I’m too hard on my 3 (soon to be 4 in about a month) year old. I have to find a balance. There must be a medium in between letting her have a temper tantrum and sending her to her room.
My little tike is feisty, like her mother. She is extremely intelligent, funny, and spews personality. She also stays on 100 from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to sleep. This can get, frankly put, annoying. If you are a parent, I know you understand how it feels to hear, “Mom… mom!!!!!” all day long. Well for me, it’s all day long on the weekends. A constant pull, a nagging if you will.
Hey, I’m just keeping it real.
But I’m no ogre. I know that the seemingly nagging cries are really pleas for attention. She wants her momma. She was my only baby for 3 years and then comes along this other tiny person who demands all of my time.
I struggle with the art of discipline because I was disciplined harshly. I spent the first decade of my life in a single parent household. My mother worked three jobs. She was tired, I’m sure stressed as well. I remember her hardness when it came to disciplining me. And that stuck with me.
I don’t want to be hard. I want to discipline my children in love. I want them to understand why mommy raised her voice. I don’t want them sitting in time-out wondering what in the world they did.
But to get the above result, I have to check myself. I have to make sure I don’t yell at them out of frustration. And I have yelled at my baby girl out of frustration. I have sent her to her room out of frustration. And I felt horrible about it afterwards.
Last night I was tired and she was on 100: bouncing all over the place, being loud, and not listening. That not listening thing drives me bonkers. I don’t understand it. When I pick her up from daycare, her teachers tell me that she is the best student in the class and they never have to say anything to her. Even when she tells me about her day, she tells me how other kids got in trouble for not listening to the teacher….. (insert confused face)
Well where does this amazing child disappear to when she gets to my house??
But back to my story, I was tired and she just would not listen. After a while, I was done and sent her straight to her room.
Again, I understand the root of it. I truly believe that she just wants attention. She will even pretend to be a baby, doing the things that her brother does, just so that I will give her the same response. I believe the temper tantrums and acting out are cries for my love as well.
But where do I draw the line? How do I deal with this, knowing why she’s acting this way? It’s still wrong for her to deliberately not listen to me. It’s disrespectful to talk back to me or stomp away angrily whilst growling because I said no. I don’t want her to grow up thinking these things are okay. And I definitely don’t want her thinking that acting out is the way to get my attention.
What if discipline isn’t the problem? Perhaps I should just show her more attention. (Geez, can someone get me a thesaurus?) Easier said than done.
I wake up at 4am just to get me and the kids out the house so that I can get to work by 7:15. I get off work at 3:45, get back to my car between 5:15 and 5:30 to pick up the kids, and make it in the house by 6. When I get home, it is HARD. I’m not making excuses, just shedding some light.
Maybe I’ll plan a mommy-daughter day. We can get our nails done and eat Taco Bell. She loves the quesadilla and cinnamon twists. Maybe I need to hug her more often and a little longer. Maybe the three minutes that I spend laying in the bed with her every night should be 10 minutes. Maybe I should just ignore her when she acts out. (nah….)
Even as I type this, she has managed to concoct a reason as to why she needs to be downstairs and not in her bed. If she wakes up her brother I promise you, I will cry.
Well, let me go tend to her (and coax her back to bed.)