Well that is the situation I am in. There is a Joy Thief that I am forced to deal with very regularly. I am usually able to avoid or keep my distance from Joy Thieves but not this time. Joy Thieves are highly contagious and some of her unhappiness has been wearing off on me.
So I sought the help of a trusted advisor. Her advice…. “You are just going to have to treat her like a 2 year old” A two year old? Really ???
How about a comparison:
2 year old – screaming “No” at inappropriate times
Joy Thief – Yelling and refusing to perform assigned duties
2 year old – having a fit of temper if he/she doesn’t get his/her way
Joy Thief – Stopping around and cursing when she doesn’t get her way
2 year old – ask for something that is not really wanted, just to see if he/ she has enough power to get it.
Joy Thief – placing unusual and unnecessary demands on others to demonstrate superiority or initiate a power struggle.
2 year old – Hitting and Kicking
Joy Thief – So far no signs of this behavior.
Hmmm… I think my advisor is on to something.
So how does one handle a two year old? I don’t have kids yet. Parents this is where I need you to jump in. Here are a few techniques I remember from my babysitting days:
Ignore the out bursts – I can actually do this pretty well. Although, it is much more challenging to ignore a 100lb plus adult Joy Thief than a chubby faced 2 year old.
Discipline – Unfortunately I think the Joy Thief has outgrown time out and spanking will definitely get me into trouble. Although a good swat may be temporarily gratifying. Lol
Bargaining – Sadly I don’t think the Joy Thief will respond to a piece of candy or a new toy. Perhaps a pack of smokes and a drink will do the trick???
HELP!!!! How do you handle your two year old and/or the adults who act like them???
Well, I think either with kids or grown people the thing is, don't let them! And yes, it is HARD and annoying but like, with my 18 month old, if I give in to the frustration it's only going to make her act worse. But much like misery, good mood can be contagious – sometimes she drives me crazy but I smile and act like I'm having fun and that inspires her to change her tune (sometimes – but if not, at least it inspires me :). Hope that helps! Visiting from the LBS!
Ignore what you can, confront what you can't and hold your ground. You've gotten great advice here!
Not Just Another Mother Blogger! says
I find that confronting adults in a 'mature' way works well with a Joy Thief, although I call them Emotional Vampires. But I get their attention, and use this script:
1. XXX, I see that you are (stomping around, muttering, yelling, etc.) Are you angry?
2. What do you want?
3. How is what you're doing(stomping around)helping you to get what you want?
4. What would be a better option?
The important part of this is to be as neutral as possible and keep putting responsibility for their behavior back on that person.
I love this advice. Treat them like 2 year olds. Perfect! And yes, I've noticed it does help when I do that. Should do it more often. 😉
I have three kids and I work with troubled youth. Ignore is good, bargaining sucks and takes away your power sometimes. I like to repeat stuff back to them. "So your saying that if I don't give you candy you're not going to clean your room?" I do that with adults too. The best thing that works for me is ask them what they want. repeat it back and then explain what you want. I don't know if that will work for you, but maybe. "So you say that you want to steal my joy, well I want you to go jump off a cliff. Can we compromise?" Something like that. 🙂
The Reason You Come says
I don't know how to deal with kids, since I'm not a parent. But I deal with difficult adults this way: I become the source of stress for them, instead of the other way around. Ignore them when they need your attention the most. When they ask you to do something, just nod and smile, but don't do anything. Remain in your place. Act like you couldn't care less about them. When they're throwing a tantrum, laugh. Works for me.
A Mountain Momma says
I use Mentos, for whatever reason my 2 yr old will do anything for them. As for the adults, I find asking them to help me move every other month keeps them at bay.
OK, so i don't have kids either, but i totally hear you on this joy thief person. although i don't have the same 'kicking and screaming' version in my life, i do have a joy SUCKING thief…like a leech, is how i am thinking of her. instead of the tantrums and loudness, there is the opposite…lethargic behavior, not much motivation, occasional attempts at tepid humor…. not really sure how to explain it, but i do know it brings me DOWN. and i am THROUGH with it. i am making a decision right now to BE MYSELF and keep acting like myself even in the face of such negativity. i am putting up a wall – read about it in a Sylvia Brown book – it worked before in another situation. Reflect that negativity back toward her and allow my own light to keep shining. I hope you can do the SAME 🙂