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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
mood: busy
music: Barbra Streisand—Lullaby For Myself


I can commiserate about strong-willed daughters. My youngest was a tad like Karin. I was a single working parent who went to school nights. I expected compliance on my time-table. With her, it seemed as though she acted up because she had so little control over her own environment. What helped me help her a bit was when I realized that I wouldn't like to be told when to sleep and when to bathe and when to stop things that held my interest to do what someone else wanted because it met their time-constraints. I started by saying things like when you're ready and have your bath, I'll have dinner waiting for you. I gave up the need to control if she ate with the rest of us or struggles over taking a bath "right then". I laid in bed with her every night so that it became "our" time to discuss concerns of the day before she drifted off to sleep. I hate to say it, but I fell asleep a lot of nights there too. Some kids are wired differently and just need more of a parents' time. My older daughter played alone all of the time. The younger one had a need to interact with me. When I didn't have the time, she became stressed. I don't know if my experiences are helpful or not, but in the end, your love and presence will be the deciding factor in your relationship with her, constant battles or not. No way are you alone in having kids like Karin. She will be the bane of your existence and your joy.

The bane and the joy of my existence: so true!! You are so right that she is fighting against doing things on our time-table (even though it's not an unreasonable one, AND we do allow for special nights where we "blow off" the usual stuff and let the kids get out of a bath or stay up late). I DO need to give her more of myself and I do need to make sure that she feels she has control in at least some areas of her life. Thanks :)

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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