Every year of parenting I learn something new because I run up against another challenge.
Parenting is hard. I think it’s harder the older kids get. Five and half, almost six is the most difficult yet.
It’s this age when suddenly there’s no more adorable toddler or preschooler innocence left. Kids are expected to behave with some maturity. They should be able to start understanding how to act in different situations. Being a preschooler is no longer an excuse, because they aren’t that little any longer. All of that cute baby fat is gone, gone, gone.
I have never let Rosie get away with things. I think I’m a pretty strict parent. I try to say yes as much as possible over the little things–I mean I try not to make a big deal over stuff like a few crumbs in the living room or whatever. I want us to have fun, I’m not running the military over here.
But I don’t let my kids throw tantrums in public when they are little. We will immediately leave. I taught both girls to walk along beside me as soon as they could walk and understand. (10-12 months, a little older than 12 months for the fully understanding bit.) I taught Ada not to run in the road right away, and to stop when commanded, and so on. I don’t mess around with these things–I don’t tolerate out of control behavior for a single second when it can be helped. I always take the situation into account–overtired, illness, hungry, bored, upset, etc., but I never just let things slide when behavior starts to rapdily decline.
When Rosie was small I taught her manners–please, and thank you, and waiting patiently. And she has always been expected to obey the first time she’s asked because if I demand she does something in my mom voice right away it’s always something very important.
The point of this is, whether through parenting or sheer luck both of my girls were very well behaved, as much as kids can be. No kid is perfect, obviously.
Then I saw Rosie get excited about reading, and against my better judgement I let her read a bunch of Junie B. Jones books.
EVERYTHING fell apart.
Attitude, down the crapper. Talking back, not listening, stomping, eye rolling, tantrums. Tantrums! To rival a toddler!
What the heck? She began acting just like Junie B. Jones! (Those books are bad examples, have you all ever read them?)
I’ve spent the past few months trying to restore order over here. It’s been exhausting! An unfortunate battle of wills. Rosie was in the firm camp of Will Not and I was in the even firmer camp of Yes You Will.
I normally try to find a way to work the situation so everyone can be happy, but these things were just way beyond consenual living.
Yes You Will respond when I ask you a question. I know you heard me. Yes You Will pleasantly pick up the huge mess you made. Yes You Will listen when I tell you not to do something.
You are not the boss of the entire house. No way. You cannot scream and demand things from your parents, or anyone else for that matter. You cannot do whatever you want, whenever you want just because you feel like it. You cannot stomp and roll your eyes constantly.
And dammit we covered this when you were 15 months old: WE DO NOT HIT, PINCH, OR KICK ANYONE FOR ANY REASON UNLESS YOU ARE BEING KIDNAPPED BY A SCARY STRANGER. NO, YOUR SISTER DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A SCARY STRANGER.
I think part of it is the age. Every little girl I’ve ever known seems to go through a bossy phase around this age. Unfortunately this phase for Rosie has coincided with a new Junie B. attitude.
Nightmare! Or as Junie B. would scream, “911! 911!”
Today Rosie had her first actual playdate. I left her at a friend’s house in another town for the whole day, and her friend’s mom brought her home this afternoon. I was super nervous that Rosie would be bossy and rude. (Manners suddenly seem to elude her, again I say what the heck? Did aliens beam down and delete all of the hard parenting work I’ve done right out of her brain!?)
Guess what happened at the play date.
The little girl she was playing with is apparently also going through the same bossy phase. (Maybe she read the Junie B. Jones books too.) She bossed Rosie around, and then threw a tantrum when Rosie didn’t do exactly what she wanted.
This is not a criticism of the other little girl because I know her mom is a good parent all around and sometimes you can’t control your child’s attitude no matter how much heart and soul and discipline you put into it. Believe me, I would know.
I just found this HYSTERICALLY funny. Rosie does the exact same thing to Ada over, and over, and over every day. She flips out when Ada doesn’t do exactly what she commands.
Rosie totally got a taste of her own medicine! Right down to the, “I don’t want to play with you anymore because you aren’t doing what I say.”
Rosie deserved it. She deserved every second of it.
Sorry Rosie, payback is a b*tch!
I might be laughing for the rest of the night.
Tonight when I was tucking Rosie into bed she commented on how the other girl had behaved. I was like, “Rosie you know that’s exactly how you treat Ada. It didn’t feel very nice, did it?” Rosie agreed it wasn’t very fun.
She was shocked when she saw her friend throwing a tantrum. Rosie couldn’t believe she might look so ridiculous when she starts stomping, screaming, and wailing. Oh, but she does! She said, “Mom my eyes got really big! My friend threw a toy!”
Rosie, that should have been like looking in a mirror.
Ahahahahahahaha. Hah. Hahahahahaha!
Maybe Rosie will remember this. She was actually a lot nicer to Ada this afternoon. I hope she doesn’t forget! If she does, they can probably play together again soon.
Despite the little girl issues Rosie still had a blast and wants to play with her friend all day again. Go figure.
I love kids, confusing creatures that they are.
Please God may this phase pass swiftly.
I can only reprimand, go over the family guidelines, and remind her how to use manners so many times before my brain implodes.
I can’t wait to see what happens when K gets here. Can’t boss around someone who doesn’t speak your language! (Which I think is part of Rosie’s concerns.) It will be a wonderful distraction from the intensity that forms between Rosie and Ada alone, I think. It should also be a good learning experience in compassion for Rosie. Everyone is not as blessed as she is.
And well mostly, you know all lessons aside, I just can’t wait to love on K and see her having fun with Rosie and Ada, even if Rosie’s behavior is a work in progress.
Oh if you are struggling with bored kids this summer and your kids like to color, I have a present for you. I compiled a huge amount of Dover coloring and activity books. Paper dolls you can print out on card stock, castles of the world, dragons, birds, zoo animals, and tons more. They are in PDF format so you don’t even need an e-reader or anything. Link below! (Leave your email if you want the link, don’t want to leave it up and violate copy right laws any more than I already am!)