car while she cried and threw this fit about how I was taking her away from her friends.

I am at a loss. Being that it was so late I did not punish her (other than a stern talking to) for this last night. She is at school now and I still don't really know what to do about her.

I have two invitations to birthday parties here for her for next weekend that I may or may not RSVP to (a Hannah Montana swim party and a bowling party) and we have a multitude of mother's day activities going on this weekend. Would not attending the birthday parties be too far away to serve as a punishment for something that happened last night? Should she not go see her grandmothers this weekend as a punishment? Does that just punish her grandmothers (and me who will inevitably need to sit home at least once and babysit her)?

I really don't know what I should do with her. This isn't the first time she's thrown a fit when leaving somewhere but this was definitely the worst fit she's had. She never gets her way and gets to stay wherever we are so I'm not sure why she continues to do this.

Advice... please... I'm begging. Thank you.

*Edited later - Thanks to everyone who gave advice! It was late and her bedtime is normally 8:00. I know she was tired. She even put herself down for a voluntary nap this afternoon before I had a chance to talk to her! I do plan on sitting her down for a talk when she wakes up and explaining that I was disappointed in her behavior and that there will be consequences should she act up like that again. Tired or not, she really must learn to control herself. I am much more level headed after your comments! Thank you!


dawn224 said...[Reply to comment]

I remember I once hid from my mom in the church because some other kid told me to. Once I was found, she sat me down and talked to me about how hiding and the dangers of me hiding (I think it was in the 'boy cried wolf' kind of way). She was rational and I don't think I hid from her again.

I think you said you have two invitations for parties there. You could sit her down and talk to her about last night, then tell her that you are going to trust her to do better next time. You are going to let her "try again" to behave. From now on out, if she acts like that, then the next outing will be canceled. I'd even make her be the one to call and tell the person that she won't be coming and why.

Now go eat some chocolate before she gets home :)

Melissa said...[Reply to comment]

I agree with Dawn...offer a little bit of grace here because it was so late. I don't know what her regular bedtime is, but my kids are monsters when they're really tired.

Michelle@Life with Three said...[Reply to comment]

First -- I'm no professional in this area. We have similar struggles and I wish there was a "magic bullet." My oldest is 5 1/2, so the way I would handle it might or might not work for your daughter. This is what I would do, but it's certainly not the only way of handling the situation.

I'm not sure what your daughter's normal bedtime is. Additionally, I don't know what kind of food they were eating at the scrapbooking party. I know at my scrapbooking parties, we eat a lot of sugar. So, sugar + overtired always equals meltdown in our house. I think you were smart to not discipline the behavior straight out because it could have been influenced by other factors.

That being said -- you don't want to tolerate that behavior (obviously). What I would do is similar to what Dawn suggested. I would sit her down and discuss what happened. I would also validate her feelings -- meaning, let her know that you understand she was upset that she had to leave. It's okay to be upset. Her behavior is not okay. Then I would make it clear that behavior is completely unacceptable and this is her warning. If she ever acts like that again, there will be consequences (that you choose). It might be not going to a party, taking away another priviledge (whatever is going to get her attention). If the behavior continues, I'd keep taking away more significant things until you find the thing that works. It might take a few trys to find just the right consequence.

Most importantly, don't beat yourself up. It has nothing to do with you -- she's testing her boundaries. It's completely normal. You just have to make sure she's clear where you have drawn the lines.

Sorry for the long comment. Hope that helps!

Kristen said...[Reply to comment]

I agree with Dawn and Michelle. Especially if this is a new thing and not an established habit for Munchkin. Explain the next fun event is a way to regain your trust and prove she is capable of attending fun events. If her behavior does not meet the specified criteria (be clear about this beforehand), she sits out the next fun event. The most important thing is that you follow through with the consequence even if it means you have to miss the fun event!!!

mah-meeee said...[Reply to comment]

I'm not sure about 7 year olds, but a technique that works well at our home is abit similar to the ones mentioned above.

I would probably sit her down, discussed what happened and how you will not tolerate a behavior like that.

Then I would offer her the events she was invited to and tell her how you expect her to behave at the events. And IF the expectations were not met during the first event, all the following events will be canceled immediately after.

Anyway, kids will be kids and will continue to test us.

Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

A children's psychologist once told me, that just like we grown ups have our up and down days, so do children. Only difference is, that we have learnt social behaviour, and children have not.

I don't think I would stress about the whole thing too much. It was late in the evening, may be she was having a bad hair day... but may be she does need a little rest over the weekend. Talk to her, and explain her behaviour was wrong. Should something like that happen in future, there will be some agreed upon punishment.

As for the weekend activities, let her choose 1 of the parties. Two is a little much, and most definitely go visit her granny! Also from the psychologist, the input of grandparents in a child's life, is equally important than that of a parent!


MP said...[Reply to comment]

man you have alot of smart people that read your blog :-) I would have said "lock her in the closet"..No not really.
If it was my step son it would I would have WANTED to swat him on the tush when we got home and taken away a home privilage for the next day..but that is husband would done the stern talk to..then moved on, hoping it didn't happen again. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Happy mother's day

Michelle said...[Reply to comment]

I'm with the others. We were having that issue with Little Miss (granted, she's only 2 1/2) where she'd throw a fit and try to run when it was time to leave places.

She started learning that if she was going to do that, she was slowly going to start losing her favorite toys. And if she did it at a particular place again after having been warned, we would be on haitus from there for awhile.

She gets it. She'll actually tell me that she's going to be good, and she remembers that it's great to have fun somewhere but to ensure we can keep coming, we have to behave when it's time to leave, too.

It sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck!

Elizabeth said...[Reply to comment]

Great advice from the others.
I'll just add that children have no sense of satiation. They can never really "get enough" of what they are doing. If they have a three hour playdate, they want four or five. If it is an all day event, they will want a sleep over.
(which BTW we don't do...ever).
Talking to her, when she is well reated and before any outing, about the time limits and what you expect of her could help. Also, I know that I often contribute to the "run away and hide" game when I continue my conversation with the adults and ignore what my girls are doing...until it bothers me. OOPS, "but mom....YOU were talking to Mrs. X....." Anyway found you through Dawn M. Stop by "my place" if you get a chance.
Blessings, EJT

Unknown said...[Reply to comment]

I always find it works with my daighter if I start to remind her that it'll soon be time to go anything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes before hand depending on how long the entire outing is. She seems to respond really well to being given a reminder two or three times alogn the lines of "we'll have to leave soon" once or twice and then an "Ok, start clearing up while I get your things together we'll have to leave in ten minutes or so" maybe followed by an "are you ready to leave now a few minutes later, and then out the door.

I think it's just that she isn't surprised to be leaving and it hasn't been sprung on her, plus she may only be three but she knows if I say we'll be leaving in ten minutes, she doesn't have time to start a new game. She's a bit more aware of time than I give her credit for actually.

It's a bit long winded but I've been doing it that long now that I find she only needs one reminder now.

Hope this helps.