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Attention Seeking/Cry Baby

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#1 MegLegs


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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:04 AM

Hi fellow mummies,

I am having a few behavioural issues with my little man and I am hoping that some of you are able to steer me in the right direction to get ontop of things, especially before this baby arrives.

I've always thought of Logan as a very independent (yet very sensitive) child - he's always wanted to do things himself and his way, but I've recently learnt that this very well may not be the case. He's in his first term at school and he's getting into trouble and a lot of it is coming down to him wanting attention (in a general sense). He's always been a bit of a cry baby, cries at everything when he doesn't get what he wants and we've always just ignored it or punished him because 'it's not what big boys do' and it's not working - we've tried time out, we've tried all sorts of scenarios to make him realise that for his age, he's acting like a baby. But it's now affecting his schooling, he's seeking attention by not listening, lashing out (which I am yet to have defined by his teacher) and again, crying at everything - is this normal?

I've always given him his space, within reason, but being a working mother (and having done so for the majority of his life) I am finding it really hard to give him the time he obviously needs. I am not able to physically pick him up from school, he goes to after school care (OSHC) 2 afternoons a week and my aunt and mother pick him up on the other days. When my mother picked him up yesterday, Logan's teacher had a few words to her about it and said that his behaviour is showing signs of not getting enough attention at home - my heart crumbled a bit, but Cameron and I talked about it at length and realised that yes, she's right. We've got so caught up in him becoming a big boy, that perhaps we've given him a bit too much space, so we've got to fix it pronto.

It's so hard at nightime: by the time I've left work, picked him up and come home it's after 6pm, and then the whole cooking dinner routine, fighting with him to eat, trying to get a little housework done... just in the mundane routine of life we haven't spent as much time with him in the last 6-months or so that he needs, and we've implemented (starting from last night) a 'block-out' of half an hour each night with either DH or I (while the other is doing dinner) to give Logan time one-on-one to do whatever he likes (within reason). Last night I had the time with him; we read a book together, played some lego and then laid on his bed and cuddled and talked (which is so freaking hard when every answer is either 'I don't know', or 'I can't remember'!) - and even the short-term results were good; he didn't play up at all, it still took like what felt like forever to eat, but we also made him understand the concept of time and that when the clock reached a certain point, the plate was taken away and that was it...

I also got up earlier this morning and got myself ready before he woke up, so I could sit down and have breakfast with him, help him dress himself instead of leaving him infront of the TV while I go and get ready.

Anyway, this is turning into a bit of a novel... but are there any other mothers out there who have experience similar behaviours with their sons? What did you do to tackle it?

It's hard to not feel guilty of course, that's part of being a mother, but I can't help but feel that this is my making... I've always worked to provide a good life for him, but at the same time, it's taken away some of his mummy that he needs, so I need to do whatever it takes to make it right, now; I don't want this to get out of control and him get into trouble as he gets older.
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#2 Nicole_R



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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:08 AM

No advice here hun.. as you know MissA is sort of similar in some aspects - the lengthy dinner time, the crying at everything... I'll be watching this thread with interest!
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#3 Channy


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Posted 24 March 2011 - 07:48 PM

I have not been in the same situation, but just wanting to add some suggestions!

I find the picking-up, cooking dinner rush really hard too. I have started preparing meals ahead that can just be heated up or slow cooker. Makes everything easier during that peak hour & perhaps free up some time that you can give to Logan?

Do you do a sport/activity on Saturday morning? Maybe something one on one with his like swimming or soccer or just a nice trip to the park? Make it a routine and he will love the ritual of some one on one mummy time?

Do you do stories before bed? Maybe a nice time to cosy up with some books and you can chat about his day?

Hope this improve for you soon,
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#4 ~ela~



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Posted 26 March 2011 - 08:29 AM

That must have broken your heart hearing that from his teacher. sad.gif

I feel the guilt too, as there are two of them and I always feel outnumbered, and they are both at a demanding age. Every night when I finally drop into bed I feel like I haven’t done enough for them.

I have noticed that one on one time makes a huge difference to his behaviour. For example once a week I make a point in getting out with just Ethan for an hour or two (however long I can have Lucas minded with someone for). We go to the park, swim at the pool, indoor play centre, read at the library, go to the shops and pick out a book. He gets all excited when it’s just the two of us going out. Likewise I now have Ethan in daycare 1/2 a day a week and Lucas gets that one on one time with me.

Channy’s idea about the slow cooker is a great idea, all kinds of things can go in there - soups, roasts, lamb shanks, chicken thighs. I have resorted to using mine a couple of times a week because it’s just too hard getting dinner cooked otherwise.

Kids love simple things like feeding the ducks, swimming at the pool, pack up lunch and head out for a picnic, going for an ice cream, going to the park/play centre, being read to. They don’t have to be all day activities, just an hour here or there.

Helping to cook. Kids love to feel that they are ‘helping’ with anything really. On a weekend you could make cupcakes/slice/scrolls together. Of even little pizzas for lunch or dinner on English Muffins or the like, ask him what he would like on his and have him put the toppings on, and into the oven, surely if he has helped make something he may be inclined to eat it? smile.gif My 13 year old cousin who everyone says they are having trouble with, she loves to make cupcakes with me (she asks me every time she sees me), it changes her mood completely and she chats - which doesn’t happen often. Sounds so simple but I do believe it comes back to that one on one time. There are a lot of kids cookbooks out, with ideas that are supposed to encourage kids to eat.

Jaydee has a great food blog - if I could just find some of her motivation too. You could even sit him next to the computer and scroll through some websites for kids food/snacks and ask him to point out what he would like to make with you?

I would try and implement something in the next few months so he is in a routine for when #2 comes along. Obviously you will all be extra busy, but for example Logan knowing that on a Saturday morning is his time at the park/swimming/out with DH, or Sunday afternoon is baking time with Mum gives him something to look forward to and it’s his special time.

Can you organise something with work where you could possibly finish early just one day a week so you can pick him up from school? Sure makes for a long day not getting home till 6pm. sad.gif

I don’t have a lot of ideas, as Ethan is only half Logan’s age, however I do know how hard it is when life gets in the way and you have to really look at where the time goes in the day and how to get some of it back.

#5 ~R~


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Posted 27 March 2011 - 11:38 AM

My friend (who is a psychologist) was having the same issue with her older son at that age (he's now just turned 13). Actually I think her life very closely reflected yours at the time in that she had recently remarried & they had a baby on the way. Both good parents but time poor.

In order to improve things they took the same approach as you - each night they would take it in turns to spend 20 mins of quality time with their son. But it was play led by him - he had to choose what they would do (within reason) & they just got involved in what he was doing. They didn't take over or even suggest activities, it was entirely up to him. Apparently the results were almost instantaneous & his behaviour and confidence improved dramatically. Now, 8 years later & he is a really great, well adjusted kid (still has his teenage moments apparently though! wink.gif) & they still do this each night with both of their sons. The activities just change & evolve as the kids get older.

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