Got a behavior question for you guys. T is sort of confounding me. Dude is able to express his feelings so clearly, but being able to express them and actually expressing them instead of acting out are two different things.
A perfect example is Friday afternoon. He is allowed to watch TV when he gets home from school. He is pooped by then, so it’s a good time of day for him to veg a bit. He doesn’t nap anymore, we call it his siesta. After a while I told him he needed to pee. I said he could wait until the commercial, but if he didn’t pee I’d turn the TV off for the rest of the day. Dude hates to take the time to pee. He holds it until a tiny bit dribbles out and then he hightails it to the bathroom. So we’ve got to tell him to go. He clearly was annoyed that I was making him pee, but he stomped off to do it.
A few moments later he called for me. I assumed he pooped, he does still need help in that department. But nope. He had extravagantly emptied his very full bladder all over the floor. It had splashed onto both walls, the puddle completely surrounded the toilet. I was speechless. When I regained my composure I asked him what happened.
“Well,” he said, “I tried to pee in the toilet and I missed.” “Wow,” I replied, “I don’t believe you. If you tried to pee in the toilet and missed there might be a little pee on the floor. But there is zero pee in the toilet and all the pee on the floor. You did this on purpose. And you have to stay in here and help me clean it up and if you miss part of the TV show that is your problem. I’ve got to tell you Dude, I’m really very angry right now.”
He cried as he sat on his little stool and begged to go back to the sofa. He really couldn’t clean up the pee without getting it all over himself, so I just let him sit there as I sopped it up. I know you aren’t supposed to ask why they did stuff at the age, but I couldn’t help myself. He looked right at me and replied, “Mom, I was really frustrated at you for making me pee. So I peed on the floor.” I told him I understood where he was coming from. He is allowed to be frustrated at me, I get frustrated at him all the time. But he needs to tell me, or he can bang on the floor or the sofa to get the anger out. He absolutely can’t do stuff like pee on the floor.
Listen, I’m grateful he can tell me what is going on in his head. It rocks that he has the ability to express himself. But I sort of thought that if he was able to let us know how he felt he wouldn’t act out by, you know, pissing all over the place in anger. He’d go ahead and tell us he was angry. Am I crazy? How to I encourage him to tell me he is frustrated BEFORE he takes punitive action aimed at me? I knew he was annoyed when he headed to the bathroom, but I had no idea of the level of frustration he was feeling, it wasn’t a particularly contentious conversation.
Friends who have a background in early childhood development what the hell am I doing wrong here? How do I get to a place where we are less frustrated at each other? Or should I just start emptying my bladder on his bedroom floor to demonstrate that I’m angry at him? Just kidding. Sort of.