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Frustrations (of the parental variety)

August 5, 2008

Nana has always been a bit more “emotional” than your typical toddler. She has high highs and low lows. There’s nothing wrong with her – she’s just like me – very emotionally driven and……passionate.

As you can imagine, with us sharing the same personality, we butt heads very often.

Recently, it’s been worse than usual. Initially I chalked it up to lack of sleep (we had two weekends in a row traveling). Today, it came to a head.

This am she was especially sassy, telling me no, talking back, doing things I’ve asked her to stop doing. For example: the cable guy was here, and I had to go into the garage to show him the attic access. Well she wanted to come, and I told her no (lots of junk and she had no shoes on), I told her I would be back in a minute – well she pitched the biggest fit I’ve EVER seen. Blood curdling scream at the top of her voice, hitting/kicking the door, and she embarrassed the shit out of me – I don’t embarrass easily.

So all day it was one thing after another. Our typical discipline routine is one warning, then time out. It’s not very effective lately, as she either “fake” cries, gets hysterical or just comes out. It used to work well. Not so much anymore.

In large part, this is MY fault. Kids want attention – any sort. So when she’s “bad” she gets my attention, fully. I’ve got a very quick temper, which is a huge obstacle to being a good parent. I don’t get angry over messes, spills, back talk, etc – I do get angry when she’s intentionally mean to her sister, or hurts her.

This afternoon, at the very instant I was contemplating my actions, I heard Pia screaming bloody murder, I went in there and Pia has the makings of a black eye. Because of Nana. She said “I was being mean to her”. I took every single toy out of her room, and took her TV away. I was so furious I didn’t know what to do.

She was in time out for a good 15 mintues (mostly so I could calm down). When she came out, we talked about what happened, and why it’s not good to hurt your sister. Apparently she hit her with a toy. In the eye.

Two pics:

012

011

Yeah, they aren’t in focus, but you can see the eye.

In all honesty, I wanted to throttle her, and then myself. Because, I just don’t know if I’m good/strong enough to be the type of parent she deserves. I don’t know if I have the patience. I know I HAVE to buck up and be “good enough” – but what sort of damage have I done in the mean time? Obviously I’ve done some damage because she is the way she is because of the way I parent.

How do I discipline her without crushing her huge spirit? How do I remain sane while allowing her to be HER?

How do I successfully parent a child so much like me that it’s annoying?

So my sister, being the child educator, suggested a sticker chart. This is NOT something I’m sure of at all. I’m not big into parenting books, or “methods” – just not my style. But, obviously my style isn’t working. So, we’re starting the day out with 5 stickers – when she’s sent to time out, she loses a sticker. While she doesn’t “get” it yet, I’m hoping it’ll “click” soon. I did the whole “this is a BIG girl chart! Pia doesn’t get one, because she’s just a baby!”.

So, I have to work on how I respond to her, and change my behavior before I can expect her to change hers. *sigh* Wish me luck.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2008 10:05 pm

    I just found you, so I don’t “know” you but I had to take a moment to say – please don’t beat yourself up on the temper, butting heads, discpline stuff. I’ve BTDT so many times & it has been tough to stop the self punishment.
    Mine are about to turn 1 & 5. The 5y/o is my dd & we are waaay too much alike for us not to constantly butt heads. It sucks and nothing less than trial & error (ongoing still) has kept me sane in the discipline area.
    I’m not big on parnting books either, but mine took to the chart idea but we had to add incentives & ‘take aways’. If she got all her stickers for the week then she earned “X”. If she did something really, really horrid – that needed more than a sticker loss – we would take something away. Whatever meant the most at the exact moment – sometimes it was playing dress up that day, or it might have been a video she really wanted to watch. I hated doing it, but it really made an impact & the times it happened quickly became fewer & fewer.
    Hang in there & I hope tomorrow is a better day…and that your Pia just has a tiny bruise & not a full out shiner in the morning.

  2. August 5, 2008 10:56 pm

    Jen-
    It really isn’t a method but there is a book titled “Raising Your Spirited Child” that I found to be a good read.

    http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288

    It gave me a chuckle but it also put a lot of things into perspective. I know at Nana’s age children like to test their boundaries, hang in there mama.

  3. August 6, 2008 12:07 pm

    Jen, hang in there. As parents we do what we can do. As the mom of five I am still learning, as each child is so different! I can be quite an unconventional mom … I have read lots of books, participated in many trainings and still have come up with my own style.

    I think you really touched on a very important aspect … you attention. I find when my household ‘falls apart’ it is because I am not giving them the attention they need. Sometimes I have to really evaluate myself because I am with my children 24/7 what more do they need? Sometimes they indeed need more … they need me to sit down and focus 100% on them, do something they want to do and not for five minutes, really participate. This really helps for us.

    Now just a warning from my experience … like I said I have five children ages 13 to 1 (and have tried lots of things) They are very good to each other, they are very good ‘friends’. I am not saying that they do not sometimes argue like siblings but in general they like to be together and they work/play together for what they want. Sometimes it is scary because honestly they could take me down 🙂 As a parent I have always tried to help make them friendly and not against each other. I would just be careful with things like: “this is a BIG girl chart! Pia doesn’t get one, because she’s just a baby!” because it actually gives Nana more power over Pia and really, I would think you would want them to work more together and build their relationship too! Just a thought.

    Don’t beat yourself up you are trying and seeking ideas and doing what you can.

  4. Jen permalink*
    August 6, 2008 1:27 pm

    Thanks ladies!

    Amy, I made a big deal out of it, because my sister suggested it – to make her feel “special” because much of this is rooted in jealousy.

    ACK! This parenting stuff is so hard! You just never know what to do!

  5. August 6, 2008 1:35 pm

    Yeah and you feel like you figured it out with one child and along comes another with new rules! Whats a parent to do!

  6. August 6, 2008 7:28 pm

    Hey, I love the sticker idea. She’ll get it soon. I was wondering if you’d have the pictures up here. Oh boy. It does sound like you have a girl who doesn’t do well with boredom. I have buried somewhere in my moving boxes a great book full of toddler activities. All sorts of fun things that occupy their mind. Most involve using things you have around the house in a unique way. If I can find it, I’ll email you the title. She may just need something different to do…something that will result in attention. Maybe she doesn’t get a lot of attention while she is doing the activity, but the finished product gets attention. KWIM? Hang in there. Since she is a lot like you, just try to keep in mind of how you would need to be told things for you to feel more like complying.

  7. August 7, 2008 3:19 am

    I know you’re probably so over this post by now, but I just got to it. Sorry. I’ve had the same problems with *two* very spirited children. I would yell and they would yell and it just got worse and worse.

    Then I started watching SuperNanny on TV. She just has a couple of methods. Mostly you just get to see what the other parents on the TV are doing wrong. First you laugh at them and think, “Well what do they expect? Look what they’re doing to their kids!” Then you start to realize you do some of the same things.

    I don’t know if you get the show where you live, but you can check out her website at http://www.supernanny.com

    Good luck and hang in there. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it, ‘kay?

  8. August 7, 2008 5:15 pm

    Jen please don’t beat yourself up. So many parents who struggle never stop to even ask what they can do differently. You’re asking, you’re evaluating…you care, and that’s HUGE. I know caring doesn’t solve the problem initially, but the fact that you’re engaged and looking for ways to help Nana and Pia and to create a loving and cooperative family environment means you’ll find what works for your family. My hat is off to you for that!

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