Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Learning Not To Cry Wolf

I have let a disagreeable behavior, with my 6-year-old son Caleb, go on to long.  I should have dealt with it a while ago, but I didn't have the insight on how to squash the problem. 

Caleb tends to over-react when he is hurt or upset.  He will set up a good wailing and crying session at the drop of a hat.  This isn't a quite pity party either.  It is loud and demanding.  In the past I would tell him to get control and quiet down so that I could assess the situation.  I would remind him that he didn't need to bawl and howl when he was upset. This did nothing to stop him the next time someone or something upset him.

The other night he set to hollering over something Jacob had said to him.  I had them both come upstairs and I decided what the punishment should be for them.  It had been a long day and I told Caleb he could brush his teeth and get into bed.  Of course, he didn't like that, since it was only 8 o'clock, and he started bellering again.  I stood my ground and sent him on his way. 

About 10 minutes later I went in to talk to him.  As I was trying to explain to him why he didn't need to caterwaul every time he got upset, an idea popped into my head.  I asked him if he had ever heard the story about the boy who cried wolf.  He said he hadn't so I began my version of the story with all the action and a few voices mixed in.  I had his undivided attention!  After the story I showed him how he had become like the boy who cried wolf.  I told him that he cried and wailed so much that I didn't even pay attention to it anymore.  Tears started to fall down his cheeks (silently!).  I asked him why he was crying and he said it was because he had been crying out when he really didn't need to.  I did emphasize that it was okay to cry out if he was hurt that way it would let me know if he was hurt.  I also let him know it is okay to cry if he was sad, but he needed to keep his tears at a normal noise level.  After a sincere prayer and lots of hugs and kisses, I left him to go to sleep.

The lesson I meant for Caleb, turned into a lesson for me too.  It reminded me that he isn't the only one that can sometimes blow things out of proportion.  I am guilty of this myself on occasion.  My children have seen me loose it when things get stressful and out of hand.  I use the old standard crutch-"not right now, I am having a bad day" or "I'm too tired".  Yes, there are times when these statements are true, but I realized that maybe I have been relying on them a bit too much.  Not a pretty thought- I, too, have been crying wolf.

"Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies"  Proverbs 20:15


  1. Amen, Jenn! So true ...

    I, too, have used "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" story with my daughter in the past. She didn't appreciate it as much as Caleb did! In fact, it reminds me of a funny story (well, it's funny now ... wasn't funny then!). It will be good blog fodder! :-)

    Wednesday blessings!

  2. Oh, my. It's so hard to teach them isn't it. Madi is acting out in tantrums...already at 16 1/2 months.

  3. Good lesson for us moms, very applicable to me today - thank you!!!

  4. Oh my, I am so glad you posted this...I love hearing how other moms handle different situations. And I have a feeling that I may be dealing with some of this down the road, as my little one already has a tendency towards lots of drama and fake tears.


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