I need your help.
See the rope in my hands and how I’m just barely hanging on to the end of it? See the end of it strain and fray as I grab on tighter? See it slip just an inch? The last inch?
Here’s the thing…when it comes to knowing how to deal with my ferocious sweet little girl these days, I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.
My bag of tricks is empty, and I feel like the ones I’ve used up until now must have been the wrong ones. She’s been talking back so much, and I’m hoping someone will tell me this stage is normal…the crossed arms, the pout, the “I will not” or “I don’t want to“. It wasn’t always like this. She’s almost 7, so if it’s not normal, then please guide me toward some books or child behavior experts, because I’m at a loss here.
I’m exhausted. She’s exhausted. But I know I can’t let her go on being so disrespectful. Supernanny is circling the block in her proper black car, her lips pursed, watching the videos of my parental incompetence. I can feel it.
Girl and I are so alike in our frustration or anger. It flares bright and hot, and dies down just as quickly. We don’t sulk for ages. When a thing is done, it’s done. The I’m sorrys get said, and we talk it out, hug, and let it go. The day moves on.
But lately, she’s digging in her heels, and deep. I’ve tried a calm response. I’ve tried no response. I’ve yelled, which does nothing but make us both feel worse. I’ve demanded that the behavior stop (genius, right?). I’ve taken away privileges and put favorite things in time out. I doubt that I’ve been consistent enough.
Mostly, I feel like I’m failing her somehow, for not instilling in her by now more respect for her parents. (It’s not fair to compare, and I don’t, but Boy’s nature is calm and sweet for the most part. I was completely unprepared for Girl.)
She’s a sweet girl, she really is. She’s funny and creative and gives great, long, enthusiastic hugs. Her green eyes light up when she’s happy. She loves to dance and sing.
But, man, she’s kicking my ass these days, and I need some help.
I wonder if things will improve when we go to Indiana in a few weeks, and when we get settled either there or in Ohio by the end of the summer. (Did I mention that’s what we’re planning?) It’s possible she’s feeling the imbalance of our situation as much as I am. I have a lot of compassion for her in that area, since I know how crazy it’s making me. I wonder if she aches for permanence as much as I do right now.
So, please, I’m asking for tips and strategies you’ve used with any amount of success, up to and including the use of duct tape. (Kidding. Really. I swear.) Or, if you think my situation just requires more drinking on my part, feel free to say that, too.
For now, I’ll dedicate this song to my girl. Tomorrow, if we’re lucky, we’ll wake up and (oh, the magic of life when it’s good) I’ll find my hands full of rope, with plenty to spare.
Edited to say: Woman With a Hatchet just posted over at her place about this same issue. Please take a moment to go read there, if you don’t already, and throw her some rope, too. Or some vodka. Either way.