Being a mum is probably the most difficult part of my life at the moment. My four year old is driving me to the brink of wanting to run away from it all. Part of me worries that I just MIGHT! I love my two human and one canine children to bits. However, at times, I feel I am probably not very good at being mum to them. I was brought up by very strict parents who didn't spare the cane. They were so strict, I was ill most of the time from being so scared and nervous. I really do not want my kids to be scared of me. What good did it do me?
My daughter Jill however, is constantly whining at me. I think she thinks I should be scared of her. I am starting to feel like she bullies me. I am tired. Both physically and mentally and at the moment, the only person who puts a smile on my face and makes me completely happy is my baby, Nina. I always said, I would never have a favourite child and I promise you, I don't. Nina is just a happy-go-lucky baby. She is quite happy to sit and play on her own. She babbles away to herself in her cot. She has all her meals and she calls everyone 'mum'. I know all children are different. I just need to find a way to make Jill realise her behaviour really isn't helping her or anyone else around her. It definitely doesn't help my creativity. The last time I picked up my sketch/doodling book was probably 5 months ago.
My only hope is that she starts full time school in September and things will get better from then. Or will it?
My only hope is that she starts full time school in September and things will get better from then. Or will it?
I feel for you when reading this. Anyone who thinks bringing up children is easy has probably not done it; or had a great deal of help.ReplyDelete
One thing which used to annoy me a bit was folk used to think that a woman with a baby meant anyone could dish out advise (asked for or not) and to be honest, you know yourself and your own children better than anyone else and whatever you do has to be what you are happy with.
Please forgive me if I sound like one of these people.
Bearing this in mind, it seems to me you have a classic situation of an older child feeling cut adrift. Being off to school after the summer, her replacement already happily in place and Mummy smiling at a baby who does nothing like the things she can. The horrible thing is that as a child she is unable to articulate it so she does what children do; get attention however they can and the easiest way is to be unpleasant and push you away because she is unhappy with the situation. By being mean she is exerting her will over you while venting her anger at a situation which she does not understand.
If it were me, I would make sure I gave plenty of positive reinforcement. (I know, it is so hard when you are sleep deprived and only have energy to deal with the absolute necessities).
By praising anything she does which is good (i.e. putting on her own shoes, hanging up a coat, telling her how clever she is reading a book)you are giving her attention in an area where she will excel above her siblings.
I used a naughty step for my difficult toddler. It took about three weeks (very long weeks with a new baby in the house) before the step - or any boring part of the house - together with positive input worked. He became happier and more responsive to the whole family. Every so often he would push against the boundary to see if it were still in place, (and this is the hard bit because they always seem to choose a time when you are flagging), I would try to make sure I stuck to my guns. Just a minute on the step; counting from when they are quiet, was enough. You would be actually giving her the power to decide how long she is there by saying it is up to her; if she makes a noise or refuses, the time does not start to count down until she sits quietly. I believe it is a way of empowering you and your child in a positive way. When the minute was up, I would ask my son if he was OK and hug him; then forget all about it and go back to what we were doing.
I hope this, or a part of it might help. My son was under consideration at play groups for a possible hyperactivity disorder. He was just very volatile and I found this (above) was the best way to deal with it. He became even more loving and he and his sister became, and still are, very close. Now he is a 20 year old at university who still likes to visit with a big hug (and dirty washing).
I agree with the very wise commenter above, Kiran. Lots of positive reinforcement and also make sure to place boundaries when needed, like the use of naughty step/chair or taking away of privileges. When the need arises and you want to make your point and get her to listen, use eye contact and speak in a firm voice. Being overly strict is one extreme and not being strict at all and feeling like you have been bullied is another extreme. Neither is good for the child nor the parent. Cuddles would help too.ReplyDelete
Most importantly, go easy on yourself, Kiran. We all have bad days. The children have bad days. I know I do, and I only have 1 child! Maybe you need some time off? Too bad we are so far away or I would love to watch the girls. Hang in there!ReplyDelete
I feel so ditto just now, not that that helps you much! Beth is pushing me to the end of my tether on a daily basis and it makes me miserable. Meanwhile, Kester is Mr contentment. I think we and our children are all passing through the same phase and we'll come out smiling in the end (with a few more worry lines on our faces no doubt!). Look forward to catching up in Saffron Waldon...
