Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Downright Mean

What can I do about a girl who is just plain ol' mean? Who is mean-spririted just to be mean? Is this a birth order problem? Is this a personality disorder? Is this a result of my less than stellar parenting? That's my biggest fear; that I am directly responsible for this hateful side of my child that barely tolerates me, at best.

I can already report that spanking her into submission is futile. Period. I need a better way to deal with this than the current method. It is the constant back-and-forth between the girls that I cannot stand. One kid is mean, the other whines and tattles, I get angry and do what I do, and the cycle begins again. Enter into this equation the homeschooling that is about to take place, and I picture myself gnawing on the end of a gun. Is this what I have to look forward to for the next 20 years? Because to be honest, I just don't have it in me. And to lay it further out on the table, I don't want it in me. I don't want to scratch and claw my way through survival.

What else can be done?


Luke said...

I had huge issues with my brother growing up. In many cases it's just something you have to mature to get out of.

As for things you can do to help... umm... praise them when they are nice to each other. Encourage them to think about being nice. Since they are all girls, asking the question "How would you feel if..." may be helpful as well.

That's all I got.

Oh, and prayer. [smile]


Lindsay said...

One thing I've noticed is that the more emotional I get, the more emotionally my kids respond. If I can stay disengaged from the emotional aspect of the situation, then my discipline is much more effective.

[Does this usually happen when you're trying to "get something done"? That's what I've noticed.]

My 3yo, for instance, whines about EVERYTHING. So we've come up with what we think is an appropriate disciplinary tactic (sitting on his bed), and whenever he does it, we just very calmly say "Go sit on your bed." He screams and cries the whole way there, and when he gets up, if he's still whining, it's back to the bed.

The key, though, isn't a miraculous approach - it's just doing it over and over and over again - without getting upset or angry. If she wants to be mean, she can - she just can't do it where anyone else can hear/see/smell the behavior - know what I mean? You can't control her inside, you can only limit the behavior from affecting the rest of your family.

This is getting long, but one last thing: homeschooling. How old are your kids? If you're going to be starting when they're 5, then have a "plan" for the year - one or two things that you want them to master. Once they've got that, you can keep going, but know in the back of your mind that you're "done" for the year and you don't have to stress about it! Remember, kindergarten isn't even required legally in Texas!! (That was my saving grace over the last few years.)

This WILL get better, but in the meantime, it is possible to enjoy your kids anyway - by not giving them emotional control over the way you feel.

The Savage said...

Take homeschooling off the table?? I'll have to confess I absolutely love this post of Molly's. For now I'm planning to homeschool, but I *really* don't see how it's going to work when the kids are oh so cooperative already. *snorts*

Georgia said...

I don't think my husband is going to let me take homeschooling off the table, no matter how crazy I become. I'm just going to have to work with it.

I love Molly. I would crawl up and live inside her blog if I could.

Georgia said...

Also, Lindsay...I'm afraid I'm hearalding you as a genius today. You are my hero for the day.