Last night I finally figured out how to get Alex back for her naughty screaming fits in the car. For about the last year she has discovered that she can get away with a lot of bad attitude and very disrespectful behavior while safely strapped in her car seat with me in the front. I've been frustrated because threatening her with a time out just doesn't seem to cut it - she will go on with her screaming, tantrums, whining, demands, and general obnoxiousness no matter how much time out she endures on arriving home.
Last night in the midst of her tirade she even yelled, "You're going to DIE." What the...? I ignored that but it was a scary thing to hear from your four-year-old. Maybe she's been watching too many Disney movies - ever notice there is never an intact "nuclear family" in a Disney movie? The main character is usually deprived of at least one parent at some point. Anyway...
I read a strategy in a parenting book once that suggested dropping your kids off a mile before home and making them walk the rest of the way. That will be beautiful once they are older, but as much as I would like some peace and quiet in the car, I just can't do it at this point. I am saving it though...
So last night, while enduring another ridiculous four-year-old rant, I rolled down the windows and that made her mad. She doesn't like the wind. She screamed and complained of being cold (it was probably 70 degrees out). I told her when she could talk to me nicely I would roll the windows up. She kept demanding (very imperially) for me to close the windows, alternating with more screaming and crying. This sounds really BAD, but up front I was smiling at FINALLY getting some payback for all the tantrums I've endured in the car! We were home before she changed her tune (and even that was only after a double time out in the car seat in the dark garage).
Speaking of time out, I've had to get creative with that too. She will spit on the floor or kick the doors or walls when she's in time out - not something I feel I should tolerate. When she does this I put her outside on the front porch - she's strapped into the high chair (good thing she's still small). Usually this calms her right down. It will be interesting to see what happens in the winter.
I feel really mean sometimes. It seems like she really needs to push to the point where she breaks down, and then she takes a long time to recover her equilibrium. Last night, for example, she went from full defiance mode in the car (first four minutes) to hysterical panic after another four minutes. (Being alone in the dark garage probably was scary.) I'm open to suggestions.
But for now, I am happy to found a trick to get to her in the car. I think it will help, especially as the weather gets cooler!