Your 8 year old daughter comes in to you room – after you thought she was asleep – with tears in her eyes. The family had just watched “Wall-E” that night, and she tells you she can’t get a part out of her head where Wall-E is doing everything he can to protect EVE while she’s in “hibernation”. (Both are robots.) He stood out in a storm (and got zapped by lighting multiple times), protected her from a sand storm, etc. She said it made her sad to think that he had to go through all that pain, and she didn’t even know it (until the end).
(A) Laugh at her, tell her she’s being too dramatic, and she needs to go to bed.
(B) Snuggle her a bit, make her laugh, talk about examples of that happening in real life (in a funny way, like Mommy’s having babies kick their ribs while they’re growing inside of them) and try to validate her feelings, then walk her to her room and sing her a song to help her go to sleep.
Your children are playing and getting a bit crazy, and your middle child gets bumped around/knocked down in the process. There obviously is no physical injury, but she’s screaming and carrying on.
(A) Go over next to her and in a quiet voice tell her that she must not have liked being bumped around, can she use calm words to make sure everyone can understand she didn’t like that?
(B) Laugh at her, tell her she’s fine, shake it off.
In the above scenario, if the daughter responds by continuing to scream, do you:
(A) Say very loudly and very sternly ENOUGH, YOU’RE FINE!
(B) Help her get to her room (for privacy) and comment on how that really seems to have shaken her up, then help her calm down if she needs it (rubbing head, etc.) When she’s calm, ask her how she can react if something that frustrating happens again. Also talk about how it’s hard for people to understand us when we shout/cry/scream.
Yup, both of these happened to me tonight. And yup, there’s probably a choice in between these two extremes!
Here’s the thing: I am by NO means a perfect parent. I am soooo far from it it’s not even funny. But the fact is, I grew up one way (see the short answers) and I want better for my kids. I’m not sure how to do that quite yet, but I’m trying. And when I see them being dealt with the “short” way by family… it kills me. It brings backs so many memories. My heart breaks, and then it burns.
I’m really struggling with what kind of parent to be. How to handle situations. I realized I had been dealing with things the way I was dealt with, and I remember how that felt. I still don’t always know what to say, but a lot of the times, I know what not to. Sometimes, even if I think I know how I should respond, I just can’t. I’m out in public, the other kids need attention, the water is about to run over the sink, etc.
Top this off with the fact that Mini Me, my eldest daughter, shows quite a few signs of ADD, and it really gets interesting! How do I deal with that? We’re not at a point where we feel like she should get tested. My opinion is there is nature and nurture; nature may have given it to her in her genes, but if it’s mild (like mine) I can help create an environment for her to thrive. I’ve gotten Dr. Sears’ “The A.D.D. Book” from the library, and can’t wait to dig into it. (Again, she is not officially diagnosed, but a lot of helpful hints I’ve found on websites and in talking with people would help any child.)
So this is one area of my life I’m working on. I love to surround myself with other parents who practice different methods, to bounce ideas off them. To see and hear things they say and do and decide if I think that could work for me. I’m reading a great book now called “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky Bailey, and am really enjoying what she has to say. (It’s a bit overwhelming, but good enough I want to work through it!)
Parents, what are your thoughts? Even if you’re not a parent, you were once a kid! Any ideas or advice as I find my happy medium?