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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I will never win mother of the year

but I think I do a pretty good job. However, I am worried about my youngest. She is 8; smart and charismatic with a very warm, cuddly, happy to please personality 98% of the time. The other 2%...she is angry, in rage even. Stomping around and nothing is right, complete refusal to do something mundane-like brushing teeth even in the face of a punishment -loss of computer time, etc. It then ramps up to 'i'm stupid, no-one cares about me, you're mean, you hate me, i hate me, i wish I were dead', she even accused me once of wanting to kill her! These episodes are usually triggered by homework help, bed times or a rushed getting ready for school, but I hate to say it -these are just about the only times we are actually requiring something of her.

She is an extrovert living in a household of introverts and I feel like I cannot give her the warmth that she wants...(NEEDS?). The other part of me really resents being manipulated by this behavior. Do I try to be something I am not? Can I meet the needs of this 'needy' child, or do I let her find her own way to meet her needs?
I am feeling sad and guilty.


Ruralrose said...

hate to say it, but i think she knows those words work so she uses them, it is tough being a mom weeding out the real from the painful - i share the same kind of thing, when mine is off to bed or school after an "episode", i am in tears and full of regret and worry (sometimes can last all day), my dear husband always reminds me that while I am stewing the kid is on to happy things and not giving it a second thought - i think every good mom goes through this, move on to happy things - peace

Illoura said...

Hi Kris, thought I'd come by for a visit - since you visited me!
I raised several kids once, even twins, and it's never easy to balance on that invisible parenting line that doesn't seem to have a name, but makes things so hard!
I know that with whining, complaining, or other intolerable vocal habits that all the experts (and super nanny) say to ignore them- or rather, insist on the proper kind of communication from the child. I think in this case, your eight yr. old is expressing her feelings about having to do something she doesn't want to do- but not 'appropriately'. Perhaps it would help to insist that she speak her feelings in acceptable words (she'll resist because it's more work to identify her true feelings or to expose herself that way). The attention she gets will not be the kind she wants, and she might rather just go ahead and do the thing rather than have to go through explaining her gripe against it.
Also, she might benefit from having a choice about the thing- say she has a choice 10 to do 10 minutes of homework (with a timer) and maybe that way it won't seem so overwhelming, if that's an issue), or 2) clean something for 10 minutes (dishes, etc... things she won't like even more). That way you're not always playing the bad guy by "making" her do things- it's her choice, especially if it's always in a very calm polite but firm voice - so she knows she is never going to get you to back down or push your buttons.
Then you can genuinely reward her "good choice" with something she likes, a teddy-bear tea or a story or putting her hair in braids...
Good luck with this little one!
Now I'm off to explore!