Thursday, 17 February 2011

Where I try to be more Zen about it all and fail

Just as a postscript to yesterday's post, no children were harmed. I got loud, and a tad short tempered, but nothing that couldn't be sorted out. It was more a feeling of frustration, and unhappiness how things were turning out. I'm getting better at controlling my frustrations and not shouting, but it's a hard lesson on me.

But Houston, we have a problem anyway.
Yes, part of the problem is sick kids - nothing to be done about that, it needs to be sat out. Just that Cubling was a lot better today and after taking the adapted Cesar Millan mantra/advice from Mwa to make sure there's exercise first to avoid tensions , we did that. Out and about in the woods, totally and utterly child led, our favourite yes-environment, going with the flow, being 100% with her, reflective listening and all the other tick boxes of model parenting. We had so much fun.

What was the reward? Within an hour of being home, a stomping, screaming, shouting, making herself almost sick pre-schooler, a very special performance which I'm sure was audible in the whole of our neighbourhood. Not that I care. Maybe I do a little bit. Why? Because I said that 1hr of TV was enough now and how about preparing dinner now (notice I framed the "no" in positive ways and didn't just say "no").

Jesus Mary and Joseph, where did I go wrong? We sailed, yes sailed, through the "terrible twos". They were cute and adorable twos. Now we have constant whining and whinging, refusal (to eat, to get dressed, to follow any type of simple request, to speak German), defiance, anger, and drama. Drama above all, everything is drama.
Any necessary control is by threats and rewards - the latter works sometimes, the former only if it's a serious threat, and I'm not comfortable using either. I mean, I'd rather not bribe my child into appropriate behaviour.

So here I am trailing parenting sites, trying to find a solution because above all, I do not want to have a relationship with my child which is disrespectful and a constant power contest. I lived through a relationship like that, didn't like it yet couldn't change it. I know how important it is to change this.
I'm even considering parenting courses, if it weren't for the fact that I know the content of them. I know the theory, I practice the theory. It ain't working right now.

This too shall pass, yes maybe, it's just a phase. A bloody long one though and grinding my nerves one too Maybe it's related to baby in house. Maybe she's picking it up from nursery. You see, she's a lovely, funny, if extremely energetic girl, she's not like that really. It's an act, and a flipping annoying one.

While baby has decided to also start whining constantly (which is not an act of course and I worry my head off what's up because she's not a cry baby at all, and if this is really just down to a mild viral infection). Can someone stop the noise please before my head explodes.

Suggestions on how to turn around the drama and making a mother daughter relationship fun again are very much invited (oh and I know the obvious stuff, and we don't do time out because it upsets her too much). After all I want to enjoy this year of maternity leave, the idea is to spend quality time with my kids and I honestly don't know what's up.


Mwa said...

Oh I'm so sorry it didn't work for a long time. At least it worked for a bit? I am so with you on the frustration some days. I'm afraid I don't have many extra suggestions. We do stickers for good behaviour sometimes, with a chart up on the wall or stickers on her jumper. And I do do time out, but she doesn't seem to care too much so that's not always helpful either. Maybe it is just a matter of waiting for it to pass... which I hope it does tomorrow.

herald said...

i'm normally a passive follower of your blog but i just want you tell you that reading your blog, i think you don't need any parental course!!!!
I think at that age, toddlers ARE difficult and it can be a total nightmare, saying no and do this and not that for the millionth time. So don't think you're doing anything wrong, your daughters are not doing anything wrong, apart from testing you and their boundries.
personally, I wouldn't spend too much time on the internet researching as I'm a great believer in every mother's ability. I'm not normally reading anything about parenting on principle (but that's my won choice, so wouldn't tell others to do the same!!), trying to act on your instinct. It probably doesn't always work but mostly :-)
Have you read any books by Remo Largo? Its used in Swiss unis and teacher training colleges and i used it too, it's not about parenting but about child development psychology, very warmly reccommended (haha, almost contradicts what i've said above!), as it answers a lot of questions.

Nikki said...

My son's younger than Cubling so we haven't hit the threes yet, but I've found 'Raising Your Spirited Child' by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka really helpful.
One of my favourite ideas from her is setting a timer to end an activity, e.g. you can watch TV for another 15 minutes and then when the timer beeps it's time to stop - I use this for all sorts of things now & get far fewer arguments.
Hope you find something that helps. Btw, love your blog!

Dot said...

I hate the bribes/threats thing too, but we find ourselves using them a lot, or a lot more than we want to. But it does seem to be getting a bit better. I hope things get better for you and that our general trend continues upwards...

PantsWithNames said...

Try not to beat your self up - this parenting lark is really really hard. Just remember it is a phase and they will come through it. Hopefully you will still have some shred of sanity left by then. Thinking of you - and as someone who has walked this line for a while - I can promise that the phase does end, it really does. Big big hugs. xxx

cartside said...

@Mwa, maybe I'm just not patient enough, we had a better time Friday and today, so hopefully it works in the long run. Maybe we should introduce reward charts for some things

@herald oh I like child development psychology, must look out for this book!

@Nikki, I read this book in a library when Cubling was very young, and loved it because I suddenly realised that yes, she was spirited and not just a mad hatter. On the good side of a spirited child - she is exhuberant, and totally enthusiastic about stuff. I remember the importance of clear boundaries for spirited kids, which is why I probably parent with a bit more discipline than I had intended to.

@Dot, I don't know where I'd be without threats and rewards, but I now try to use them as factual consequences, and with some relation to the behaviour I want to encourage (no desert if food not finished, no time for play after dinner if she eats slowly)

@PantswithNames, thanks, I do hope it's a phase (though I fear it may run into puberty?). It was reassuring to meet up with a few mummy friends on Friday and to hear rather similar stories without any prompting by me ;)



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