I’m reaching out to all you mothers and fathers out there for some advice. I’m having issues with Alex not following directions and doing what he’s told. I realize that part of this is the age, but this can’t keep going on. Every morning I fight with him to get out of bed. I realize that putting him to bed earlier might help, but we already start the process at 7:30 so they’re in bed by 8:00. Last night they were in bed by 7:45 and it we had the same problem this morning. Worse than usual, actually. “I’m too tired to get dressed”, he says. It takes so long to get them dressed and out the door in the morning that I’ve been late to work every day since we got that first snow about two weeks ago (and the addition of snowsuits and boots to the routine). And if I get him up even earlier, then not only do I have to get up earlier (and 5:45 is early enough!), then he’s just going to be even more tired. When he cooperates, we get out on time.
This morning, he didn’t want his boots, but he had to wear them. Then he didn’t want to put his coat on. I threatened to take him outside without it. Then he didn’t want to put his coat on by himself. Beth went to daycare with her hair still sticking up on one side (I did manage to comb the other side) because I wasted so much time fighting with Alex. I really need Alex to take care of getting himself ready while I get Beth ready instead of me having to do it after I’m done with Beth. On those rare occasions when he does it without fighting, I make sure I tell him that I’m happy with his behavior and that it’s really helpful to Mommy when he gets himself ready.
But it’s not just in the mornings. There’s a lot of times that he simply refuses to do what he’s told. Other times he’s fine. Every week he asks me if he’s going to go swimming (which doesn’t start up again until the end of January) and I finally told him that if he doesn’t start doing what he’s told when he’s told, he’s not going to get to go swimming because I’m not going to reward bad behavior. Not only is that threat not working, I don’t really want to follow through with it because he does need to learn to swim. But I don’t know what else to try. Even the Santa threat is not working. Do I really start putting him to bed at 7, or even 6:30 to see if he gets up better in the morning? Eric gets home just before 6:00 and we try eat dinner right away, but some days we would literally be clearing up the dinner dishes and then putting him to bed. Plus I don’t think that we can put Beth to bed that early since she seems just fine in the morning. Oh, and this goes beyond simply having to tell him multiple times because he’s interested in something else. He flat out will tell me “No” and not do it.
So – Is there some trick that you found worked with your kids? Jenna is an awful dawdler, even at age 14, and I really don’t need two more kids like that so I want to nip this in the bud early if I can. Or am I just stuck with dealing with this for another year or two because it’s just a phase they go through?
And in spite of how mad I was with him this morning, I put on a smile and kissed him and told him I loved him just like I always do when I drop him off at school.