I’m so glad that you reached out, and I’m sorry it’s taken me awhile to respond. I’ve seen some of your posts and it’s
clear you are a committed connected hard working Mama.
I think there are 2 separate issues here. So, let’s first talk about Special Time. When we do Special Time, we follow our kiddo’s lead. We take the less powerful role and we look for what makes our kiddo light up. As an experiment, you could try being completely confused and befuddled by the games. You can’t quite figure it out. You keep making mistakes.
See what happens if you really do follow his lead. If you really are the bumbling village idiot. One of the purposes of Special Time is to keep our relationship in balance. Special time is the time when THEY have ALL
the power. You can let go of that idea about not letting them win because of the sore-loser issue. Special Time is NOT a time for teaching. During Special Time our child should feel that they are winning, winning and
winning some more. Does that make sense?
A separate issue is your son’s emotional flexibility or inflexibility around losing. You can help him with that at some time other than Special Time. This is an Emotional Project. Intolerance with losing comes from FEAR and a sense of powerlessness. It’s not something that you can talk or lecture a kid out of or discipline them into.
So, first, you want to work on building up his confidence.Instead, you ramp up the amount of Special time with him. I know it will be tough to fit in with 3 kids but you could see if you can do Special Time more often in shorter doses. Make sure you are following his lead and doing what he wants to do.
Then add in lots and rough n tumble play where again, you are taking the LESS powerful role. More frequent Special Time, along with Roughhousing will help counter the feelings of powerlessness and fear that create this tension and need to win.
Then, completely separate from Special Time and roughhousing, look for times to set little limits early and often – perhaps there is something that you’d normally work around – You might give him a different piece of toast if he complains. Instead of doing a work-around, BRING a limit and LISTEN. You can trust it’s not about the toast.
It’s really great that you have a LISTENING PARTNER. You want to work on developing the capacity to see their anger and upset and just an emotional poop. You don’t get upset when they go pee or poo. You know that their body is releasing the gunk it doesn’t need. And it’s healthy to release that gunk. When you kiddo is upset, you can take a breath and ANCHOR them in your warmth and presence and WELCOME THE UPSET – knowing that it is HEALING!!
In your listening partnership, it would be good to explore any yelling and upset that happened when you were small. How was anger handled in your home? Was it scary? You might ask your partner to just say ‘no no no no no no’ loudly so that you can feel what if feels like when your kids’ get upset and you can yell back, cry hard and laugh. Try yelling at your parents. Tell them to stop yelling. It’s good to explore the hurts that were done to us, so that you really can see your children’s upset and healing.
This article can give you some perspective on Listening to Big Feelings:
Here are some articles that can help with the whole sore losing issue:
Note this Mom set a limit at a time that was NOT Special Time.
You are such a great Mama, Harriet. It is always an honor to work with you. Thank you for your great thinking and great inquiry. Let us know what you discover and how it goes…
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
Follow me on facebook: Parenting by Connection with Kathy
“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with
children” – Gandhi