Wednesday, January 26, 2011

exercise in communication

G chews on his shirts and has ruined several shirts.
He even chewed a hole in his very nice new Gator sweat shirt. So it got taken away for a month. Then he got it back and then he chewed it again. Then it got taken it away again. I finally mended the hole yesterday and this morning I caught him with just the tiniest bit in his mouth.

So I told him he would have to take it off and couldn't have it at school. He was upset. We're working on his ability to express frustration without freaking out. He's such a tolerant boy. He doesn't express annoyance, or boredom until he's really fed up, then he looses it. So we're working on this.

"Take off your sweater" I said.
"I can't" He said.
"You ate it, you can't have it"
"I'll be cold."
"Sorry, too bad."
"I'll be late for school" He said chewing his lip.
"Take it off"
"Sorry Mom" as he hugged my leg.
"Do you want to say "I'll try to stop"?" I asked.
"I'll try to stop"

So I let him keep it because he negotiated. I'm recognizing that our strict parenting was keeping him from learning this. We insisted that he keep doing things until he had no choice but to scream, literally. He is forced to do a lot in his life and has faced so much with a great attitude. I'm grateful that we're learning to ease up and let him learn to negotiate.


Okishdu said...

David chewed on the corners of his blankets when he was little. Many people chew their fingernails down to the nub. I had a cousin whose child chewed on every furniture edge he could get to with his teeth. I used to chew on pencils or on plastic that I could flatten between my teeth. Chewing on clothing is annoying to the parent because it destroys something useful. Maybe you could playfully create a 'chew toy' for your son. Maybe something relatively small that he could tie around his neck. Which part of his shirts or sweaters does he chew? Is it near the neckline or the hem. That would provide an answer as where it would be best to attach an alternative piece of material to chew. I don't chew on stuff anymore, I just gum my teeth ;I

vtricia said...

I would have made the shirt jail time shorter, like a few days, and then there would be more frequent opportunities to reinforce the message. But I'm possibly too strict as well. My husband doesn't think so. He thinks I'm too lenient on a lot of stuff.