When you think about positive traits to have in a child one of the traits that will almost always make the list is being a good rule follower. What happens when following the rules becomes an obsession? When Grace gets upset about having done something wrong, no matter how small an infraction, you would think that she just commit a murder. Something as small as accidentally stepping on my foot or dropping something on the floor can lead to all-out hysteria.
When the hysteria settles upon us it looks like this: a wiggling, sobbing four year old clinging to me like someone is trying to permanently separate us. She will scream “I’m so sorry Mommy, I forgive you (her way of asking to be forgiven)”. It is agonizing to watch. No matter how many times I tell her I forgive her and that I am not mad it will continue on for several minutes… sometimes as much as a half an hour.
The worst is when it happens in a store or out in public. She will sob and cry and beg forgiveness and people look at me like I must be an abusive mother hell bent on beating my daughter as soon as we get home. Instead of screaming at the top of my lungs “I don’t beat my child” I simply smile and make sure to repeat to her “I forgive you” and “I’m not mad”.
Despite the smiling it gets incredibly frustrating. Every spilled cup of juice, every time she wets her bed, every time she can’t find a toy, anytime ANYTHING happens (that she deems breaking the rules) leads to hysteria. We’ve talked to the therapists, we sought out the doctors, we’ve asked the teachers and no one has been able to even minimize this.
Most of the time I vacillate between wanting to cry along with her and wanting to slam the door and run away. It breaks my heart to see her so sad over every silly little thing. On the other hand having to stop twenty times a day to deal with the “insanity” makes ME feel like I am going crazy. By the twentieth time I have to say “I forgive you” each day I have to force myself to sound sweet.
Maybe it will be age or maturation or experience that will help. Maybe not. Never in a million years did I ever think I would sit here and wish my kid would be better at breaking the rules.