Sunday, March 4, 2012

Behave Yourself! Part 2 of 2

This issue, my issue, will rear its ugly head at times, hence part 2. Read Part 1. We have a pretty wonderful little 5 year old if I do say so myself. He loves to love and be loved. It's very rare that we  "get angry" or express our disappointment. And when we do, his little heart breaks and when that happens, mine does too.

As we've lived so far away from our family for nearly all of his little life, Skype dates are necessary and mandatory. And of course, they sometimes come when he's completely disinterested in chatting. Well he usually always needs to be prodded to 'smile for the camera' as it were. I can't blame the kid really. It's hard to develop intimacy via Webcam, especially when there are so many tangible things to do: read, watch a movie, play, etc, most activities involving flesh and blood humans as opposed to the virtual ones.

I've tried to explain the concept: Grandparents are far away. They love you. They want to talk to you. blah, blah, blah. The concept is likely still a little advanced for him to wrap his head and heart around. So when they call, expecting a performing monkey (which they do), I don't expect him to be one but I do expect him to at least be polite. And loudly proclaiming in an annoyed voice, "Mom, I want to watch a movie now." while they're in the middle of asking him a question "hurts their feelings". I try to help along the Skype dates by encouraging him to show his art or remind him of the highlights in his day to share. I'm also sensitive to the fact that he's only 5 so five minutes of his time is really all anyone should expect.

I was 'angry' tonight because I was embarrassed. That's not cool and my 'angry' reaction to the situation likely wasn't either and I know it. Though after some stern words, I did make sure to dry his tears and reassure him that I love him and leave things on a good note, unlike what my own mother would have done back in the day. So there's a few Parenting Points.

All that said, I do want to teach my son compassion and sensitivity for other people's feelings. I'm looking for ideas. I'd like to go beyond "doing/saying things to please other people" and instill in him some joy in these conversations with his grandparents or at the very least some tolerance. Because right now, he's likely viewing his participation as a sort of punishment. Any ideas? As I've written in previous posts, I struggle with the "behavior" issue :-(.