I Hate You. I Want a Glass of Milk. Throw My Sister in the Trash.

5-24-14 sisters love

Sometimes being a mom feels so good. There are so many great hugs and kisses. There are so many kind words. There are even tender moments between siblings every once in a while too. Sometimes being a mom is so tough. I feel so totally out of control right now. There are so many things that my almost four year does that drive me up a wall. My mom is an amazing resource for my family and one of the things she stresses is that if at all possible, you decide how you will react to a situation before it happens. Have a plan. You might not know the first time it happens, but it will likely happen again and the next time you will be ready. If you have a plan, you’re more likely to be able to keep your cool and you’re more likely to be able to be consistent. I am all over the place lately and I think my daughter can sense that I am grasping at straws to decide how to react to these newer situations. She also has four adults very involved in her home life and chances are we’re all reacting a little differently. I think it’s also important for my husband and I to make time to talk out these situations so I don’t find myself “correcting” him in the heat of the moment. So in order to help myself, I am going to list out our current struggles as a first step to help us think about how we’d like to handle them.

  1. She’s using a lot of negative words toward her sister: I hate her, throw her in the garbage, give her to another family, BAD “S” (her sister’s name), I never wanted a sister.
  2. She’s being physical with her sister: pushing her down as she runs by her, pushing her away if her sister gets too close to something she’s using.
  3. Instead of asking for something nicely, she demands it at increasingly higher volumes until the demand/request is acknowledged.
  4. Playing with doors, specifically shutting a door in my face as I am about to leave a room. Hanging on doorknobs. This is mostly done as a game, but it infuriates me.
  5. Refusing to take off clothes/go to the bathroom/brush teeth for bath time. Running around the house naked and laughing. This is the time of the day when I am just not in the mood to chase her down to get ready for bed.
  6. Poking around instead of getting herself dressed and ready to go before school. She doesn’t usually just flat out refuse to do something, but will do everything in her power to do the things I ask of her as slow as humanly possible.

I originally started this post thinking I would list something I’d try for each of the above, but after taking the time to list them out, I am just feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Maybe you can offer your advice on any of the above situations and share what has worked for you. Ultimately these things become struggles of power, which is the exact opposite of how I’d like my relationship with my children to be. If anything, this list has started some much needed dialogue with my husband and gives me a little self confidence to begin moving past feeling out of control and move toward working with my wonderful kiddo on these issues and improving my reactions that are causing family strife.


8 thoughts on “I Hate You. I Want a Glass of Milk. Throw My Sister in the Trash.

  1. Try ‘peaceful parenting happy kids’ by Laura Markham. It’s written by a psychologist and is based on connecting with your child so they want to do what you ask. Sounds crazy but seems to work very well with my 3 year old. She also has a website with loads of free advice called http://www.Ahaparenting.com

    We used advice from here when dealing with our kid’s tantrums (throwing, screaming, hitting etc.) when I tried to put him to bed and he wanted my husband. We wanted something different as a lot of advice would offer ‘just ignore them and they will stop’. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I was freaking out at my husband when I was upset and he ignored me. Sure I’d probably stop freaking out once I learned I wasn’t going to get his attention but we’d both lose the opportunity to work out why I was so upset and try and prevent it from happening again. And it would hardly improve our relationship! She explains that children’s ‘acting out’ mean they need help with their emotions. Time outs, spanking, shouting, naughty step etc. where kids are left on their own just teach that ‘when you are experiencing x emotion, I will leave you on your own because I don’t like it/can’t handle it’. I want to teach my children to accept all their emotions! And as someone who didn’t get this from their parents and who subsequently suffered from depression and blocked off a lot of feelings, I’m happy my children will have a different experience.

    1. Sarah,
      Thank you so much! I love the way you’ve put this and I totally agree. Oh man, do I love that kid and want her to be sure she knows how much I care about how she feels. How many times have I been having irrational feelings and leaned on my husband to calm my fears/anxiety! Thank you for the book suggestion too.

  2. My newly-turned three year old daughter is doing many of these zany tricks. Does this mean she’s advanced? I’m so proud! Ugh, I can completely relate to this though. And running around the house nude and laughing at bathtime can be so aggravating, but I just laughed when I read that someone else’s kid is doing it. Somehow, it’s cute and amusing when your daughter does it. I’m not being helpful, am I? Hang in there, Momma. You’re doing a great job.

  3. Poor Mom! Sounds like things are rough for the both of you. Perhaps she needs something of her own – something she can be in charge of and feel that she controls. Maybe even just some more one on one Mom time. I know discipline is very important – but when a child has been acting out and receiving more “negative” reactions as a result it can cause things to get in a rut and even escalate behavior. Even dealing with adults, a positive correction can be more effective than a negative one. It really sounds like you are on the right track – thinking about how you want to respond and coordinating with your spouse. Decide what crosses the line and warrants a stronger reaction, but maybe try to use some positive reinforcement and rewards rather than punishment. (I don’t mean bribes exactly, but activities or even verbal praise.) Sometimes ignoring or not reresponding to minor negative behavior makes the child realize – hey why aren’t they paying attention? you sound like a great Mom. I think this is a phase most kids go through (sometimes more than once!) And with some patience and understanding (for the both of you) you’ll both make it out on the other side of this.

    1. Nicky,
      You’re absolutely right. The negative reactions I have DO NOT work, they just further escalate the situation. Better to settle myself and then work on working it out with my girl.

  4. You mean screaming at the top of my lungs wouldn’t be ideal in these situations? Oops :). I only have one trick that worked very well for us. When the kids stalled bedtime too much we reduced the routine. No book. No songs. Eventually, we didn’t even tuck them in one night because they were hopping around and wouldn’t get in bed. We turned off their lights, said goodnight, and went upstairs. They were so upset! It’s been much easier since. (Not perfect, just easier). Good luck!

    1. We’ve done exactly that several times! It does work, but not without a night of EPIC SCREAMING here. But it’s effective– the next night, they know we mean business and get right to what they should be doing.

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