A word of warning, I write this as therapy for myself.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of incidents with my daughters that were totally frustrating to me. And of course, there is always commentary from the peanut gallery (read parents) on how I’m handling parenting, whether my daughters- esp. my younger one are growing up to be little delinquents. I don’t know which is more frustrating- the disciplinary problem, or the peanut gallery commentary.
It all started the other night on my way home… I got a call from BigA… saying that littleA just put Elmer’s glue in her dinner. You might ask what the responsible adult in charge was doing when littleA had the glue bottle poised over the plate-… I’ve been asking, but haven’t quite figured out how a glue bottle made it to the table during dinner. I was relating this story to my mother, and the first words out of her mouth were something to the effect of – that little kid is a complete terror.! Great. There is pretty much no faster way to shut down my desire to talk to my mother, than when she makes comments like that.
I haven’t written a word about this, because it is difficult for me. LittleA’s like that little girl who had a little curl on her forehead… you know the one… when she was good she was very very good… and when she was bad, she was horrid. Yeah. That’s the one. LittleA is a very challenging child to parent-she’s far more stubborn, she can be a bully at times, and she is very tall and strong for her age- but she is also the absolute most loving and caring child, she is extremely gregarious and everyone in school knows her. The discipline techniques that worked well with BigA at the same age (actually, even the threat of time out would send BigA into such hysterics that we only ever put her in time out twice I think)… does not work AT ALL on LittleA. She’s just a totally different kid- punishment is not a very effective disciplinary technique with her, and I must constantly pay attention to where she is and what she is doing because she is likely to get herself into trouble if I don’t. This has led lots of people, the peanut gallery and others, to label her as a difficult child- and to ascribe responsibility for her character to her parent’s parenting ability. At least that’s how it feels from the inside…. and it overwhelms me a times. Like when my mother feels she needs to point these things out to me. again.
Last night, before I got home- LittleA kicked her grandmother (my mother in law). Obviously it is a hard and fast rule at our house that we do not hurt other people, and if I had been home there would have been a very swift response. But my parent’s in law don’t do discipline. I have no idea why- but they don’t discipline the kids when they are at the house and I’m not home. This makes me crazy. In fact, they didn’t even tell me what happened. They waited, until DrMrA got home near bedtime, they told him… and I just didn’t feel like I could let it pass… LittleA needs to learn that she can’t hurt people and get away with it. So she sat in time-out…. hysterical, got up about 20 times, refused to apologize. It was a total nightmare. I’m upset about it still.
Then, this morning, my father-in-law told me that he didn’t understand why I made her sit in time out last night… because everyone makes mistakes and she’s only 6.
I can’t win.