Im reading a book, When Love Is Not Enough – Nancy Thomas and whilst i think this book addresses extreme cases I have decided to implement a few of the suggestions. I’ve come to realise how much my girls ‘Control’ us and manipulate others so Im hoping with the help of this book I can regain control and help heal my family.
So, this morning I woke my middle girl up knowing she’d spent 2hours the night before messing about in bed.
The conversation would usually have gone:
Me: (in an angry tone) What on earth was the matter with you last night!
Daughter: I dont know
Me: (in angry tone) You spent 2 hours messing about last night, even after i came up and warned you to go to sleep. Well you’ll be pleased to know you’ll be going to bed early tonight!
Im left angry for the rest of the morning.
Instead the conversation went like this:
Me: (in gentle sympathetic tone) Good morning, oh dear you do like tired, you must be shattered you poor thing. I’ll tell you what, seen as your so tired I wont make you go to dancing tonight and you can have an early night to catch up on your sleep, oh you do look tired……………..wow…………..You are so lucky to have a mommy that loves you SO much that I let you catch up on your sleep arnt you?
Me: (with a smile) Come on then, up you get, lets get ready for school.
Daughter: (a little confused by my lack of annoyance) err…………ok Mommy.
The rest of the day involved much of the same with all my girls.
My youngest, who has pushed the control issues the most, has pushed a little more today in an attempt to annoy me. For example, today, whilst waiting for school to start and in a barely understandable voice, she said ‘dont tell me when my teacher comes out, I will tell you’, my reply would usually have been along the lines of (in an irritated voice) ‘enough of the silly voice, stop being silly and stand nicely please’. Instead I said in a calm voice ‘oh dear I cant understand you, never mind’ and turned my head away. She also tried to insist that she would be shutting the car door herself and then reminded me that she was going to do that, when I closed the car door behind her (just like i do every day), all this fell upon deaf ears, it wasnt worth a battle. Then came the biggest test, dinner time, her meal was removed swiftly once she began with her ‘messing about’ and she was removed from the table with a gentle word from me along the lines of “its ok, you dont have to eat your dinner, you should have just told me you wasnt hungry, never mind, off you go and play”
I’ve asked the girls to each choose a privilege and we’ve set out how they can earn these privileges. They chose in secret so they couldn’t just copy each other, I gave them a few suggestions but told them they could choose anything they wanted within reason. My 2 older girls chose the same (one of my suggestions) they chose to be able to wear their hair down for school for one day rather than have it tied back. My baby girl put much more thought in to this it seems as she chose to go to Macdonald’s (also one of my suggestions), needless to say her big sisters were gutted to learn this! So anyway we then discussed what they must do to earn this privilege. We told them we expect them to be respectful, responsible and fun to be around. We then talked about each of these and what they mean and how they are achieved and we agreed that if they can manage this for one week then they will have earned their privilege. The book I’m reading suggests that a child must develop responsibility and respect in order to develop their conscience. So we’ll give it a go and see how we get on. The book also suggests that it could take months for the child to earn their privilege, I suspect this is quite likely!
I’m very pleased with myself today and I feel very calm! I just hope I can keep it up, I know it’s not going to be easy! They know how to push my buttons and get a reaction, I just have to rise above it and remain in control.
When I react, they’re in control!