Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tall tales and Quirky behavior

First let me tell you a little bit about my six and a half year old daughter. She’s the oldest of two girls, she is a good sister but can be a little “grabby” with toys. She’s very imaginative and likes to make up stories, roles and characters and to act out and direct the storyline with her friends. She’s a Cancer which means to me that she’s a little quirky but in a good/funny way and she’s also a very caring and sensitive individual. Recently she has taken to telling tall tales. An example of a tall tale is when she told her friend that I had a baby boy and he died and we buried him in a forest near the school. :X. And she tells these tales in such a convincing manner and insists that the tale is true. So this little tale came back to me through another parent who was concerned that perhaps I had lost a baby through miscarriage! So I took Madelyn aside one night and explained that it’s not appropriate to tell tales about your family, especially ones that are untrue and could be harmful to our family name. I explained that this is like lying when you insist that it’s true and don’t relent or give away that perhaps you are making it up. No harm done but I don’t want her making up other stories that could be harmful if heard by teachers or misconstrued through the social grapevine.

But I’d like to focus for a minute on her quirky side. Sometimes when I’m talking with Madelyn she makes squeels and grunts and/or she sticks her tongue out at me or makes a face. For the most part my husband and I respond by telling her it’s rude, to act “normally” (i.e. not grunt or cross her eyes when we are talking to her) and respond to us with words and not noises. So a request that she close her mouth when chewing her food could get the response “Eeeeeee. Beep.” ..followed by more lip smacking. And I couldn’t help but notice that it’s becomming disrespectful. She’s not awknowledging our request, she’s dismissing it. And the tongue thing is just plain rude. So yesterday I took her aside, sat her on my lap and explained why it’s rude to not awknowledge someone when they speak to you. How it’s appropriate to look that person in the eyes while they are talking to you and to respond in words, not noises. That it’s rude to stick out your tongue after your parent / teacher / anyone asks you to do something. And that there will be consequences if she does not listen / answer in a respectful way. We have told her this many times before but usally in a more reactive manner than through conversation. This time I tried a different approach and you know what she did? She stuck her tongue out, just slightly through her lips. And I took away her computer privledges for the day. She then tried to tell me that she was licking her lips! I let her get back to her lunch but I noticed that she was only picking at it. She told me that she didn’t feel like eating after I talked to her so I took her aside again and gave her some more snuggles and explained that we aren’t mad at her, that we love her but why it’s important to us that she behave herself in a way that we feel is appropriate for her age and how I’d rather have her talk back to me instead of her responding with noises that don’t make any sense. She flitted off afterward much happier and the rest of the day went really well. I’m always slightly apprehensive about discipline, my usual reaction is to yell or redirect (depending on the behavior I'm correcting) but the way she was acting was starting to concern me. And overall I think it went pretty well! She is generally a great kid but she’s been challenging me lately. I’d like to relate it all back to her quirky, imaginative nature but I’ve never had a six year old before so it could be an age thing, a personality thing or a respect thing. It does leave me wondering…..does anyone else have a child that makes faces and strange noises instead of responding to a direct question or request?