Thursday, September 9, 2010

Parenting/When The Two We Love Bang Heads


After we came home from vacation it seemed like these two very special people in my life just could not see eye to eye on anything. It was causing so much chaos and just right down frustration within our home and family unit. I know that we are not the only family who has gone through a similar situation.

For several weeks I watched as Selena would not mind her Papa at all, she hardly even listened to a thing he had to say. When he asked her not to do something, she would do it anyway or just walk away, there were even times she right out told him NO or screamed at him out frustration. Papa was getting frustrated, and was beginning to feel that we were doing something horribly wrong in the way we were bringing Selena up. I was pulling my hair out, as at times I felt I had two children on my hands. I was trying to keep Papa happy, while  trying to keep Selena within her boundaries.

Finally out of sheer frustration, I removed myself from the equation as best I could and stepped back to see if I could really figure out what was going on. Here is what I found:

  • Papa was picking apart everything Selena did, from her eating, to how she played.
  • Papa didn’t want to discipline, he turned that over to me constantly. Then on the flip side he didn’t want to spend time to play or read with her.
  • Papa came home and dove right into a deep conversation with me, and hardly said two sentences to Selena.

WAIT A MINUTE! The light bulb went off. I began to see the pattern.

  • Papa wasn’t seeing Selena where she is for her age, and development, he had too high of expectations.
  • Papa forgot that it is as much his job to provide a constant and balance in both love and discipline.
  • Papa hadn’t realized that our three year old is now thriving for every chance she can get to just converse with her Papa.

My first attempts at talking to Papa about this fell on deaf ears, or came with excuses like, “I don’t know how to relate to children, that is all there is to it.” I finally tried a little different approach. I asked Michael what type of behavior he felt Selena should have? His answer just cracked me up, though I didn’t laugh, I sweetly and tenderly asked him and what age do you feel she should be to behave this way? His eyes got wide, over my question and it hit him like a ton of bricks, he admitted, that he was expecting his three year old to behave more like a seven year old.

I have seen great strives on his part to watching himself, and changing how he deals with Selena. We are seeing huge differences in Selena and her behavior when Papa is home. Believe me I wanted a nanny cam so that Papa would believe me that she didn’t behave in such a manner until he stepped through the door.

Now come on all families have seen similar situations. It is a part of being a family. One of the best gifts we can give to our children though is by showing them through action that the two adults who love them so dearly can work through these trials, with harmony and negotiations. Children feed off what they see, and feel within the family unit. We have choices we can argue, fight, and feed into the problem, or we can step back to observe, then with calm discuss the problem and what we have seen.

Now be honest I know we can all relate to what I have wrote, rather it is your spouse or even yourself, who for one reason or another has hit a brick wall in dealing with your child or children, so how has your family dealt and resolved the situation?

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  1. I'm sure we have, and I'm sure it's been resolved somehow, but right now I'm totally drawing a blank on this. Hmmm....... gets me thinking.

  2. I am so glad you posted this, while nothing significant is going on here, there are plenty of hurdles. I sometimes feel 'others peoples kids' are perfect, while mine are a constant back and forth battle just to get decent behavior.

    I especially love how you calmly and politly went to him with your thoughts.

  3. Men are generally known not to be good with babies. They tend to be better with kids as they mature. My husband used to envy our closeness as JC would not go to anybody else but me as a baby but now she's daddy's little girl and much more patient and loving towards him.

  4. My daughter is testing her limits right now. One thing in particular is that whenever I am strapping my son into his carseat, she will climb quickly into the car and then start jumping around seat to seat. After I am finished buckling in her brother, I go to get her but she yells, "no" and tries to get away from me by climbing to another part of the car. I've tried a few tactics and some days they work and other days they don't.

    I also do most of the discipling because my daughter doesn't really take my husband too seriously. He has always been a huge hands on dad, even when she was a newborn. But he also does lots of rough-and-tumble play like wrestling with her. Then later when he tries to catch her or tell her no, she laughs and tries to entice him into a game.

  5. It was very interesting to read this post, since sometimes we disagree somewhat on discipline. Anna behaves much better with each of us in 1:1 situations than when both of us are present. Fortunately, as you know, we are both very hands-on and we spent many late night evenings discussing the approach. Overall, we arrived to the conclusion that we need to meet in the middle - I need to become better at enforcing rules and disciplining, and Lars has to get better in not expecting a 3 year old behave like a seven year old as you put it. Also - we use an obvious principle - the one objecting to the behavior also does all the disciplining that is needed, and we try very hard not to contradict each other in front of Anna.

  6. YOu are so right Debbie, everyone goes through something like this at some stage of parenting. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your story.