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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Big, Bad Mama

Sigh.  I feel like I yell too much.  I get disrespected with inconsistent obedience.  My home has been the scene of frustrating walk-offs and glares across the kitchen.  We have times of calm and lots of fun, but what concerns me is the seeming lack of respect for mom.  Rarely does obedience happen the first time.  Often the competition among siblings escalates to shouting matches or bullying.  One of my children is so loud and stubborn that the standoff drains every bit of resolve and patience from my soul.  Sometimes, I scream, glare and bully back. Sometimes I give up and walk away. These are not my proud moments.

When I think about it, there are many more moments of affection and joy, but the times when I am blatantly disobeyed and disrespected steal my joy and rattle my confidence.  The moments of turbulence stand out and are too many to be ignored.  Just like in my marriage I accepted less than stellar treatment, I've accepting it from my children.  I see the pattern, but I don't know how to 'fix' it and have been feeling so discouraged in this department.

When I know a problem exists and I'm at the end of my own ropes for the remedy, then it's time to look outside myself.  I've read so many parenting books and we are beyond that point.  Here's my action plan, all of which to take place in the next month:

  1. Speak with counselor - a children's counselor and discuss methods for training children.
  2. Visit pediatrician - at lease one of my children need to be evaluated for ADHD.
  3. Commit to keeping calm - I've verbalized to my children this week that I will not be raising my voice - AT ALL - and their loud demands will not get my attention.  Not much success yet, but it's still Monday, right?
  4. Wake early to pray specifically for wisdom in parenting and the needs of each child.
  5. Share with others - it helps to know I'm not the only one falling short of perfection.  Last week a friend breathed hope and acceptance into my weary mother's heart with her transparency.  I appreciated it so much and swear her children are all angels!  
  6. Self Care - I say it a lot, but I don't practice it as often as I should.  When I'm frazzled and anxious I respond negatively and harshly to the normal needs of my children.  Taking time for me lets me be in a better place to meet the needs of my little ones.  
  7. Consistency - it's hard to be steady day after day, but from all I've read it's crucial.  Daddy is out of town and the children will be with me for the majority of the month, so we're going to practice new patterns and habits of interacting.  
I'm in the trenches of motherhood and no matter what else happens in my life, these three are my top priority. I have one child who claims not to like school and cries many mornings at dropoff and another who is struggling there with behavior issues.  The one who isn't in full time school is delightfully charming to others yet willfully disobeys or ignores instructions from me.  We are past the age-appropriate misbehaviors and dealing with something more.  My goal is to get a handle on it before these become lifelong choices and patters.  The 'work' I do now is going to set the stage for how we interact when they are 13, 15 and 17 - Oh Lord, help me!


  1. Well, I think you'll appreciate my post scheduled to go up tomorrow. I wish I could say that it gets easier. It just gets different. And more of the same.

  2. I run across the same issues but I have only one which is much easiere to handle. I cannot imagine how you manage with 3.

    I have talked to child psychologist and she jas given me soam good advice that I have not managed to to put into practice. It is due to my lack of patience when I get back from work and teher is no much will power left to fight such battles...

  3. Hi,
    I just wanted to give you some encouragement. I, too am a big bad mama. I too have kids with ADD. If they want to argue and yell. Say quietly, I respect and love you too much to listen to you yell, when you are ready to talk I am here to listen and then walk away sit down and if they follow yelling continue to move away (as though you are doing chores about the house). Another thing that has worked for me is to say, You must have had a hard day today would you like to do this or this to wind down before homework. When I was working I instituted quiet time on the way home from school so that everyone could relax and calm down. I often had snacks and water in the van as anger and hunger seemed to go together. I would play classical music or something that we could all enjoy and relax with. I hope that this helps you. I know that it got me through some bumpy parts in the road.
    Hug them more. I think they just might need some good old fashioned reassurance that you love them. I also made them say ten nice things for every bad thing that they said to each other. If they slam the door make them shut the door properly 10 or 20 times by the time they are done mine would be laughing at the ridiculousness of it. When you do this don't start counting until they are doing it with the attitude that you want to see! :0) complete with smiling! Hugs to you! love you and I am praying for you.

  4. BTW
    3 out of 4 have ADD or adhd. Don't be afraid to get the counseling or someone else to talk to about what has happened.

  5. I have to add this. I still yell, cry, and worry all of the time. I go in the bathroom and pray that I won't kill my kids. lol :0) I put myself in time out and send them to their rooms because I am just about over the edge and it isn't their fault. If we don't model how to handle anger,fear, worry and other savage emotions how will they learn to handle their own. I fail, crawl and get back up. Some days I run and some days lay flat on my face. Sometimes complain but hope that tomorrow will be better. What my kids do know is that I do fail and have bad days, but God gets me through the bad ones and is with me through the good ones.

  6. I've been following you for awhile and I really enjoy your posts because my husband and his brothers were children of divorce. I see so much of their wonderful mom in many of your posts. We are doing 5 Days of Giveaways on our blog this week if you want to stop by for a chance to win something to share with the kids!

  7. Missy -

    We all deal with these things! I struggle daily with these things just as you do -- and I strive to do better - just as you do.

    We struggle in our house with immediate obedience and bold defiance, too. Some days I wonder why it seems so tough, but I know God allows things for a purpose, and I'm determined to trust Him to bring us through - for His Glory and Honor!

    A dear, wise friend of mine said to me just last week, "Elizabeth, parenting and child-training is an imperfect journey involving a bunch of imperfect people. Enjoy any enjoyable part!" She was encouraging me (and admonishing me) because I tend to get so focused on the daily struggles that I forget to step back and enjoy the moments.

    Hang in there. Keep praying and keep working.

    Love to you!