Saturday, March 5, 2011

In the Trenches of Parenting

So, my super sweet daughter, Sarah, who has the nicknames of Sugar Bear and Sweetheart because they fit her so perfect - has been a major challenge lately.  She has been going through some huge testing of boundaries that we set - being openly defiant, refusing to do things asked of her.  I think she has left screaming and crying in the morning at least 4 days this week.  And really, it's over stupid stuff.  Like this morning -Mike is taking the girls to Pancakes with Pop at the school and then we have to leave for her ice skating lessons. Then we are traveling after that.  She wanted to wear a skirt. The rule is, no skirts skating - you have to wear blue jeans.  You would have thought the dog died with the sobbing fit she threw!  We finally set the timer - if she wanted to go - she had to have her new outfit on (and it's one of her favorite outfits normally) - or she wasn't going.  Thankfully she finally got ready.  But seriously it was a 30 minute ordeal. 

Normally I don't make a big deal of my kids outfits (seriously you should see some of the things I let them wear to school) - but sometimes it's not a choice.  But really it's not just this - it's been EVERYTHING lately.  No she won't take a shower. No she won't eat her dinner. No she won't take 5 min and pick up some things in her room. No she won't respond kindly to her sister.  S.t.u.b.b.o.r.n. she has been!

I keep reminding myself it's just a phase.  But it's been going on for over a month now! Ugh. I'm getting tired. Had to pull out one of my favorite parenting books again, "Boundaries with Kids" by Cloud & Townsend. And be strengthened by reading this:
  • Part of the heat of parenting is tolerating and enduring your child's hatred of your boundaries. You and your child each have a different job here: The kid's job is to test your resolve, so she can learn about reality. Your job is to withstand the test, including anger, pouting, tantrums, and much more.
  • You are like an oak tree that the child runs her head into over and over again, until she realizes that the tree is stronger than she is, and she walks around it next time. 
And of course, you have to read that in context of the whole book.  It's not about dictatorship and always being right. But boundaries like eating healthy, keeping clean, being responsible for your things, being kind - are just a few of the things I am responsible for teaching her.  And it takes boundaries to do that.  I want her to like me, I don't want her to cry in the mornings. I hate it. It starts my day terrible. Yet I am not in the role of her 'friend' - I hope that when she is grown, we will share a great friendship, but for now, I am in the role of her mom. And that means following thru with boundaries and consequences, however painful it feels to me.

And at least the great thing about Sarah is that she lives in the moment, so I'm hoping by the time they got to Pancakes with Pop, they are having a great time! I'm sure she's forgot all about her outfit by now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I also have struggled with these boundaries. Went through it with Makayla, and currently going through it with Kaidin. He won't brush his teeth in the morning, refuses to do homework. It is a struggle, and we feel like the bad person. I even struggle with giving in sometimes, which is not the right thing to do. I fear that he will not like me, and I want to be the 'cool' mom. I am thinking I should read that book you are reading. ;-) Know, that you are not alone in this journey. This phase in their life will pass, and they will respect us more for setting these guidelines...if we ourselves can make it