Even before summer vacation started, I had some ideas on how to keep Jennifer preoccupied and NOT parked in front of the TV all of the dang time. (Not if I can help it!) I figured we would do some cooking together, go for nature walks, go to the park, PlayLand, do crafts, read books and go on drives/trips.
I figured this would be enough for her with no school to attend and, now, no sport/games to be a part of. Now I am not so sure.
I'm beginning to think we need to throw something else in that's a little more physically active for her.
I got this clue today, when she had a major outburst.
What happened was, she came up to me while I was trying to read a friend's blog post. (I have so many blogs to get caught up on!) She wanted me to do something which I didn't want to do. Doing this particular thing involved using a sharp knife. After accidentally cutting my left finger REALLY bad years ago when I was slicing onions, I've been a little nervous using sharp knives. Sometimes, my left hand automatically goes to my back the MINUTE I see a sharp knife! Having the kind of hand that I do, it's never easy cutting things and I still get a shiver down my spine when asked to use a sharp knife to cut things. The cut on my finger didn't need stitches, thankfully, but I can still remember the blood squirting out and the AGONIZING pain.
What I told Jennifer was that there is another way to do the thing for her craft project that did not involve using a sharp knife and I'd be happy to make that happen for her. She'd just have to wait until we got to the store later in the day, as we planned to do, so that I can buy the thing she needed.
Right then and there, she threw a tantrum. She insisted that I use the sharp knife instead. I told her I didn't want to (didn't necessarily tell her I was not comfortable using the knife) and that the other thing for her project would be MUCH better to use.
She stomped away and went to her room, slamming the door behind her. (Believe me, I can feel that door slamming a mile away!) I got up from my chair and went to her room. I reminded her about the rule we have of not slamming doors. She got REALLY angry, glowered at me and started demanding that I at least TRY to do the thing she wanted her way. I kept telling her no.
Finally, I watched my little angel transform from darling to diva right before my eyes.
She threw her head back and screamed.
I stood there, in shock, watching her throw a fit, a REAL fit, over how I wasn't doing something she wanted me to do. "Why can't you try this!" she cried. "Why you can't you try things?"
"I DO try things, Jennifer, but there are some things that I just don't want to do! And you can't force people to do things they don't want to do. That's not right."
More screaming. More crying. More drama.
I decided she needed some space to cool off. "OK, if you want to throw a fit, you can stay in your room and throw a fit," I said, walking out of her bedroom and PRAYING my neighbors weren't thinking I was physically hurting my child since they might have heard her screaming. (They already let me know they've grown irritated with my dog barking!) I waited a little while, thinking that was enough to let her cool down a bit and get all of that angst out of her system. I was still so shocked at how she was acting! Never before has she thrown such a tantrum, one that even included screaming. Where did THIS come from?? Whatever happened to my sweet, kind, considerate, patient little baby girl?
Honestly, I thought I didn't have to deal with the "drama queen" episodes most girls have until she is a teenager. But I guess it can happen at any age.
Well, I went back into her room. She was lying on her bed, crying. She sat up, looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Go away."
"No. I'm not going to go away, Jennifer," I said. I would NEVER "go away" from my children even when they want me to. I think when they say "go away" to a parent, that's when they need that parent the most! "I want to talk with you," I added, hoping that my calm voice would help her to calm down.
She just sat there, crying. She went on about why I never try anything. I told her that I DO try things but I didn't want to try this. I didn't want to handle a sharp knife to make something on her craft project that she wanted to do. I know we could've used something besides a knife -- scissors, maybe -- but I was so certain the thing I was planning to buy for her was the best thing to use for this kind of thing.
We had a long talk. I told her she'd have to calm down and stop crying and being angry before I could help her finish her project. I left her alone again and, later, she came out of her room feeling better. I gave her a hug and she apologized for her outburst. I told her I don't understand why she acted the way she did and that that kind of behavior is not acceptable. She's going to have to work on curbing her anger. Though I know that's a BIG THING to ask of a 7-year-old. Boy, once she turns 13, there might be A LOT of that door-slamming!
Anyway, all was well and peaceful again. She was still punished, though. She lost her allowance for the week. She felt bad about that but understood why she was being punished. I did buy her the thing she needed for her craft project and, after I put it on there, she was happy with it.
And I guess she felt bad for that outburst because she started helping me with the housework. I appreciated her help and told her as much. Using up that pent-up energy she has will be a great way to get rid of stress and problems she's dealing with. But I still think something else will help her get more active and use up all that energy she has in a good way, so that it won't finally come pouring out of her in a bad way.