Last night’s bedtime included a surprise lesson about being able to teach your older child consequences. Don’t you just love how there is no playbook for life? Bam right there you are, worn out from the day and you have to make the right choice so you don’t go screwing up your children.
The Bedtime Temper Tantrum
So do you ever experience, random outburst from your children, tantrums?
Just when you think they are older and you can talk to them like an adult. When they suddenly burst into a wildebeest like tantrum?
What happen to my rational, well developed trouble solving child? I saw her earlier today? She is here every day. Then you tell her something that seems like it doesn’t bother her at the time.
You talk to her in a logical manner and nothing happens. Ok good to go right? Lol, you silly thing not a fat chance.
Our whole scene started last night over mattress on her day bed. There is a basically an additional mattress underneath the bed for friends to sleep on. Her new mattress is on the roll out bed and her old mattress is on the day bed itself where she sleeps.
I was washing her sheets yesterday and noticed that her mattress wasn’t very comfortable. I noticed while putting the sheets on, I could actually feel the bar poking me in the leg. I thought to myself, you know what I’m going to switch these out.
She is gonna get a great night’s sleep. Awesome.
Letting Your Child Know Their Normal Has Changed
Choosing What Action to Take
It’s about an hour before bedtime last night maybe 2 hours. I let her know I switched her mattress out could she check it out and make sure she was ok with it, everything is good and it works for you? Cool
About an hour before bed she crawled up on her bed with her tablet and hung out for about 30 minutes. Sweet the bed is good.
The Tantrum Begins
That all changed, the wildebeest came out when I cued bedtime.
I’m not even sure she laid down to test the mattress, but all of a sudden it was a hard.
NO. Not Okay, it was the most uncomfortable thing she had ever slept on and she hated it so bad. She wanted her old mattress, she wasn’t going to sleep and she sure as heck wasn’t going to lay down. Cue dramatic music, flopping around, and arm folded stubbornness?
Have you been there, has this ever happened to you? When your rational child just freaks out.
Attempt to Rationalize with the Agitated Child
Okay, I suggest to her it will be alright. Ahh Voice Of Reason! Go ahead and sleep on it tonight. I will be happy to transfer it tomorrow. However, I’m not going to switch them out tonight because I asked you in advance to make sure this wasn’t going to be a big deal. It’s already 10 minutes past your bedtime.
Normally I can understand 10 minutes not being a huge deal but we have already had to set her bedtime later due to other unavoidable reasons. So, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m ready to go to bed. It’s bed.
You know there is always the option of pulling out the roll away bed and sleeping on that one. You simple pull it out, it’s on wheels. I washed the sheets on that one as well, fresh bed and it has her old mattress on it.
Nope, not gonna do that either. How dare you even suggest such a thing?
Teach Your Older Child Consequences
So I did whatever parent has probably done at some point. I know she is rational, we are going to give that another go.
I present to her, Hey, I need you to calm down and go to sleep if not there will be consequences. Just for tonight and I will change them out tomorrow. She sleeps on the floor, she can sleep on this mattress that is a bit a cushier for one night. Talking to your child about consequences during a tantrum is not a solution. There is no rational to be found.
Bring Up the Consequence for the Action
Ok You want to stay the night with your friend this weekend? You are going to have to calm down and go to sleep if you want to stay the night with your friend.
Reasonable child step back in? Can I get a yes, yes, heck yes?
Noooo, nooo I cannot.
Fine, I guess I just won’t stay the night at my friend’s house this weekend.
It’s a clean mattress, clean bedding, and sheets. It’s not super squishy or anything just a bit thicker. She has slept on multiple beds, couches, floors.
I went to the other room to use the restroom or something I came back and the child was trying to sleep on the tile floor.
So, after trying to deal with, trying lay down the law. She is sitting on the love seat with her blanket by now.
Give the Child Space and Silence: The Solution You Should Start With
I’m just like hey, it’s time to go to bed.
Figure it out where you are gonna sleep, I love you, good night.
Eventually, she pulled out the roll away bed and slept on that.
It’s so hard to just be quiet and let them be. You want to explain everything to them until they understand it. While at this point they aren’t even attempting to listen to you.
Think about the Charlie Brown wha, wha, wha …..everything you say is hitting a brick wall at this point in time and you are wasting your breath.
A tantrum means they are already out of control your words are better left for when they are calmed down and able to actually listen to you again.
Teach Your Child to Pay for Their Actions
I felt bad this morning, I felt bad. I knew she was wanting to stay the night with her friend this weekend and she let her tantrum get the way of it.
And me, thinking it would be a viable solution used it as, leverage, I guess if you will, to get her to do what I wanted.
Now what I wanted was good for her, it wasn’t bad for her in any way. But it backfired. She all of a sudden wasn’t going to do something she would have enjoyed because of a silly temper tantrum.
But I can’t just go back on my word. I mean we all know those parents. None of us want to be “those parents”. Yeah your friends had them back when you were in school.
You know their parents would say they were grounded for 2 weeks and the next night they were staying the night at your house.
Don’t be that guy.
You don’t want to have the child that never listens because you always end up giving in anyways.
I’m guessing you don’t want your kid’s life to suck either.
So what I came up with this morning was having her earn back her night.
Yes, it is me going back on my word, but in the same since she is kinda buying the right to go, she is paying for her consequences. She is learning that for every action there is a consequence.
She did something silly and she has to pay for it.
Say you speeding and you have to pay for your ticket.
Well you did it, pay for the consequences.
I gave her a couple chores.
I told her this morning, I know you want to stay the night with your friend this weekend. To make up for your actions I’m going to need you to gain back that privilege.
You can fold the laundry, and you know it’s the socks and the whites, and mainly just all the socks! So many socks. Clean the small bathroom downstairs as well.
I have no idea on which way the child is going to respond. She could be like, ehhh I don’t want to stay the night with my friend that bad.
I’m not sure.
I hope, she will pick the chores and step and up and pay for her consequences but I don’t know.
She wasn’t super awake this morning so I will talk to her more about it tonight.
My guess is it’s not real, she isn’t as excited about staying the night with her friend as I thought.
The rewards not there because she isn’t at school talking to her friend about staying the night.
I’m anxious to see how this plays out.
What would you do this if you were in this situation?
Was it too harsh? Too easy?
Am I still going back on my word? Let me know. Go ahead and weigh in on this tantrum and what tantrum resolutions have you found that work great for you and your children? How do you teach your older child consequences?
P.S. She has since returned home from school and after I asked her she said, I’m probably just not going to friend’s house.
Oh no, my plan backfired!
She then follows up with, friend’s mom said I couldn’t stay the night for whatever reason. Sigh.
Here I am trying to teach my child something meaningful and the plan doesn’t go accordingly, imagine that.
So I asked, well if you had been able to stay the night what would you have picked? She says, I probably would have done the chores. I throw my hands up in victory, then realize I need to change that up next time cause now there is no sleep over and no consequence. Parenting Is a Work In Progress my Friends!
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