Friday, July 23, 2010

How Do I Know Whom To Listen To?

I was researching other Mommy blogs when I stumbled upon this short interview with the author Betsy Brown Braun on Guru Mommy.

The interviewer happened to ask the question I struggle with...

So how do we get our child to listen? Listening is not the problem. The problem is that your child is not being compliant, not doing what you are asking him to do or not to do. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You, however, need to grow some credibility, otherwise known as backbone.
What do we do if they ignore this? Position yourself deliberately, right in front of your child and not across the room from your child. State your request clearly, being very specific in your expectations.
And if this isn’t working? Explain the consequence for non-compliance, giving just one warning. Give him a moment to comply, and when he doesn’t, lower the boom (impose the related consequence.) Repeated and hollow threats create children who don’t listen.

It's good advice, I guess.  But I think we've tried this method and it hasn't worked.  And it really brings up the issue of "compliance" in children.  Yes, there are times that our children need to listen to us, but at what costs to our children's future self-esteem?

I want my children to learn independence, too, and not just how to comply with what an "authority" says to do.

Sometimes I think I read too much.  I end up with so many differing opinions on what's right and wrong that it gets confusing to know just what to do at all anymore.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Find Your Peace

I have to go into the OB’s office every week now for a non-stress test. This morning the doctor saw a “decel” of the baby’s heart, so just to be safe, I had to go to St. Vincent’s to be hooked up for an extended non-stress test.

The baby turned out to be fine. The machine was even picking up my early contractions. They better just be Braxton-Hicks; I’ve got seven weeks to go.

That was my entire morning. I managed to stay sane for the whole afternoon with the kids. Cole is so frightened of thunderstorms; he just lay against my body for a half-an-hour during the loud booms.

Speaking of loud booms, Genny did not like it when I said it was time for bed. She freaked out in all her glory.

Screaming. Crying. Throwing books. And her piece de resistance—kicking her mother a few times.

I tried ignoring it. Reasoning with her. Sending her to her room. But nothing worked and she refused to listen to anything I said.

Finally, after holding her door closed while she screamed hysterically, she stopped. I could hear her taking out her dress-up drawer. I managed to get the now freaked-out Cole to bed.

As I came out of his room, she came into the hallway and apologized. She got no books. But I lay down with her.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’ve read books; I’ve followed my instincts; I’ve been understanding; I’ve been stern.

I always end up back here. Trying to figure this whole parenting thing out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mom on Strike

We went away for the weekend to the Rocking Horse Ranch in the Catskills. And while none of us actually went on a trail ride, Genny did get to go on Pony rides. There were indoor and outdoor water slides, pools, a lake with boating of all kinds, and lots of food.

In between a few intestinal issues for a few members of the family, everybody had a good time.

So, imagine my annoyance when after a fun-filled weekend, Genny started in on her “I hate Mommy” antics at dinner last night.

For some reason, a new part of me snapped and I announced, “I’m on strike! I’m not having this new baby until I feel like I live in a loving family.”

Take that, cranky girl!

“I don’t care.”

Fine. I sat there and seethed in my anger.

“OK, then…well, I’m going to take the new baby and go away somewhere where people love me.”

I got a big pouty look.

After Genny excused herself, Nick looked at me and said, “What was that all about?”

That’s when it hit me. My mood swings have been quite erratic lately. I’m not giving myself enough acknowledgement that being 33-weeks pregnant in the heat of the summer with wild hormones rushing through me is taking its toll.

I can’t control my feelings. When I’m angry—watch out—it’s coming out. When I’m sad—I’m just bawling my eyes out wherever I am. I can’t control it and I just have to accept it right now.

I hope my family can, too.

Genny runs back into the kitchen, beaming.

“Come into the living room everybody!”

Nick carries Cole and I lug my aching body towards the living room. A sign hangs on the doorway: To Mom. Genny.

As I walk in, Genny tosses homemade rainbow confetti on my head. She’s beaming. I sit on the living room table as she sprinkles colors across my face. I push away the thoughts about how when Genny does something nice for me it usually means a big mess for me to clean up.

She did it for me. And I really do feel loved.