The cost of consistency

The favorite part of my day is putting my son to bed and singing him a song. I rotate several songs – campfire songs, traditional songs, popular songs – but always in French, and my son sings along with me as soon as he can remember a few words. I love it, and even when I had a hard day, even when he has been a brat, it gives me a change to unwind, remember how much I love him (and why), think of how lucky I am to be on the receiving end of his hugs at the end of the day, and forget all about his recent tantrums. But…

But lately he has started throwing tantrums when it’s time to go home after playing outside. Sometimes it’s before, sometimes after supper. He does that only with me, it’s really annoying and we’re trying to stop the behaviour. And unfortunately, the only thing I have found to threaten him with if he’s not nice is putting him to be without a song. I hate doing it, because it punishes me as much as it punishes him. But he seems to actually care about his evening song, which gives it some weight, and it is feasible. And it involves only me. I can’t say “you won’t go out tomorrow”, Zak would go crazy… And I don’t want to punish him with not going out anyway, because he needs to go out, it’s healthy, it’s good for him… Same with the snack before bedtime – I can’t refuse that. We could take toys away, but when it’s soon before bedtime it would be pretty irrelevant. We can’t take TV away since we don’t have one. The song is without consequence on his health or long-term well-being.

In the last two weeks he had to go to bed without a song twice. Not toooo bad. But it still sucks. And I give him lots of changes to take a deep breath and calm down and follow me home. Only when he persists in the bad behavior do I take the song away from him.

Hopefully he’ll learn his lesson soon… That way I can stop punishing myself.

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