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Alexander is having a hard time listening to me. I ask him to do simple things, get ready for bed, or turn the TV off, and I’m met with a negotiation.

I’m not a negotiating Mom. My expectation is that I ask my kids to do something, and it’s done. Today we went head to head, twice. It’s really awful, and I hate it, because I watch my son lose control. He just can’t. He’s got to outgrow this, and be able to hear from people that he won’t get his way. If he doesn’t learn soon, he won’t be a good playmate, and I can’t imagine that any teacher would be enamored with him.

Even when I’m eyeball to eyeball with my son, a belligerent eight year old, I can’t help but be filled with love. It’s not an angry sort of challenge. It’s an I love you so much that we’ve got to get this under control sort of challenge.

So, I’m stricter than I’d like to be right now. I want to be the Mom who lets her son get away with pushing the limits, but right now I can’t. Because that wouldn’t help him grow.

It would be easier on both of us, but growing them up is my job.

10 thoughts on “Growing”

  1. Oh…you and I are battling the same issues with our 8 year olds. Exactly the same.

    It’s so awful, because it’s just so hard to not scoop him up and hug him when he loses control. I’m hoping it’ll be a short phase that will be back to where it needs to be quickly with the proper guidance and patience. And wine.

  2. Hi it’s my first time to leave a comment but I just wanted to say hang in there, you are doing a great job and you have really hit the nail on the head about what it means to be a parent!!!
    I have an 11 yr old and a 9 year old, and one thing I have definitely learned is to stand FIRM. If I say it – I mean it, so they know in advance where they stand. If they are great at getting up and ready for school they get TV and computer time later…. I constantly tell them they are in charge, their behaviour controls what happens. I sometimes use a high quality fish oil when I feel that small issues are causing large reactions, you sort of know at this point it’s just pure frustration!! Growing up is tough.. I use MorEPA junior, but I’m in Ireland so not sure if it’s the same brand there. Like everything else we are all just finding our way, i tell them how tough it is to make the hard decisions, but that’s what makes the best mums.. You love them enough to be the bad guy !!

  3. hang tough my friend. but also remember to start to pick your battles. i am not a negotiating mom either, but i will tell you that moms like us need to ease up on the control freak pedal as the kids get bigger. they start to want some control, as they should. give it to him in places that don’t matter that much.

    as my mom used to say, “give him enough rope to hang himself”

    good luck with that and deep breathing.

  4. Good post. Looks like you have the right attitude. Hang in there with it and stand your ground. As the mother of 16 year old twins I’d like to say it gets easier but I found those early years easier so I guess it’s different for everyone. It looks like you are doing the good and hard early work now. Great job!

  5. Children have built-in bullshit detectors that will trump even the most savvy adult’s.
    If I am scared that my kids’ behaviour will have some sort of negative social impact, they pick up on that and it won’t matter a wit what I say. They are like emotional miners – scouring my psyche for the not-right thing.
    They don’t have the social skills to put it to words, but if they did it would sound like, “Hey, Mom, I need to know that your fear of me not fitting in socailly or being liked by my teachers is not a threat to our bond.”

    My kids get nervous as hell if they can’t sense the limits – or if they think they really can break them – I think you are right to hold firm.


    That’s your fear. You better own it b/c he will sense that and throw it back to you in many a beligerant form until you do.

    My kids are like little Ninjas hacking away all of my “stories” about them until we’re left with just eachother. In that space a beautiful thing happens; we see eachother – not the images we have of one another. Just us – flawed and gorgeous. Everybody’s okay. There’s room for the possibilty that someone might have to experience being rejected by playmates or teachers in order to learn that they can’t have their way. That’s okay. Mom’s got the balls (most the time)to hold us firmly in her loving grip while we work it out.

  6. First– I feel that kids need to understand what the rules are and why they exist– like bedtime. ” my job as your parent is to make sure you are well rested so you can get the most out of your day– school, sports etc– so i believe that 8pm makes sense– esp you have to wake up at X am.” What do you think kid?” ” Well i agree but on Friday i don’t need to be at school until X time–so can i go to bed later on Thursday.” ” Yes- that makes sense– but then you need to go to bed when i remind you w/o lip the rest of the week.”
    I think that sometimes it helps to give a little negotiating room to a child where it really doesn’t make a big difference— and let them start using their decision making skills w you as a guide. I totally believe that “no” means NO — but that NO needs to be used when it really matters. Good luck dear Jess

  7. I always thought I’d like to be the pushover parent with my daughter; and that I’d leave the tough parenting stuff up to my husband.

    But even at two years old my daughter has this defiant streak. It comes and goes, usually over the most mundane of things. I can tell her to pick up toys and 9 times out of 10 she’ll do it without a fuss. But that 1 time, for whatever reason, she just refuses. Flat out.

    And there’s no amount of talking or yelling or spanking or bargaining or time-outing or anything that will work. I know people say to be consistent with discipline, whatever path you choose – but I’ve been trying to hard to find something that works in these moments. Obviously none of the above is working, so what can I do? Go by the book and do just one thing that isn’t working at all for the sake of being a consistent parent? Or should I evolve and try to figure out, in time, what works best for parenting my child?

    The older I get and the longer I do this “mothering” thing, the more I find myself breaking free of labels and stereotypes and expectations. I want to do what’s best for my child and what’s best for me as her mother. It’s hard trying to figure out how to be the parent your child needs you to be. I’ve yet to see the manual for that task.

  8. I completely agree with you! Even tho mine are only 4 and 5… I started early with limits and teaching. People were amazed when my little ones were sitting at the table in a restaurant with napkins and silverware…. eating… not playing. It pays off. You’re doing great!

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