Saturday, January 30, 2016

When Parenting Doesn't Come as Naturally as you Thought it Would

I love this quote by Adele:

Adam and I felt overwhelmed and a bit lost. We were trying to raise a respectful, polite toddler, and were constantly being hit in the face with arguments, defiance, and turmoil. And for me, it was made even more apparent when my parents, Weeze and Dad were there to witness the interactions.

So yes, I asked my parents for their advice. I imagine it must have been difficult for them as well, to watch a three year old arguing and defying her parents. They told me that they just never tolerated any back talk from my brother and me. Weeze said when kids disrespected adults, "it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up." By the time I was a toddler I listened to what they said, no questions asked. 

I was sometimes smacked on the butt, and always sent up to my room. It was understood that I was not to come downstairs until I was calm and ready to apologize for my behavior. The onus was put on me. I'm sure there were times when I probably wasn't sorry, but it got pretty boring alone in my room. So, I did as I was told, and said that I was sorry.

This type of discipline made sense to me. It was what I knew. But what do you do when your child refused to stay in her room? What if she came flying out, flailing and screaming? Do you hold the door shut with all of your might, while she's pulling at it, so she can't get out? We tried that. Do you take toys away? Tried it. Do you smack her butt more than once? We tried that. 

And here comes that **cringe** again. 

(Unfortunately, you will see this reactionary word come into play more often, as my journals progress. Because dealing with a toddler is one thing. You are bigger, and you still have the ability to carry her to where she needs to be. Dealing with an older, mouthy child, who you are no longer able to pick up and shove into her car seat, that is a whole other world of frustration and complication.)

My solution was to write two signs, for my benefit only, and put them on the refrigerator. 

One said: Say no to "I don't want to"
The other said: Say No to "No!".

I really wasn't sure why I needed to do this, and why these things didn't come naturally to me, but they obviously didn't. My neck hairs just didn't stand up.

Jordan's pediatrician told me this, about raising kids: "The harder you try, the harder they close." 


He was actually referring to eating and potty training, but there is so much more to this quote, isn't there? I know that I mentioned it before, but you really can't force another human being to do anything, if they blatantly refuse. 

And this becomes more frightening, and possibly more detrimental, as kids get older. Not staying in a bedroom seems like child's play as compared to some of the real-life teen issues that may be looming: cutting, drugs and alcohol, getting out of bed for school, attempting suicide, taking medication, having sex, doing homework, driving safely... We may tell them our expectations, but whether they listen or not, is really up to them. 

Sorry for the long length, and for ending with this uncomfortable dose of (hopefully not your) reality.  

Thank you,

Us Too

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