Quitting is not an option

I am having a heck of a time parenting consistently these days.

I read and listen and try, but in the end, I’m just tired of the attitude, the negotiating attempts, the arguments, the whining.

Some days I feel like I’m not cut out for this.

Taking away things that I want them to enjoy doesn’t work. Rewarding them with stuff doesn’t either. And they take so much for granted…

Some say positive reinforcement is key. But those who say it often aren’t IN it. The way I see it, if a kid challenges your every [positively-reinforced] word endlessly, there comes a time when I just end up doing what feels right at the moment. I REACT. And that is the exact wrong thing to do. And while I’m doing it, I know that it’s wrong and I should stop. But I can’t. I’m in the heat of the moment because they made me reach my limit with their endless demands and requests and talking and fighting and whining and rude behaviour and poor table manners.

To name a few.

I think I slipped up somewhere along the line.

By the end of the day, and especially after having a positive reinforcement chat, or an encouraging one, or an illustrative one to help the child see, to help the child understand, heck, to have the kid see someone else’s perspective instead of just his own for once…well ultimately I just can’t keep it together.

I lowered myself to his eye level and let in on him. I was foaming at the mouth pissed off. We had just had that chat. WE JUST TALKED ABOUT IT. He acknowledged it. And then he turned around and did it again. DESPITE the chat. Made the poor choice and did exactly what he should not have done.

I ask: what do I have to do to get you to do x? What will it take for you to stop doing y?

He says stop being mean to me.

HUH? Who is mean here? Who is defiant, rebellious, and rude?

I launch into questions. Explain mean.

For every example he came up with I had two or three illustrating the exact opposite. He looks at me with those big huge dark eyes. A glimmer of understanding?

Pff.

Instead, he does a 180 and says everybody hates me.

So suddenly it’s not ‘mean’ anymore, but we hate him.

But talking doesn’t solve anything.

He is 7. A seven year old boy.

I’m challenged by the most basic things. Manners. Being polite. I stand there and take the poor choices he makes personally. I feel judged (even if I’m not). I know that other parents have behaviour challenges with their kids. Still. It feels humiliating and humbling.

And exhausting.

Is it wrong for me to want, to expect him to be the polite and well-mannered boy I know he can be? Why is he acting out like this? Sure the fun has to end now, but getting himself all riled up, and by default get his sister into the same mood, it’s just so incredibly hard to take. And I don’t know what to do to make it stop.

Ultimately it’s up to him to make it stop. He needs to WANT to make it stop. He needs to want to behave appropriately. I know he knows how to do this, we have seen it and enjoyed it together.

But we seem to be in a phase again. And frankly, I am at a loss.

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