Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tough Love

I love my husband. He is compassionate, caring and loyal. The other night we were sitting in the living room talking about some issues in the family and in doing so I was reminded why I first fell in love with him. To hear the concern, the ability to look for a brighter future, to remember the hurt we went through in the past and know that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't agree with it at the time; all this are parts of reasons why I love him so.
Because James works hard for our family I deal with most of the parenting and conflict with Madison during the day. He usually sees the after math or the phone calls from me asking when he will be home to help. But last night he got to witness it. Madison is giving some simple chores to help around the house and to earn the extras that we do for her. Her biggest one that she cars most about if play dates and most of all dessert! Her chores include putting away her folded laundry, feeding the animals and picking up her stuff from the living room and picking up her room.
Last night was laundry night. Meaning Madison had to put her laundry away. After dinner I asked Madison to put her clothes away. They were folded and in piles. This started it all. Ignoring me repeatedly. Asked several times nicely to do it. Then I started to get frustrated. I asked once more and told her that if she doesn't respond or start putting her clothes away that she will to time out for not listening. That's when the yelling and crying start. Yelling at me that its not fair that she has to put her clothes away. Not fair that I put away my clothes, the towels and not hers. Not fair that I have her pick up her stuff in the living room before dinner and then asked her after dinner to take care of her clothes when she already cleaned the living room. When she stopped I as calmly as I could mentioned to her that it took 30 minutes of her to take care of her back pack and soccer stuff from the living room and that her soccer stuff was STILL in the living room. That as we have discussed before that she is quite old enough to take care of her own clothes. That Daddy works hard at work, Mommy work s hard at school, taking care of the pets, taking care of Madison, cleaning the house and making dinner, and that Madison job is to learn lots at school, grow strong, be respectful and to be helpful. And by being helpful and doing her few chores that she is doing her "job" to help the family.
I then ask her one more time to please take care of her clothes so that we can sit and read together before bed. More yelling and crying. I try giving a hug to calm her down, that doesn't work and it just makes it worse. So I tell her to go to a time out. Which in my house is a corner in the the walkway. She has to face the inside corner, stand there quietly and calm herself and when she is ready can let her self out and come discuss why she was there in the first place.
However, last night she decides that it was just another place in the house to yell from.
Therefore I walk over to her and guide her to her room and tell her that she can stay there until she is ready to act like a big girl and talk to us with words and without yelling and crying.
5 minutes, 10 minutes pass and the crying and yelling have finally ended from her room. I wait till 15, and then I go in. Ask her if she is ready to put away her laundry so we can read after wards. She say yes and after a little discussion on respect and over reacting, she is given permission to leave her room and take care of her clothes.
However, this does not occur. She comes to the living room and sits down and starts complaining about having to go to her room. I ask her again to please take care of her clothes and that if she doesn't she will lose dessert for the night.
To spare you the rest of the details, she lost dessert, and continued to lose it till next Monday. More yelling and crying. After finishing her clothes I asked her simply why it took so long to put away her clothes and why she cared more about losing her dessert then helping that family and caring about the way she was treating her family.
at that point I was fried. And the conversation was leading to no where. All it was getting was that she did put way her clothes and take care of her stuff so she should be able to have dessert back and it wasn't fair that she lost it. Now when Madison loses dessert we don't always have had some thing planned for it, its just the thought of it that matters. The nights that we do, James and I wait to have it till after she goes to bed. Not trying to make it any worse.
The conversation ended with me telling Madison that we will revisit the conversation today and that is was time to go to bed. (which was only 10 minutes early). That we do love her and that we always will, but that she needs to remember what it is like to be a part of our family and to help and to treat everyone with respect, especially her Mom. Since being Mom, I am the one she treats with the least respect. She treats her friends, peers and teachers great. Other members of the the family, and strangers too. James too. But when its comes to Mom it is like everything that I have taught her gets forgotten.
Is it me? I don't know. Any advise would be accepted. Shes only 6 years old. If we don't get this under control now, I am afraid of what it will be like when she it a teenager, heck even 2 years from now.
If you stuck through all of this, kudos to you and thank you for listening to an exhausted Mom.
PS where I was going with all this, after Maddie when to bed, James gave me a hug and said he had never seen her like that. I explained its been like that a lot lately, and that he agreed with how I was handling it and would back me in my decisions. I was exhausted and at 7:45 headed to bed where I went to sleep and James... I have no idea, I passed out. Oh the joys of being a parent. I do love it. I really do, just some days run you a little thin and test all the joy of being a parent to the max.


Janice said...

you are a great mom! you handled it beautifully. Would you believe Heather and I had many days like that?:) Age 6 and 11 and again at 14 are hard ages. Hang in there and hopefully she'll turn out as good as Heather;)

Hollinger Family said...

my Katie-girl is very head strong; we implement "the thoughtful spot" often. a place where she can think about her actions (usually her mouth), sometimes write apology letters, & (for our family) read the Bible about kindness, love, & compassion.
Cassandra, you did a beautiful job! It takes strength to dig down deep, and be willing to guide, nurture, & discipline our children when they most need it.
~love, Sheri