Sometimes I Doubt Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion

For the past while (I’m not sure exactly how long because there wasn’t a one-time, conscious decision to make an effort in this one particular aspect of my life) I’ve been trying not to be a screaming banshee in general but with my kids overall. Because, as some of you may recall from back when I used to blog more liberally and say the things I actually wanted to, I’m kind of a (mouth-foaming, wild-eyeing, shit-losing) shouty, sweary mom.  And recently, I’ve been trying not to be.

Let me tell you that it hasn’t been easy! You see, being a mouth-foaming, wild-eyeing, shit-losing, shouty, sweary mom makes it possible for me to NOT be a complete psycho. No, I’m not joking.

Mouth-foaming, wild-eyeing, shit-losing, shouting and swearing might LOOK scary, but it doesn’t hurt anyone, set anything on fire, get anyone put in jail, break anything or cause any permanent damage. It really just lets me get rid of lots of pent-up frustration and communicate how unheard and generally disrespected I feel. But it also makes me look like an irrational lunatic. And, slowly but surely, it’s becoming less and less effective at either getting my message across or making me feel better.

Which puts me at a bit of a loss. Because sometimes I feel so completely unheard and generally disrespected within this family.

Most of the time, I get really upset with David about this because he doesn’t seem to think that it’s a problem when the kids talk back to me or treat me like their personal maid or simply ignore me when I speak to them. It’s fine for him because he’s the fun one. He’s the one they are always happy to see at the end of the day, after I’ve asked then reminded then yelled at them to get changed/pick up their toys/do their homework/put their dirty laundry in the basket…

When David disciplines the kids – especially the littler ones – it’s with a light touch and of short duration. He’s quick to call them back a few moments after shouting at them to give them cuddles and have a gentle talk about things. I’m more of a “bitch” about it. I don’t agree with apologising to them for punishing poor behaviour. I don’t feel it’s okay to let them have their way to get them to stop nagging – that’s rewarding and reinforcing the idea that if they nag hard enough, they get to have whatever they want. I believe in getting the message across effectively. So, if they nag, they don’t get whatever thing it is they want. And if they speak disrespectfully to me (or another grown-up) I don’t respond. Or give them a stern talking to. And when they ignore me, I make a point of making myself heard and getting an acknowledgement.  And if they don’t finish their supper, they don’t get dessert. I don’t believe that these are unfair expectations or reactions on my part. But I lose this battle EVERY time David is around because he feels I’m too hard on the kids and lets them have their way. And they adore him and ignore me because, clearly, I’m just unreasonble.

I often find myself questioning myself on this stuff. Am I going about it all wrong? Should I be more like David in my approach to parenting and discipline? I mean, if someone kept telling me what I could and could not do, how to speak or what I could or couldn’t have, I’d tell them (in no uncertain terms) to FOAD. So maybe there is something to David’s approach?

I saw this video posted to Facebook earlier today and while it’s hilarious, it did make me think a bit about the way I handle my kids…

I look at this and think, you know, this video makes a good point. No adult would allow another person to speak to them like this.

And yet, do I really have to point out that children are not adults? They need to be reminded to do or not do things all the time. They still need to learn all the social filters that adults take for granted and they learn them  through their interactions with others and the example of the adults in their lives. But also by the consequences of NOT using such filters in their dealings with others – adults in particular.

So, once again, it’s all down to balance, isn’t it? That magical, elusive fucking middle ground. And all the patience.

Right?

14 Replies to “Sometimes I Doubt Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion”

  1. I feel those feelings. K already doesn’t listen to me, and J is always more fun than me. It is our responsibility to make sure that our kids learn how to behave, and that means they need to be told what is or isn’t appropriate.

    1. Most of the time, I just get on with it. I know there’s no malicious intent on David’s part. But Jack is going through a particularly stubborn phase at the moment and sometimes I have to physically remove myself from the situation so that I don’t hurt the child. I get that D doesn’t see them all day and doesn’t want to come home and have to fight with them. But when I’ve tried EVERYTHING with no success, I really need to feel like he’s got my back and often, I don’t.

  2. The way I see it is that we have a responsibility to discipline our kids, not befriend them. You’re doing ok and I suppose one parent is always going to have to play bad cop, even though it would be easier on you if you both presented a united front. X

    1. Exactly! I think that’s what gets to me the most – the fact that I often (but not always) don’t feel supported in my parenting. I’m keeping you! x

  3. I don’t know if there really is “the one true way” of going about this parenting business. I see that now even more on a daily basis with the mine and his children situation we now have. We have each parented our children in the things that we feel are important to us…and generally find each other’s children lacking in all those things. If we get to the other side of this debate and find some common ground or approach I’ll let you know. It has been a revelation to me in that I have never seen myself as particularly strict, but I am about a million times stricter than Steve. And he caves on the whining all the time, so there in non stop whining out of 2 of the 3 kids, which I can’t stand (and don’t).

    1. This thing where the male parent is generally the one to cave seems to be a common trend. And I could dance the happy gig because that means I’m not the only one who feels like I do! Which means maybe I’m not getting it all wrong, all the time! (Or at least no more than anyone else is…)

  4. Good for you for standing up for yourself and poor behaviour. In our house Brett is the one who is harder with the discipline: I am more soft. I had to call him for help twice last night. For some reason Nicky takes him more seriously. I think it’s a difficult situation we all have to deal with when parents feel differently about discipline but so long as you can stand together on the important things you’ll be okay.

  5. Oh gosh yes, balance right? Problem though – mine are all different. While I have to talk softly and explain to A (she clams up if you shout) with L i HAVE to shout or he will never react. C is sort of the arguing type – he has to give his opinions and hear yours and have a whole debate…. How do we win?

    1. Exactly! Each of our kids is different from the others, so we have to approach them all differently. Sometimes, it’s exhausting!

    1. It’s been an interesting few days since I started work, because D now has the kids in the afternoons. I think he’s seeing now what it’s been like.

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