Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you

A former coworker (from when I taught) used to utter that phrase. Today, off and on, has been one of those days. Jordan has driven me crazy, and I know I am mostly to blame for this, as I struggle with discipline. Sometimes, when she is bad (and I hate to use that word), and I start to lose it, I end up saying things like I just want to run away or I ask her if she would prefer a different mommy or I tell her I am tired of her being so disrespectful.

I think you should not have such high expectations from your child that you think they will/should listen all the time. Kids test their limits, and I don't think kids are necessarily bad just because they want to do something they know they should not and they try to do it anyway. It is when you remind them that they should be not doing something or when they ask if they can do something and you say no, and they do it anyway or throw a fit, that can be problematic.

Some battles I don't bother fighting (or worse, I start to fight then give up). Today, for example, Jordan wanted to wear a ballerina dress. I said no, but she whined, so I gave in. I know I should have just let her wear it to begin with or I should have stuck to my guns. Once I let her wear it, she wanted to wear tights (in 80 degree weather). I said no, and she whined, and that went on for over five minutes. She was also mad that I insisted she wear shorts with her dress; she did not care that you could see her underwear. Probably 10 minutes after this battle begun, and after I had to brush my crying child's teeth, we left the house, with Jordan in her ballerina dress and shorts (no tights). For me, a small victory, but I know I am still losing the war.

Most of you are probably reading this and are horrified that I would let my kid get away with that (I have done worse, I am afraid). A few of you are perhaps nodding your head in sympathy. Sometimes I see other kids who are not well-behaved and wonder how or why the parents let their kids treat them that way. It is as if I temporarily develop memory loss and forget my kid sometimes acts similarly. Yet I know some parents who are guilty of doing the same. In fact, some of these people have gone so far as to point out something bad my kid just did or offer a way to handle it. I want to tell those people, "Ah, wasn't that just your kid last time who was hitting you and running away?" But I don't. I am all about keeping the peace.

Parenting is difficult. I knew that going in, which is a big part of why when a lot of my friends started having kids, I was not doing the same. I wanted to continue to live my selfish life and not worry about screwing up my kids, partly in fear I would treat them as I treated my dog Buster, whom I let get away with just about everything. With Buster, I reasoned he would live only about 10 to 12 years, so why not make his short life as happy as possible! Since it is one of my greatest hopes and prayers that my child will long outlive me, I know I really need a different tactic.

Tomorrow is another day. In fact, right now is a different moment, so here I try again.


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