Why there is a constant tug of war between my daughter and me?

naughty child in a tug of war with mommy

It’s been a while since I wrote something. A blog is usually where you log your life’s activities. With so much happening in my life, I am surprised I had not taken out time to post and share those events.

Anyway, let me start now. My almost 4 year old has transformed from a sweet little thing (well, almost) to a monster. And I am not exaggerating! She is stubborn like no one’s business, throws away things on a moment’s whim, and refuses to budge or accept her mistake.

It is as if I don’t know her at all. What has happened to my little darling? I have shouted at her, punished her and even raised my hands at her in desperation. But no, nothing has worked, which is even more frustrating. Seriously, I have felt like banging my head against the walls, but what I finally do is cry, sad and desperate tears.

I talked to my husband, or rather he came to me. He had been observing me and my confusion for some time now. And so one day he decided to have a talk with me and which I am so thankful for. He outlined a few facts for me. They go something like this:

You confuse the child all the time – Sometimes you tell your daughter “you are not a small child anymore, learn to wear clothes on your own or bathe on your own” and then without batting an eyelid you tell her “no, darling, you are small to go out of the house on your own or cut the onion with a knife”. What does the poor child do? Is she big or small?

You challenge her independence – At 3, most kids learn to be independent. They start going to a big school, learn new things and make new friends. In short, they are miniature adults already. Now when you tell her that “Eat your soup with a spoon!”. Ok, she loves that. It shows you are recognizing her as an individual. But when the next moment you shout “Not like this. Hold the spoon like that,” you lose all your goodwill. She resents you because you just stole her independence, her right to act or behave in a certain way.

She knows her opinion counts – At 3, your child knows that saying NO works and that you listen to her when she voices her opinions. However, what she doesn’t know is that her opinion counts only when it is to your liking. No wonder you don’t like her saying no to drinking milk or going to bed. On the other hand, she doesn’t like it when you don’t consider her decision important enough.

So what do you do? Apart from the head-banging, of course. Well, for starters, after all this ‘Gyan’, I must confess I realized that the fault was and is truly mine.

  • Find out if your child is hungry or sleepy. Most of the times, these culprits make your child behave way out of character.
  • When she is throwing a tantrum, let her be. Don’t strike while the iron is hot. Wait for her to cool down. Then later in the night, when she is in a playful mood, that’s when attack. I mean, explain to her why her behaviour was wrong and what made you upset. J
  • Tell her, for certain things she is old enough to take a decision, but for others she needs to listen to you.
  • Don’t threaten. It doesn’t work. Believe me.
  • If the matter is not that big, give in. Don’t make it a battle of egos. However, it’s important to assert yourself from time to time. So just leave the scene and come back later, when the temperatures have cooled down.
  • Recently, I read somewhere about the power of sleeptalking. So to try it out, what’s the harm, I have started doing it with my sleeping child. I talk to her about her positive aspects and how mama-papa love her.

Your child is growing up, and believe me, it’s a bumpy ride. Have fun!!

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