Hi Bella. Thanks for your advise. You don't sound like one of 'those' people at all! Perhaps I should have mentioned that my "baby" really isn't a baby any more. She is a 15 month old toddler. Jill absolutely loves her little sister. The first thing she does when I pick her up from school is to hug and kiss Nina. I love this side of her. She is always hugging us and kissing us too. Affection is not something we lack from her or she from us. I think it also reassures me that she WILL grow up to be a good hearted person. I have tried the step before but perhaps didn't do it quite right. Thanks for explaining it so well! I'm going to try it!ReplyDelete
Thanks Kiran and good luck. You sound like you have all the right things in place already for it to work out and I can see so many people have commented on this that you have a sisterhood. Sometimes it helps just to know you are not alone.Delete
Now all you need after a very bad night and miserable morning is for someone to tell you 'these are the best days of your life'. Argh! (But they are) :)
Hi K...(I was scratching my head wondering who this mystery 'K' is!)..! :P I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. We all have bad days. I think maybe kids have bad weeks.. months..years even!:P Move to England? Leicester maybe? xxReplyDelete
Kate, is there something in the Ravilious genes I don't know about? :P Are you brining them to S.W? I know Martha's kids will be there and we're dragging these two along. Would be great for Jill and Beth to meet again! Looking forward to seeing you soon! It's been too long! xxReplyDelete
I totally empathise with you. My two are now 18 and 16. The older continues to be very volatile and difficult to live with. The younger is and was always a more easy going child. I don't wish to be disheartening, but I'm still waiting for the older one to show her softer side more often than the difficult one we deal with an awful lot of the time. I beat myself up about how my parenting style may have influenced where we are now.
It's all very well to look back in retrospect but as an earlier contributor said try to set some time aside for one-to-one quality time with your older child. That is the one thing I would do differently if I had my time over again. I'm doing it now, where my daughter and I meet for coffee after school on Friday where we don't discuss contentious issues. We just enjoy each others company.
Difficult to do when you are sleep deprived and struggling to just get through the day. Watch Super Nanny. Wish she'd been around when my two were small. I'd be the PERFECT parent now!!
Thanks for understanding Carol. We do set aside time for her. On Saturdays, she gets to spend the whole day with Ben. He takes her to her gymnastics class, they then go and have breakfast in town together and then she goes for her karate class. Ben is really good with her. He feels like he should make time for her so he bring her out and does things with her. I do drawings with her. We bake together sometimes. Sometimes though, it feels like it's never enough for her. I guess it's just a phase.ReplyDelete
I want to disclaimer this with the statement that I have no children. I don't really have any sage advice, just an objective observation, which is that I have quite a number of friends with children and without exception they all experienced 4 as a really tough year. I've gone through it with all of my nephews, and I distinctly remember not really enjoying their company for this time of life. Lots of whining and stubborn behavior, and understanding being told no but doing something anyway, and it seems this is also when they figure out how to be sneaky! It's funny because you hear so much about 2 being a tough year, so everyone goes into that year armed for battle but I really do think 4 has been tougher on all of my friends and family who are raising kids.
Being physically tired never makes anything stressful better either :( , I'm sure that's muddling up both your thinking and your emotions, so go easy on yourself.
So I guess the moral of this story is chin up! I can't believe you are anything other than a great mum and based on what I have seen, this too shall pass. I really believe that.
I'm sure also that not having time/energy/inclination to work on your creative outlets isn't helping. I know for me that things like that are akin to meditation and I always feel so much better afterwards. Maybe you need to treat it like exercise and just do it because you know you need it, and it will eventually start to be something you want to do again (easier said than done, I know). Alternatively, if you really have nothing in the tank creatively then maybe getting out to a yoga class would help. A nice quiet hour to yourself, where you can't think of anything except what you're doing, and some nice endorphins released into the system to boot. Maybe giving your brain a nice hour off from everything will give you a chance to let some creative juices back in.
Just don't beat yourself up too much. Parenting is the most important job ever, it would be too much to ask for that it wasn't stressful and crazy making at least part of the time. :)
Hi Kerry! Thank you for your reply! Honestly! It's a relief to hear that other 4 year olds are more or less the same! You're so right about the behaviour and also the sneaky bit!ReplyDelete
I'm thinking of taking up knitting! :p Thanks for your advise and brilliant words, Kerry! You're a star! :))
ps: Did you receive your bag? I sent it just before Christmas and have been meaning to ask you...
I did, thank you so much! and I am so sorry for not thanking you sooner, because it's absolutely beautiful. I traveled for about 6 weeks mostly non stop, so I didn't even unearth the package until almost February when I sorted through my giant mail pile. I had actually forgotten about it, so it was a lovely surprise and a great welcome home present. :) Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. And I really do apologize for not letting you know and thanking you. I've been positively abysmal about emails, etc since I got back. So (a very late) thank you very much :)ReplyDelete
Glad you received it Kerry! No worries, I understand! I am just freaking out at the moment because a package I sent someone hasn't arrived! :PDelete
Loads of good advice above. I remember my two being just the same. Similar age gap with my oldest being very demanding and my youngest very laid back. It is a very tiring time but you sound like fabulous parents. I'm very impressed you manage to be as creative as you are. I certainly wasn't! Don't worry it all gets better as they get older. (I'm waiting for the teenage angst to kick in now). Hang in there xx
That was me Sarah Bays by the way (waiting for teenage angst). I don't normally comment on blogs so I have no idea what I'm doing!ReplyDelete
Hey Sarah! ;) Thanks for commenting on my blog!- Honoured! I don't normally get many comments on here. Maybe I need to talk about myself more if I want attention! :P I think sometimes not having any time for myself makes me want it even more. If I didn't have kids, I think I probably wouldn't have done very much! I'm hanging... Gosh, teenage angst! I remember having that! :P xxDelete