May 30, 2012

Power Struggles: What Are The Odds I'll Make It Out Alive?


The daughter, young lass, age 7, and I are having a bit of a power struggle.  I, having been a young lass and blossoming tween once upon a time, know that this is only the beginning.  I can't blame the kid; there has been a lot of change in her life the past few years/months/weeks with divorce, moving, and her Dad moving out of state.  I know there will be outbursts, a little rage, tears, testing boundaries, etc.  But as of late, I might be at the end of my rope.
See what I mean?  I think she's flashing some sort of secret
gang sign at me.

 I can tough it out, call me what you want kid, but I won't tolerate brats.  Do I have sympathy?  Yes, we can discuss how you feel; but the whole lashing out thing doesn't work well for me.  Maybe I'm too strict, but I give lots of hugs, love and reassurance; so I don't think I'm neglecting any child around here.  

I will say the emotional beat down the kid can give takes a toll after a while.  Kind of like when people say, "Haha, Cari, you're crazy" after so many times, and then you think, wait...am I crazy?  So your kid hits you with a verbal attack which you think you shrug off, only to later think, "am I really a meanie-head?”

No matter how many years you've had in the parenting trenches, you will never be prepared to hear the following phrases:

"I hate you."

"I wish you weren't my Mom."

"You are the worst Mom in the world."

Need I continue?  No.  If you haven't heard these yet, they are on the way.  Things looked so promising when I brought her home from the hospital.  Of course I apply my myriad of disciplinary techniques:

Ignore it and hope it goes away.

You know, a little, "lalalalalala, I can't hear you" in my head.  But of course this only works for so long because the children are highly skilled at button pressing and know it will only take 5.8 seconds before I crack OR they will hit a sibling to regain your attention.  That'll do it.

The Jedi Mind Trick

Child: I hate you.

Me: Well, I LOOOOVVVVE you.

Child: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

Me: Okay, but I still love you.

Two outcomes here: they begin to laugh hysterically, or they have already passed over to the dark side in which case you've really just pissed them off even more, furthering a lifelong battle of wills to the death.

Punish

We have a no sass talking policy around this house.  Not everything written in the policies and procedures manual is obeyed by the children.  I really need to talk to the manager about that.  This means I need to crack the whip!  That's right, get all big and puffy and yell, or uh, give them a stern talking to, and take away some privileges.

Really at the end of the night, there was no clear winner and we hugged it out.  I think this is always going to be a tough thing for me, being the only parent, finding the balance between disciplinarian and nurturer.  

At this point in the post, I shall retire; as I am weary and will probably partake in some sort of adult beverage...but please leave some advice below, how do you deal with the power struggles?



16 comments:

  1. That could very well be my daughter there. She's said those exact words to me so many times... that I'm the worst mommy in the world, etc.

    Yes, it is so difficult to strike a balance between being a disciplinarian and nurturer. We single moms have nobody else to tag to take turns with us in disciplining the kids.

    Which reminds me, I guess I need to keep a regular supply of adult beverages handy- just to see me through the next power struggle.

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  2. Oh, I'm not looking forward to the "sassy" years...

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  3. When complaining about something the "kids at school" had, I told my daughter that she had stuff that they probably didn't have. To which she replied "like what? A mean mom?"

    And so I said I'll show you a mean mom, punched her in the face and then locked her in a closet.

    hahahah...they are smart when they are sassy. I wish I had a good answer for you. Is alcohol a good answer? If it is, that's what I'm going with. Hang in there...

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  4. My kids haven't hit the sassy years yet, but do you have any advice on how to deal with the obstinate, whiny years? My two boys play off each other and perpetuate fits for what seems an inhuman time. So far, methods one and three only get me so far. I'm not sure if they will respond to the Jedi Mind trick (if they can even hear me over their yelling) but I'm willing to give it a try.

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  5. My friends little boy asked her how to spell "hate" then proceeded to write I hate you mummy on his bedroom wall with a crayon so.... good luck!

    Jedi method is definitely a good one xx

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  6. Tough one and it gets worse when they actually hit the teen years! I like your way of responding :) Must try that! My biggest problem is trying NOT to lose my cool when it gets crazy. Am also trying to find the fine line between nuture & discipline so ... hang in there. Sounds like your'e doing good ! Am stealing yr Jedi mind trick ;) Next time I have one!

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  7. Argh! I feel your pain, Cari! When Abbie, age 7, gets ugly, I tell her she needs to go to her room & not come out till she can use her "nice words". Sometimes I have to "count" to make her go, which always ticks her off but sends her on her way. I don't know what it is about counting, but it's ominous, I tell you what. Also, I count DOWNWARD, starting at 5... maybe it's cuz she knows it'll end at 1... & that's when mama spanks that ass! She usually heads off by the time I get from 5 to 3, yelling over her shoulder about how counting is "mean", but by golly she GOES! And usually comes back out in 20 minutes ready to hug it out. Don't know if that would work for you or not, but that's all I got, my dear. Good luck! And at least you're in good company! (((hugs)))

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  8. I've also been there...it's tough, I know...my kids are grown now. Believe it or not, the kids really like the discipline. My kids remember moments where they got in my face and acted sassy and I got really tough. My 6'5" 22 year old who is now a professional football player remembers when he grew as big as me, got in my face and puffed out his chest and said "no" after I told him to clean his room. I wacked him on the butt and told him to get in his room. He says he respected me for it. Be strict. Don't allow any sassy talk. They will respect you for it. They need boundaries, especially now. You'll do fine.

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  9. I'm not going to give you advice...I know you get enough of that already...but I'll add this to the list of painful rants said by my own child ..."You love other children more than you love me"

    : ( That one hurt me the worst.

    What I will tell you is...it gets soooo much better.... :) They become adults and they live their lives and you get to see what a great job you did! At least that's what I keep telling myself lol!

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    1. p.s. I recognize the secret gang sign.... This too shall pass :)

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  10. oh, i'm not there yet. sounds like you're doing what i would do. not that that means much. i'm a rookie! :)

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  11. Send 'em to their rooms for any bad behavior. When they can be respectful, helpful, kind, whatever you're looking for...they get out of jail. If you can master the "I'm calm and unaffected by your crap" face, that's really good, too. And keep telling yourself....this, too, shall pass. Someday, she'll be 25 and you'll be buddies. :-) God bless you in these years!

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  12. Oh boy, is she cute! Being a single mom is exhausting, and it's tough to find the right balance among disciplinarian, snuggly sweet momma and fun playmate. But they're all important roles. The most important thing, however, is to be present. I missed the mark here quite often with my daughter when she was young. She's now 25 and getting married later this year and living across the entire country from me. There's still a special connection between us, made deeper because it was just the two of us her first six years of life, and I miss her desperately. I wish I had been more present during her first six years, when instead I spent so much time wallowing in the discipline and the difficulties of being a single parent with NO visitation breaks. Ever. Try to appreciate having your kids all to yourself...it goes by far too fast. (I know this is easier said than done, in the moments.) With your humor, you can't possibly go wrong. Bless your heart. (O; www.westcoastposse.com

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  13. it might just be me, but my son used to say he hated me. i just said "ok then go find another mommy, but in the meantime you still have to do what i told you" :P iuno... but it doesn't bother me. you shouldnt let it get to you either. shes just having a bad day when she says those things.

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  14. Oh good googly. Have you looked for Stuart Smalley/Smallee/Small*E on facebook? When you get that worn down sometimes you need a "You're good enough, smart enough..." pep talk. Well, not really. It'd be more effective if you could throat punch him. So um yeah. I guess I got nothing. Although, I am a HUGE fan of your first parenting technique.

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