Wednesday, July 29, 2009

parenting dilemma

Ugh. I am having an issue with my eldest. She has been so sassy, disobedient, mean to her brother, not respecting authority, the list goes on and on lately. It feels like she is constantly in trouble. She was blatantly disobedient tonight and had some attitude going on so Chad sent her to bed early. We go about our night and we find a piece of notebook paper folded up on the floor outside the door to the kid's room. It says, "To mom and dad. Love you. Open." We open it up and read,

"Dear mom and dad,
I'm sorry I've been sassy and all that lately. :-( yes she drew a sad face I just want you to know sometimes I feel like you LOVE Eli more. I didn't want to tell you in person cause I'm afraid you'll yell at me, and make me cry more. Just so you know I love you bunches.
Sinceresly-Madeline, your sad daughter."

Ugh. Here is the deal. She says that she feels like we love Eli more EVERY TIME she gets in trouble. I have explained to her time after time after time that it isn't true. That we love them the same. That we enjoy her just as much as we enjoy Eli. Then I go on to explain to her that she needs to be obedient the first time. That she needs to be nice to her brother. That she needs to think before she speaks and not be sassy. Another thing is trying to explain to her that just because she says she is sorry that it doesn't mean there are no consequences to her actions. We are working on the yelling thing. Literally it is like she doesn't hear us until we raise our voices. We have tried the whispering thing and we might as well be talking to a wall. Ugh.I can see why she would think in her 8 year old brain that we love Eli more. Eli very rarely gets in trouble. He is much more laid back and much more of a people pleaser. He wants to obey. We try to treat them exactly the same. They have the same privileges. The same bed time. She has to take the dog out and he doesn't. That is the only difference in their responsibilities and she likes doing it. It makes her feel more grown up.

So, what do I do? What would you do? I am really at a loss.


Bethany said...

Oh Manda! My heart just breaks for you! Madeline was so sweet when she was here, but I know how you feel. Bub seems to need to be told more than a couple of times before he obeys, and it drives me crazy.

A few of our friends suggested that we get his hearing checked out by a doctor, as the school tests are not that great. As soon as our dumb insurance cards get here, we will, so maybe try that.

Do you and Madeline have any time where you do stuff with just the two of you? As simple as going to the mall or running an errand together while Eli gets Dad time?

Often times, even as adults, we do what has worked in the past. I know I certainly did/do. If saying something or doing something gives us the outcome we desire, even if it is sometimes negative, we'll keep repeating the pattern.

Maybe sitting and talking with her, and really hearing what she has to say will help you get to the heart of the issue. Know that you are doing a great job and raising a girl with a strong, independent will. That is a wonderful gift to have, as long as it is used for good, kinda like the Force... LOL.

Hugs and High Fives to you all!


b.a. said...

reading this is like a vision into my future! i know i'll be asking for the same advice in a few years. so when you figure all this out, be sure to write it down. until then--i'm sorry!

i don't know if this helps, but...
i remember feeling like my parents loved haverlee more (cause i always got in trouble and she "never" did). one thing i remember is that they made a point to affirm our differences. pointing out the things i was good at that she wasn't and vice versa. (not like, "you're good at drawing and haverlee isn't!" but just pointing out "wow, you're good at drawing." and "haverlee, you have such a beautiful voice!" etc.) i think knowing that we were unique and not expected to be the same person helped me know they loved me for who i was. although, i think i required a LOT of affirmation! haha. my parents still do that to this day.

b.a. said...

i'm so glad you mentioned dinner. i DID forget! and now i'm so happy to not have to break into my frozen pizza reserves!
we are super-un-picky eaters. the only thing i don't really care for is peas. and even those i'll eat when disguised with enough butter & salt :).