Member question:

Getting into power struggles with my 6yo because he “wants to be a grownup”. He does not like that there are some things that are not for him. As a result, we get tantrums and starting to get sneakiness.

What we’ve maintained: giving him control/freedom of choice of certain things, ‘big kid’ privileges, routine

What has changed: quarantine + both parents working from home, more screen time than we’d like, he just started virtual taekwondo (per his request) and hoping this helps him feel better

He had an outburst the other day screaming that I never spend time with him anymore and all I want to do is work. Way to get me in the gut, kid. I’m a teacher…he’s not used to me working from home. When I’m home, I’m home. Daddy working from home isn’t that unusual.

The 3yo was giving me trouble the first half of quarantine. He’s gotten over the hump…just in time for the 6yo to flare up (thankfully, they didn’t do it simultaneously)


Rachel’s response:

Ugh, that’s a lot for him and for YOU!! And yes, when we’re lucky kids aren’t both in Yuck at the same time. Big “whew” there!

The reality is that he does feel things like you working more and not being a grownup. And these feelings will lead to behaviors.

My suggestion for what to do with him is to do regular Yuck Dumps. Maybe do these at night… Let him complain about everything that’s bothering him — that he can’t be a grownup, that he can’t spend as much time with you as he’d like. During that time, don’t try to cheer him up or defend yourself. Just listen. He doesn’t need you to give him everything he needs… he just needs to get it off his chest and to have you really hear him. At the end, you can just say “Thank you for telling me.” Then ask him if he wants to dump his Yuck — by spitting it out, or throwing it up, or putting it on a piece of paper and throwing it away.

This is a type of connection (which he’s craving) which can be very powerful.