Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Broken Record

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Broken Record

Sometimes I wonder how much Erik comprehends in terms of actions and consequences. Today I told him that if he got dressed, he could go outside, which is one of his favorite things to do. He was obviously very excited about this. However, when I asked him to come to me so we could begin the process of getting ready, he just gave me a sweet, slightly defiant smile and said that he didn't want to. He looked at me and stated he wanted to go outside. I explained that he could not go outside in his pajamas but that once he was dressed, we could do just that. He became instantly frustrated and told me no yet again. I attempted to remain calm and put his clothes back down, telling him that because he was not dressed, we would not be going outside.

A short time later, I decided to give him another chance, repeating the process with the exact same results. When I decided not to cave in and told him that my answer was still no and why, he followed this up with throwing a fit and then asking me one billion times if we could go outside, turning on the charm and hoping for different results. I repeatedly explained to him why it was we were not going outside until I felt like I was turning blue in the face. From there, upon the same question, I asked him if he understood why it was he was not getting what he wanted. He didn't really seem to have an answer. Brian listened to this whole conversation, and I wondered aloud how much of what I was saying was soaking into Erik's ears and brain. Brian's thought that some of it was but that Erik didn't seem to be able to help asking the same question over and over.

I had to agree.

Just how much understanding there is, however, remains unclear. While Erik is becoming quite talented at some things, he seems to be missing basic reasoning skills that other children seem to have that result in positive interactions and render discipline effective in any way. This is one of the many reasons we do not spank our child. I think it would prove to be confusing and hurtful to Erik without the proven ability to completely understand actions and consequences. I would always wonder if I did the right thing, as I could not determine how much he actually understood. For now, though, I continue to stand firm in my interactions with him, give time outs (which seem to break his heart at times), and hope that my explanations of actions and consequences sink in at some level to prepare him for the next situation.

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Blogger Michelle said...

Yes...I totally understand this. I have had a adopt "my way or the highway" type attitude with Ari because it's the only way she takes me seriously or listens. My mantra is "You have 2 choices you either "get dressed" or you have a time pick". She usually will snap directly to getting dressed : ) If I try to reason with her then we just stay in the middle of "the storm" as Jimmy Buffett says "it's like trying to reason with the hurriane season!" O.k... I've said enough LOL!

2:39 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Yes! It is very frustrating isn't it? We still have the same issues. I just think something is missing.. a reasoning gene maybe?

3:59 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks, ladies! It's nice to know I'm not completely off base here. I have wondered about the "reasoning gene" myself. We'll continue giving him choices and just hope for the best.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

You basically summed up every day for us, Nancy. I cannot grasp the concepts Payton is missing - but basic conversations and understanding are not easy for her. And the tantrums that follow - whew!!!!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Tes said...

We are on the "lunchbox" conversation now for the upteenth day. Reasoning? What is that? I may be losing mine.

11:52 AM  

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