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It's just a phase.....

 
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:15 am
I hear this all the time:

"It's just a phase."
"He'll grow out of it."
"It's a normal stage of development."
"Blahbiddeblahblahblah."

Okay, I get it. But what I don't get is -- doesn't a phase, and how it's handled by the supposedly mature adults around a kid, shape that kid into what he will become and how s/he will interact with people?

"It's just a phase" seems like such a blow-off expression, like the outcome of the phase will have absolutely no effect on the child's future behavior.

For example: Mo is going through this rude-boy phase so I sit down to read aobut the best way to handle the little sass master and discover that it is a phase, that kids his age (8) start getting peer pressure, start asserting their independence, start dissing their parents as a way to fit in blahblahblah.

The advice is all over the place, including:

Ignore it (yeah, right)
Humble yourself (huh?)
Attack it (yikes!)

One thing all the advice agrees to: it's just a phase, it'll pass (thank god for small favors!), like it's really no big deal long term.

What do you think? Is it a big deal or is it no big deal?
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:33 am
@boomerang,
I'm in my 58th year of my "phase".

but seriously...I have an unusual retentive memory - so I'm recalling my difficult stage at that age. My parents were from an older generation (Depression-era) didn't deal with it well. Their approach to dealing with my rebellion to their authority was to stifle and squash. My approach was to dig my heals in more..same as my older siblings.

In retrospect, my thoughts now on this is for a parent to somehow allow the child to feel heard about their wants, but to realize they can't have their way just because they throw a fit or are adamantly stubborn. They need to feel as though their will is acknowledged, but you (authority) know best and what you tell them must be obeyed for their own good. As I'm sure you know, time-out is often effective.

Not sure if this helps you but I think is making them not feel so small that they have no choice BUT to rebel.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:46 am
Without suggesting that i am personally a good example of the success of the method, i'd like to describe how my grandparents reacted to "phases." They didn't. Our speech at table (everyone sat down for dinner every evening) was corrected for grammar and propriety. Our speech at all times was corrected for respect and courtesy, without regard to whom was being addressed nor upon what subject. Our behavior, other than speech, was always subject to criticism and correction. The ultimate punishment, if all else failed was "If you put your feet under my table . . ." the implication being that you might see how you like going without a meal. I know of no one subjected to this system who ever missed more than one meal, and this was pretty much the method used by all of the parents with whom i was familiar.

I realize it is not easy, but i'd say that if you set standards of speech and behavior (and i suspect you do), you should ignore "phases," and insist upon the standards.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:48 am
@boomerang,
Yes. How you deal with the phases in large part determines his coping skills as an adult.

But knowing that it is a phase can help you not take it personally.
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:50 am
@DrewDad,
put yourself into the kids shoes.

im not a parent but i like the way someone was talking about it.

if your trying not to move your arm and someone else is trying to make your arm move, if u fight it your worse off than if you just tried to hold your arm in that some place.

aggressive, "assertive", submissive.

or someshit.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 10:09 am
@DrewDad,
That's a good way to put it.

I do know what you mean, boomer. I think maybe when we were talking about what a little monster sozlet was right after we moved I mentioned something like this -- that while I got it, I simultaneously didn't want to condone behavior that was unacceptable.

I think DrewDad's distinction is a good way to divide the parts of it. On the one hand, the little monster is pissing you off. Being pissed off is never a really good place to come from, discipline-wise (some exceptions). So if you can draw that emotional line -- OK, it's annoying as hell but it's developmentally normal/ to be expected given the circumstances/ whatever -- then you can kind of take a deep breath and then figure out how to handle it from a less emotional place.

And I don't think that a problematic phase should be given the hands-off-treatment -- I think it should be made clear throughout that the behavior is unacceptable. There can listening and contextual stuff too, like, I dunno, giving him more responsibilities that he CAN handle, so he's feeling a little more autonomous and you have something to praise... that is, addressing the underlying issue, if there is one.

But even that won't necessarily "fix" the problem -- which is where knowledge that it will end at some point because it's "just a phase" can help you get through it.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 10:13 am
@sozobe,
well put!
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 10:46 am
@boomerang,
Yes, there are phases and yes know you handle them will/could affect a child for the long term. These phases are usually how a child learns to handle a situation. Just because a child is going through a phase does not exempt him or her from learning the appropriate behavior. Even though it is a phase, they do need to learn what the appropriate way to behave and handle things.

I think often times we tell one another it is just a phase is to help relieve the parent. Not to say it is ok for your child to act a certain way, but so a parent can understand why a normally sweet child has suddenly turned into a monster. I think it is rare for one of us to suggest just let the child act up when going through a phase. It is more a way to say, you are doing things right, or maybe try this, it worked for my little monster when he was going through this phase. And also to help the parent realize, yes this too will end (but only to begin another phase).

