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THE MAIN EVENT
Fighting with my daughter seems to be becoming an integral part of our lives. :( We just butt heads constantly. I know that I have control issues, but I also find the stubbornness and tenacity of my daughter completely over-the-top. She finds it necessary to fight EVERY request, every order, everything. I'm so tired of it I could scream. Last night was horrible and this morning wasn't much better. After doing a LOT of thinking about it, trying to figure out what to do to change my attitude and my reactions, which, let me tell ya, ain't easy, I had a sudden flash of insight.

Karin wasn't allowed a bedtime story last night because she gave us such a fight going through the bedtime routine, and then she wouldn't stay put and she wouldn't lie down and she wouldn't go to sleep, so Anders and I were taking turns sitting with her, and at one point, she flipped over and glared at me and said "Du bestämmer inte över mig, mamma.*" Which means, roughly, you ain't the boss of me, mama.

"Yes," I shot back, "I am. Now lie down and go to sleep." But you know what? I'm NOT the boss of her. She's the boss of her. She's the one who decides whether or not she's going to accept or reject the things her parents require and expect of her. Regardless of the fact that she's causing grey hairs to literally SPROUT LIKE GRASS on my head.

People tell me all the time that it's great to have a child that knows what she wants and is so independent and sure of herself, and it's true, and I AM glad of it. But sometimes I just wish she'd just wear what I put out, and do what's she's asked and go to bed without an argument, and not take everything I say as a chance to do the opposite just for the joy of perversity. And make no mistake, there is JOY in her perversity. She gets something out of being contrary or she wouldn't do it.

So, now it's a matter of walking the line between allowing your children to do whatever the hell they want to and having social services called down on your ass for neglect. Muttering that mantra choose your battles is helpful but what about when all the battles are over my authority as a parent? I would also be doing my child a dis-service if I allow her to believe that all of her behavior is appropriate or allowable.

I firmly believe that my children need to be fed, bathed (reasonably often) and given a good night's sleep so that they can function on a daily basis. These aren't points I'm willing to budge much on. I can allow Karin to be her own boss in that she can decide whether or not she's going to come along willingly, but she needs to learn that her actions have consequences. It's one thing to allow kids to get away with things once in awhile, it's another to completely lose all track of what my JOB as a parent is: namely to teach my child how to navigate the world within a realistic framework. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, where are you when I need you?!

Really Good Writing Out There Right Now: This is Your Boyfriend from One Good Thing

*literally: You don't decide over me
 busy
mood: busy
music: Barbra Streisand—Lullaby For Myself


Comments

Hmmm... what is it about that time of day that brings this on? Does she just not want to go to bed? Is she having nightmares? Is she just afraid she'll miss something? (That was always my thing.) Does she just not want to be alone? Or is it simply that she just wants to defy you? I doubt it would be the last thing solely. Unless of course, she just wants more of your attention (Any attention=good attention?)

You guys sit with her while she goes to sleep. Maybe if she acts up, you should just let her get to sleep on her own? (ie that attention thing again) That way your presence is a type of reward for doing as you've requested (going to bed).

Feel free to ignore any of this if it seems simplistic. I did have quite a hand in rearing my brother and sister (they are MUCH MUCH younger than me). :) So it's not all from inexperience. :)

Have you explained the 'why' behind your demands that she goes to bed and gets baths etc? For example, 'you won't have enough energy to play hockey tomorrow if you don't get plenty of sleep tonight' and 'if you don't get baths you'll stink and the kids at school will pinch their noses when you come to play with them' etc.

I kind of wondered about the attention thing, too. Sometimes negative attention is more exciting than the positive?

Hmm..I'm not sure, just trying to think of something.

Hang in there!

I'm beginning to think so. And thanks!

She won't go to sleep on her own, or at least it's REALLY rare. Once in a blue moon. You wouldn't believe the stubborn capacity of this kid, honestly. If you leave the room, she jumps out of bed and stands in the hallway, or bangs her feet on the wall until you come back in. Or screams her head off. We have done the explaining bit until we're blue in the face and know that we just have to continue with it until it actually sinks in.

She doesn't want to go to bed because it would mean holding still, and not playing, and she might miss something. Plus, "it's boring in my room, mama." sigh

October 2019
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