There comes a point in every parents’ journey where you wake up one day and wonder “what in the heck happened my lovely child?!”
Sometimes you can see the change coming; creeping up on you subtly but significantly. Other times it hits you like a speeding locomotive coming around a blind curve.
A few weeks ago I found myself caught between the “creep”and the “speed” with my eldest, for arguments sake, let’s call her Shorty. Things began at a fairly minor pace: a smart remark here, a quick tap to her sister there, then came the onslaught of rage that only an 8 year old girl can muster complete with shouts, sneers, and plenty of “stay out of my rooms!” As I watched all of this play out between my daughters I frequently thought to myself: who is this person? And more importantly what happened to my love bug?
You know, the tiny girl who gave unsolicited hugs, picked flowers on a whim, and gave the sweetest compliments to even the foulest of strangers.
Nowadays, I find myself watching and waiting to see which Shorty is waking up in my home. There appeared to be no rhyme or reason to the switch. On Monday we could be singing the praises of the grace and pleasant disposition of Dr. Jekyll, and by Wednesday, we find ourselves dining with Mr. Hyde.
I know what you’re thinking—she’s eight and that’s prime time for tween like behaviors and teen-like mood swings. It’s a reality of which I am fully aware, and up until now, I can honestly say, it’s a reality for which I was not fully prepared.
So, Captain and I did what any self-respecting parent would do…we put our collective heads together and began doling out punishments: the more severe the infraction, the tougher the punishment. #winning
Or so we thought.
Then, the backlash began. The tougher the punishment, the harder she pushed back.
If I’ve learned anything over the past few weeks, it’s this: increasing the punishment does NOT improve behavior! (Go figure)
Then it hit me!
All this time I spent trying to correct her problem, not once did I stop to consider if I were the problem. As I mentioned in my initial post, things around my home have been fairly chaotic over the past few years, and only recently have I tried to tackle them head on.
Lack of one on one quality time with yours truly festered until it boiled over into one pre-teen induced angst. Now, am I excusing her behavior, absolutely not. But I am willing to stop and take the blame for the damage I’ve caused. I know this road won’t be easy, but it’s my road to travel.
So, I’m strapping in, cause this ride is bound to be a bumpy one.
Until next time