Sometimes it is just helpful to know that others have gone through this phase and survived and knowing that at some point your child may become sweet again.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 12:21 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
yes this too will end (but only to begin another phase).

<snork>
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 12:25 pm
I've mentioned token economies before, but have you tried it?

We use poker chips (blue for Keetah, red for Yaya).

Each night before bed, we "do chips". They each have a list of problem behaviors, and they get a chip for fixing the behaviors. (Some are positive behaviors, like sharing, and some are negative behaviors, like backtalk or nose mining).

They can then trade in chips for rewards, like extra books at bedtime, computer time, a trip to the ice cream store, etc.)
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 12:37 pm
@boomerang,
Oh yeah. I think the rude boy phase lasts at least another year.

Not that you should emulate me, but I stand up for myself. I'm not letting the little bugger put me down or disrespect me. But I recognize what he's doing and try to give him opportunities to save face. If he does it in front of his friends, I give him "the look". That's a warning that if he doesn't want to be embarrassed in front of his friends he'd better lay off.

I did once tell him that when other people hear a child speak that way to his parents they think the child is an insolent brat and that the parents are raising him badly. I went farther saying that I didn't want complete strangers to make such negative judgments about my kid when I know that he's not a brat, but those few seconds of mouthiness might be all other people have to judge him by. Don't know if it was the talk, but he definitely only sasses in private now.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 12:39 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

But knowing that it is a phase can help you not take it personally.

Now that's the truth, Ruth.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 12:45 pm
@FreeDuck,

DrewDad wrote:

But knowing that it is a phase can help you not take it personally.


I agree here too, and it gives me reassurance that pre-teenage girls are a
punishment for our teenage sins. Evil or Very Mad Now I know where mothers get
all the grey hair from *sigh*
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:02 pm
@CalamityJane,
By the way, there is a local reporter and mother here in town who has
a great website for parent resources http://suchasmartmom.com/
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:07 pm
I occasionally watch "85,000 Children" on the tee-vee (that's what we call it, it is also known as "Jon & Kate Plus 8"). I pity those folks when that tribe reaches adolescence . . .
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:08 pm
I remember reading about 8 year olds and how they tended to be "out of bounds" both in terms of their words and their actions. That they would say things they'd never said before and that they would push the limits like they hadn't done since they were four, including things like running out into the road in traffic. Wooboy!

Sure enough, we were walking around the block one night after dinner and my eight year old jumped in front of an on-coming car. It's a highly impulsive stage. That doesn't mean that you don't need to react appropriately to both verbal and physical actions that are out of bounds, but it's nice to know that they are age-appropriate behaviors even when they aren't appropriate.
mismi
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:21 pm
@Setanta,
It gives me hives...I have a hard time keeping my three close in age children in hand...but they are boys... Wink

I agree JPB...it is nice to know that your child is not a little lunatic bent on making you the same....I like what Set said earlier - setting the standard and teach them to live by it and ignoring the phase...(but comforting to know it's a phase TO BE SURE)
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 09:45 pm
@JPB,
Funny thing you said that about highly impulsive stage. It triggered a memory of what I did in when I was 7 or 8. I was at recess and was standing about 5 feet higher than one kid on an elevated playground and a kid was walking up a driveway that led into the playground. I leaped down and jumped on the kid. I guess I saw the Lone Ranger or Hopalong Cassidy do this. You may ask whatever possesed me ....as to why I did this? No clue. I was not a violent type nor did I even know the kid. Somehow I thought it would be funny and I never thought that it might hurt him or get me in trouble. I guess I couldn't forsee any consequences to my actions.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 07:58 am
My internet connection was out most of the day yesterday so a belated "thank you" to all of you.

The last time rude boy got way out of hand was last Friday and at which time I told him he "owed me a day". Yesterday was the day. Mo had to help me off-load three yards of garden dirt and stack a half cord of wood. Exhaustion will sap the sass right out of anyone. It also provided us with several uninterrupted hours to discuss what the heck was going on.

He kept suggesting that all this work should surely result in some cash and I kept reminding him that he was working off his debt, that once this work was done he could start working to get back in my good graces to have friends over again.

We currently have a token economy that goes between school and home -- this is helping at school a lot, at home? not so much. I know part of it is that he just needs to blow off some steam after working so hard to keep things in control all day at school.

I agree that pissed off is not a good place to come from and it is really, really hard not to get pissed off at the rude boy. I do try to set a good example of how to deal with frustration but I'm guilty of getting a little quiet crazy when bombarded by bullshit (no hitting, screaming or freak outing, and don't worry, I recover quickly).

Between the "tsk tsk tsking" and the "it's just a phasing" it would be nice to find a middle road.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 08:16 am
@boomerang,
Congrats go to you 'cause IMHO it really sounds from what you write here that you DO have a handle on it. Bravo for being human and in SPITE of your limitations (we all have 'em), you're doing well at setting a realistic example.
0 Replies
 
 

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