Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Well That Was Fun

Both my children are finally in bed, and if not asleep, then at least happy and relatively quiet, after a spectacularly rubbish bedtime. It's nights like these that make me realise how utterly ineffectual I am sometimes.

It started OK. The Toddler has been horrifically tired all week, after a very busy weekend away in London visiting my sister, which she doesn't seem to have quite recovered from, so I've been hearing "Uuuurrrraaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmnnnnnnuuuuuuuuuiwantthetellyyyyyyyyyyyyyuurrrrrrrr" pretty much all week. But by bedtime she seemed to have perked up a bit, and I was just about to read her second story, when she decided to purposely rip one of the pages of the book she had chosen. To be fair, the book was already broken, and the pages in question came loose long ago, but that is not the point. I let her get away with an awful lot that I probably shouldn't, but I do not take damage to property kindly, and especially not books. And especially not when it's the second page-tearing incident of the day. So I decided to resort to actually doing something about it, which as you may know, is not my strong point, and was possibly not the wisest move when all I really wanted to do was put her in bed and go downstairs and drink tea. Out came my best impression at being a Proper Parent who teaches their child about Consequences and Respect. I told her that if she couldn't look after her stories, then she wouldn't get to listen to them, so we would go straight to the toilet, song and sleep part of her bedtime routine. She thought about it, accepted the wisdom of what I was saying, and calmly proceeded to the bathroom.


Of course she didn't. She proceeded to have a massive tantrum, and I then floundered about at a total loss having not a clue how to deal with it. Because I, for reasons which are unclear to me right now, honestly thought that it would play out how I imagined it and described it above. Even though I KNOW my daughter is a stubborn and stroppy little madam who likes to have her own way at all times, I somehow thought that all that would happen would be that she would accept the consequences of her actions and all would be well.

It took me far longer than it should have done to realise why that was ridiculous, and when I did, it was like a mini-epiphany. The whole point of trying to teach her that her actions have consequences is that these actions, and therefore the consequences are Not Good Things. She is not supposed to be happy with the outcome, if she was, it would be a completely pointless exercise. I took away something she liked, and being a wilful, bad-tempered, nearly-three-year-old, she threw a wobbler.

I know, right? I'm a total genius. Seriously though, this has been a bit of a breakthrough for me. It might seem stupidly obvious, but I'm obviously a bit stupid. I've never really looked at it this way before. Well, maybe not NEVER, I'm not a complete moron, I just don't tend to analyse her tantrums in any way at all. I just dread them, because they always seem to come out of almost nowhere and seem completely disproportionate, and I never know how I'm supposed to deal with them, so I tend to do whatever I can to avoid them. But sometimes they're just expressions of rage, and that's really not the end of the world. As she gets older and wiser, she'll learn better ways of behaving in these situations. With any luck, so will I.

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