We had a critical mass of bonus kids the other night. Three of which were there for a second time. They were just gems last go round. This time...not so much.
When bonus kids come there is something called a honeymoon phase. Everyone is pleased and happy. Then the upsettness breaks loose because dude, would you want to be taken away from your mom as a kid? ...No.... So the acting out begins.
I was telling my coworker that the middle bonus kid (9 years old) --was having NONE of the Hall's hospitality this go round. Didn't want to eat, kept sneaking out to the backyard and so on. Then, in the am, he wouldn't get in the car to get to school. It went like this.
(in the driveway)
Me: "Hey dude--time for school, let's get in the car so I can drop you off."
Bonus kid: (literally turning his back on me--crosses his arms and hunches his shoulders--then giving me a backwards, stink eye glance)---
YA KNOW. I totally think that's something adults should be able to do. Like if my boss wants me to do something I can just turn my back and say no. All plain and obstinate like. Seems perfectly acceptable!!!
So I'm telling this to a coworker who is middle age and now suddenly a step mom to a 9 year old and therefore totally overwhelmed at this new mom stuff. She leans in with rapt attention and says, "What did you do?"
I really thought about it. I mean, at this point, I'm totally over being on time for stuff. Church, school, work... I have too many kids. Mine and bonus. Each kid can explode with behaviors at any time. Or have a potty accident. Or both. I don't care about being late. I don't care if this kid spends six hours not getting in the car.
So starting with that attitude, I told her I didn't fight it. There is no point in engaging with his power struggle. It's as if there was a gigantic moose in front of my car. I can't move the moose.
So I gave him options. I said,
"I can tell your mom one of two things. I can say wow! He did such a good job getting in the car this morning. Or, I can tell her that you gave me attitude."
He got in the car after that.
I talked with Mr. Hall. We are focusing our life on creating carrots for good behaviors. We are finding none of our kids, our or bonus, acts nicely for nicely. Well, sometimes but mostly they need a reason.
So that's what I did. Created a carrot. And if that didn't work I probably would have just sat in the car, surfing my phone while he stood in the driveway. All moose like.