Sunday, November 13, 2011

How would Super Nanny handle it?

Sometimes, since becoming a parent, I just don't know the answer. I know this happens to many parents and my affliction is not new or unusual but it certainly would be nice if there was a definitive handbook that was given to each new parent and how to deal with 'difficult situations'. As an employee, we've employee handbooks that outlines the codes of conduct, expected behaviour and the like. Additionally, there are often collective agreements, bargaining teams and even arbitration to get us through disagreements.

As a first time parent (and I don't think it would be any easier if we had more than one child), we bumble and fumble our way through and make mistake after mistake and never really reach any mutually satisfactory understanding that makes the conflict any easier. I know I try to do a few things when I parent my son - I try not to channel the devil when speaking, I try to keep my temper in check, I don't make promises or threats I don't intend to keep and I try to learn from the mistakes I make. I am not always successful. In fact, I am likely far less successful then I like to think I am.

Today was a bad day. We've had company all weekend and we were running around doing the things life demands. TroubleMaker was clearly over tired, out of sorts and just done. He wasn't listening - he didn't want to listen - or perhaps that was just my take on it. More correctly, he wasn't able to listen. Not because he woke up this morning wanting to make his Dad and I crazy mad... Not because he's a 'bad boy'... Not because of anything more than far too much mental stimulation that has sent his little mind and body into overdrive.

What started off as a rough morning morphed into a terrible afternoon. He was tired, likely hungry, in need of a way to let off steam and I became obsessed with him needing to wash his sticky hands. He has sticky hands 90% of the time. He's three - it's like part of his uniform. Sticky hands, disheveled hair, wild dinosaur shirt and even crazier pants and red socks - that is my son.

I lost my temper, he was in a time out, my husband and I had a heated discussion (over the fact he doesn't listen - he doesn't and we agreed upon that but it was just one of those angry arguments because we were both frustrated). More time outs, more tears and then I just gave up. He wasn't being bad, really, certainly he wasn't listening but I was the problem.

Sometimes I just don't know how to communicate effectively with him and that is what confuses me and upsets me the most. My entire life, I've always been able to find or learn the right answer to most of the things I've needed or wanted too. But I can find no clear and concise answer on how to speak so my son listens.

Oh, I know there are a host of books, self help gurus and well meaning "reality" shows that will teach me everything I need to know about parenting my son. But none of them are good enough. None of them know me or my son or our situation. Every child - my child - is unique and there cannot be any cookie cutter answers. I've read and tried a few different things but none of it really works. Certainly, there are times when he does listen and he is 1000% amazingly capable. Other times, it's like a completely different child has been left in my care.

I also know I'm the problem. Knowing this still doesn't give me any idea how to get him to listen the first time I ask, not 75 times later and once I've blown my lid and done my Elizabeth Hurley impersonation of The Devil.

How do you cope and get a child to focus and listen? More importantly, how do you keep your cool??!!!


  1. You mean there are children who listen? Amazing! Certainly not mine! (Not all the time, anyway.) As you said, under-rested, under-fed, over-stimulated children usually can't cope very well when we make YET ANOTHER request of them. (When mine gets to that point, I ask him if he wants to lay on the couch and watch a movie... He's usually asleep in ten minutes; problem solved!) And remember: it usually gets worse before it gets better. ;)

  2. Thanks for the support, Sydnii - I know we're not alone (and maybe it's the weather - a few blogs I follow have also been lamenting the difficult child) and I like the suggestion of cooling off - assuming I remember to try!



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