I am still struggling with appropriate way of dealing with Hope’s various attitudes. Seriously, it is so dang hard to reconcile the way I was brought up with the way I’m raising Hope. I mean, I am still trying to inculcate the values and life lessons and such, but dealing with her attitudes and smart mouth remain a challenge for me.
My parents simply didn’t tolerate any of this and I didn’t expect to either. I kept my attitudes to myself, and my smart mouth was silenced until I was in my room with the door closed mouthing what I *wished* I could have said to my parents in the heat of the moment. #wishfactor
While Hope and I aren’t doing too many coordinated Year of the Try activities right now, I am plugging away at trying to parent Hope better. There is so much room to improve, so I continue to research and figure out what I can actually do consistently that will help us become closer, help her feel confident and help reduce the caustic emotions in our home.
So, here it is, here’s my latest attempt at improved parenting…Ready?
Yeah, shutting my pie hole and ignoring the countless numerous things that annoy me. I am limiting my nagging to the barest of essentials that will keep us bug and rodent free. I am desperately ignoring outbursts that aren’t specifically directed at me or about me. Those more personally targeted outbursts are met with an absurdly polite, quietly spoken “Please adjust your tone. I am not yelling, nor have I yelled at you. Please do not raise your voice to me. Speak to me with respect and I will do the same.”
It’s become a mantra, so to speak.
If I were to boil down this approach I would describe it largely as pretending I don’t see the crazy and if I do, I speak with my quiet “You must be crazy” voice.
Whenever I do this, Hope looks at me like I am speaking a foreign language. Seriously, her confused face is awesomely hilarious, but I don’t laugh. She has typically tightened things right up or just pulled back.
All of this has allowed me to place greater focus on speaking to her about positive things. She needs a lot of positive reinforcement; I mean about EVERYTHING. School, hair, eyeliner, toenails, boy stalking…She just needs lots of positive language.
Hope always demurs when I say nice things about her to her; she is a devotee of deflection. I know it’s because she doesn’t yet believe the nice things I say about her, so I have to say even more.
Shutting up about so much of the stuff that pisses me off has created some head space for me to focus on building her up. And that’s a really good thing.
Oh, don’t be fooled, I am still in a state where I just stay secretly annoyed. Seriously, kids do some dumb ish and frankly, I am still a person who is easily vexed. I know it was pass though because I gotta focus on the bigger picture and that is building my kid up and showering her with positive reinforcement. I’m realizing that she’s just starving for it; she’s so thirsty that it’s killing her. When I put it like that, it’s easy for me to try to be a better oasis. She needs an oasis more than she needs anything else in the world.
June 21st, 2016 at 9:58 pm
Good approach!!! I have noticed when I try something similar with my two I do get farther. Yeah it is tough but you are right she is thirsty and you can totally help her with this need!!!!
June 21st, 2016 at 10:49 pm
I am trying so hard to do this, too. That bit about ignoring the really disrespectful stuff and only responding calmly, “I will talk to you when you are calm and respectful”–I keep hearing it from my therapist, and it is so hard. So very, very hard. May we–and our daughters–all do better.
June 22nd, 2016 at 8:11 pm
I am so impressed at how you keep plugging away through the hard stuff and finding ways to be loving. You give me hope as I slog through my own desert of hard parenting stuff.
June 23rd, 2016 at 1:42 pm
I can’t believe how much attitude my daughters have as well. I wasn’t like that and I don’t know where they get it. But then I remind myself that I was (am) extremely introverted and spent 99% of my free time in my room or wandering around in the woods that was our backyard.
I’m so glad you posted this. I love your survival guide for attitude and am going to try it today! The dynamic you have with your daughter and her personality remind me of my oldest daughter. I’m also grateful I’m not the only one who stays secretly annoyed despite the smile on my face. Parenting is hard, parenting kids with baggage is even harder. Thanks for posting.