Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bad Parenting Confessional: Authority Figures!

I have a two year old. Discipline is an issue. I often feel like.. authority figure? Who? Me?

Yep, me. When she bumps or whacks the baby, I gotta deal with it. When she mocks nap time. When she throws sand at the playground. Mo-Wo. She's the heavy.

It sucks. Or more appropriately, I suck at it. I will effortless invoke the inheritance tax. I blame my mom for the suckage. For the fact that I hate fulfilling this role as virulently as I do.

My Mum was a real 'she's dead to me' parent. When I moved out at 18 she ripped numerous items, clothing and the like mostly, from my possession announcing the person that they were for wasn't real anymore. Sometimes I still get a bit fucked up about.. well... exisiting really. Thanks Mom!

Knowing what it's like to go from thoughtful to thoughtless human in 30 minutes or less, I wanted to be a more sensitive parent. I caught myself early and always avoid scolding my daughter for not being the 'nice girl she can be'... I always try to focus on the behaviour that is unacceptable.

But it's not working.. She gets a message around here that she is bad. She says so. I wish I had never used the idea of good girl AT ALL. She picks up on everything. If I say be a good girl and do X I'm sunk. She makes mistakes. Last night I tried a fresh bit of redemption. When she said she was a bad girl because she makes mistakes I said No!.
Then I said, "Well honey listen, I make mistakes, don't I?"
"Yes, you do!" she said.
"And, am I a bad mommy?"
"No. No you're not."
"So there you go!"
I could see the wheels turning.. but still.....this is a big hill.

This afternoon as nap strike continued and I abandoned her to an 'enforced period of rest' in her room I was so sad. I thought about it all in such detail. I really felt all those rotten memories of my mother being completely galled by my behavior; my existence. How she did, and still does, make me feel quite small. How I live in a life filled with dissappointment for her. I know my daughter feels my dissappointment about her nonconformity. I also know she feels it alongside a desire for some power. I cannot fault her to want some control of her life even at 2, let alone at 18. But what is right if I don't want her to be spoiled? Ah, back to the Burton White I guess and a little of the Bonny Doon.

Just goes to show that though I fought authority it does always win. Fuckers.

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Blogger kittenpie said...

We have enforced down time too, so even if she doesn't nap, it's resting time and no amount of paintive calling or angry shouting will bring her rescuse for a good hour and a half. They need quiet time to get through the day and, frankly, so do we. I figure if they know that they just need to rest, then not napping is not a crime. (Though we can't help harp on it a bit, too! We reward naps as "helpful" behaviour with hockey viewing before bed. Ah, bribery!)

As to her feelings? I'm confident that she will feel loved despite rules. Perhaps even a bit because of them.

10:48 a.m.  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

We are almost, almost, not-quite there yet. Reading this post has given me a pit of dread in my tummy.

11:59 a.m.  
Anonymous KathyR said...

Oh, it kills you doesn't it? When my son was very little, he once said, with trembling lip: "I know I'm a bad kid."


They are a challenge at every age. I feel I've mostly stumbled my way through it and hope I've only inflicted a little damage.

2:48 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider reading Punished by Rewards : The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes (Paperback) by Alfie Kohn (Author)

My SIL always did "enforced quiet time" -- I always thought of it as solitary confinement, to be reserved for the harshest of criminals. Humans are social animals and depriving children of the company of others just seems wrong to me.

Of course, I'm pretty radical -- I always thought of cribs as cages and would never use one of those, either.

5:52 p.m.  
Blogger Andrea said...

***sigh***yaaaa so hear ya girl. I havestarted the dont react to it game. she is trying to see how far she can push me in the end she gets bored and gets a ton of praise from me when she is being a good girl and no reaction from me when she is being bad. Cant say it is working wonderfully but it has its moments. The reward system of stickers when she goes potty is working really well right now. She is greedy and wants those stickers. lol hehehe

9:30 p.m.  
Blogger NotSoSage said...

I have a clear recollection of my father telling me when I was quite young that something I had done was stupid. I cried and told him that he couldn't call me stupid and when he corrected me that it was my action and not my person he was criticizing, I still found it hard to make that distinction.

And he was SO not the heavy.

12:41 p.m.  

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