Disrespectful Little Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy

Disrespectful Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy

I want to share with you a little experience I had with Dragon Boy at a concert not too long ago.

Don’t you love it when your parenting skills are called into question in a very public way? That’s kind of what happened. We took the boys to a concert, Stolen Silver (who was awesome!) and Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. We had fun. So much fun. Dancing, singing, running around. There were lots of other kids there and it was a great family experience. The picture above is us dancing before things went awry.

But something happens to Dragon Boy in these kind of situations. I should have seen it coming and taken measure to prevent what was coming but I didn’t. Lots of noise, lots of movement, lots of people, lots of a lot of craziness. It’s over stimulating and almost always leads to something not so great happening. I should have seen the wild look in his eyes and taken him outside. Life is full of should haves.

It started with Dragon Boy running up full blast and punching me in the butt. Totally unacceptable. He wasn’t doing it to be mean, he was just very amped up and decided that was the fun thing to do. Second time I caught him and told him I did not like that and if he did it again, we would have to leave.

I thought we were doing good since he decided to just run laps around the bleachers and leave me alone. But about 5 minutes after the butt punching talk, I felt an empty can of soda hit me in the back. The little stinker decided throwing an empty can of soda at me in front of a bleacher full of people would be awesome.

I could feel the judgmental eyes boring holes in me. Everyone thinking, “I wonder what she’s going to do” or “I hope that little brat gets what’s coming to him”. Heck, back BC (before children), I would have thought the same thing. I even heard someone say “Ooh, he’s gonna get it” as we walked by.

What did I do? First I took him away from all those drilling eyes. Second, I took a few deep breaths. I was mad and jerking him around, yelling, spanking wasn’t going to do either of us any good. At this point, he still didn’t even realize he had done something bad and any punishment would have been confusing.

I tried talking to him but he was still very very wound up. He wasn’t ignoring me, he was just overly stimulated and couldn’t hear me. I had him sit on my lap until I could feel him relax. When he could look me in the eyes, then I talked to him.

We did go back to the concert. Best situation would have been to leave then but I didn’t want to punish the other boys for Dragon Boy being over stimulated. We sat at the back, no more running around, just listening to the music.

So What Exactly is This Post About

The reason I wanted to share this experience is because maybe it will help someone change perspective. This situation wasn’t about Dragon Boy’s behavior, it was about what he was experiencing. Sometimes when we are able to back up and see things from the outside, we can see what is causing certain behaviors. ┬áKids don’t like having temper tantrums, they aren’t trying to be naughty. They aren’t thinking, “What can I do to really tick Mom off?” There is always a reason behind these behaviors and when we can see that, many times we can fix it without yelling, without spanking, without getting mad. And if we can’t change the situation, at least we can understand.

“You child isn’t giving you a hard time, your child is having a hard time.”

3 comments to Disrespectful Little Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy

  • Natasha M.

    That last bit is sage, “you’re child is having a hard time!” It’s nice to hear this story, and it’s honesty, and thank you for it. The only additional thing I do with my son is work on how to react to his overstimulation. Teaching impulse control through mindfulness can take a long time, especially from the apex of stress on an organism, and I wish someone had given me a clue when I was young. I also tend to see this evolutionarily. We haven’t had all of this sound and light pollution for very long in the score of human evolution. We forget the healing properties of silence, of inner dialogue, of true conversation about anything beyond whatever is currently stimulating us. Constant meme communication can freak me out for this reason, but no one seems to get it.

    I don’t know how to feel about saying this yet but honestly, when I leave the house I remind myself that most everyone I meet will be unable to see me, or hear me, and they are, for the large part, on quests to achieve the fulfillment of a need, somewhat like a ravenous beast. Most of the planet can’t see reality aside from their own needs. So, if something goes awry I immediately assess whose needs aren’t being meet in the transaction. You can’t meet everyone’s needs but you can understand them and be respectful and compassionate of others. Being compassionate is so uncool these days. I rambled… this post got me going:) Thank you for your perspective, it was refreshing.

    • Melanie

      Yes! My mom gave me that advice when Computer Boy (now 14) was young. She told me with one of my brother she was able to calm him down by helping him recognize when he was getting over excited and making a choice to calm down. Computer Boy was just as easily stimulated as Dragon Boy, if not more so. Around age 4 or 5 I pulled him aside once when he was overstimulated and ask him how he was feeling. He told me the world felt like it was going “faster, faster, fasterfasterfaster”. That was amazing insight into what was going on with him. I told him when he feels like that, he can make a choice to calm himself down, to close his eyes and take a deep breath. From then on, I could calm him down simply by telling him he was getting “crazy eyes”.

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