Grumpy Gus is a Negative Nellie…or something like that.
So today, we planned a surprise trip to Dairy Queen after dinner. It’s Miracle Treat Day which is an excellent excuse to buy Blizzards and not feel guilty and we figured that the kids would enjoy the treat.
We got in (the rather long) line and asked the boys what type of Blizzard they wanted. The older one automatically says, “I don’t want a Blizzard,” in one of those tones that leaves your mother’s voice echoing in your head: “It’s not what you said, it’s how your said it.” So we explain to him that it’s Miracle Treat Day and that $1 from the sale of every Blizzard (and only Blizzards) will go to support the Children’s Miracle Network at the local children’s hospital and ask him again what flavour he would like. He answered with silence (because that always works).
Come order time, I ordered mine right away (what’s better than Skor anyway?) and then asked the younger boy which kind he would like. We settled on Rolo since he seems to like the candy and Rolo ice cream…still no answer from the older boy. Finally Ian and I decided to get him the same flavour as his brother and then Ian ordered his. I took the boys to a table and got them to sit down – diagonally from each other to avoid conflict. The entire time, the grumpy look hadn’t left the older boy’s face.
Ian brought the Blizzards to the table and everyone started eating…including Grumpy Gus (complete with an unhappy face). He ate the whole thing, was the second one done and even admitted to liking it but didn’t enjoy it because he “didn’t want one.”
We’ve been getting this attitude from him quite a bit lately. Ian has wanted to take him to movies off and on all summer. A few times, the day Ian picked for the movie was a day that our Grumpy Gus chose to complain about and refuse to do his father appointed chore. If I told him that he wouldn’t get to go to the movie, he’d reply with, “I didn’t want to see that anyway.” We also got that response about the local amusement park after he’d talked about going with his grandfather for weeks. The odd thing was that week after week, he’d be the one deciding not to go, not his grandfather.
The pouting and petulance have become nearly an everyday occurrence in our house when things don’t go his way. On top of that, he can do anything as long as it’s what he wants to do but the minute you ask him to do something, no matter how simple, it’s too hard. I’m sincerely hoping that this is still part of adjusting and an attempt at control and isn’t foreshadowing for the years to come.
So the question is, how do you curb the grumpy and negative behaviour and set preteens on a positive path? Or how do you help them become more accepting of things that aren’t exactly what they want?