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Fun Dialogue vs. Disrespect

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I'm struggling with this issue and I hope I can find the right words to describe what I'm talking about;) My basic parenting model is one of benevolent dictator - a dictator who takes more suggestions and give-and-take as the kids get older. My children are quite obedient most of the time if I ask them to do something. My ds more so than my dd. He will quite cheerfully put a load of laundry in etc. Dd gives me more martyred looks and will occasionally just not do something in the not-so-crazy hope that I'll just forget about it. I see our family life as being a cooperative effort and have no problem asking the kids to pitch in but I also recognize their need for playtime etc. so I try not to overburden them with requests for help.


Our normal household atmosphere is one of fun banter. I tease the kids a lot and they tease me. They love to lie in wait for me to scare me. We love puns and jokes. We are often talking over each other in a chaotic jumble that still manages to communicate. (Obviously there are times when our household atmosphere isn't so happy but this is the norm.)


In the midst of this banter and cooperativeness there is a thread of what feels like disrespect from my dd9. She is always scolding me but in a mock "Mooooom!" sort of way because I said something too embarrassing or out there in her opinion. The scolding seems to be more than teasing but a way of controlling me. If I say something in too kind a way, she seems to think that it is open for debate even when it is not.


I like having a pleasant household. I like asking the kids to do something in a silly way rather than making it an order. I like teasing the kids and having them tease me. But I'm feeling like dd9 is going to force me to draw a line in the sand each and every time because she forces the issue each and every time.


Do you know what I'm talking about here? Can you give me some principles to guide how I relate to dd9? I want to keep the family fun without the disrespect.

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Understand 100%---as this sounds so much like our household and our struggle with the lines that do tend to get crossed sometimes. DH tends to play around WAY more than I do---and so I always feel like I'm the fun sucker around here :tongue_smilie: The biggest challenge with this is making sure that the 'fun' doesn't turn disrespectful---and I guess with us it just takes diligence and paying attention when things feel too far the wrong way. I wish I had some hard and fast rules to share with you---but for us I guess it's more instinctual. We joke and play around, but if let's say it's time for chores and the kids decide to say 'Ya right!' or 'Not gonna happen'----then it's time for the Dictator to kick in and reinforce that play time is over and it was fun, but it's time to do some work. Or if one of the kids get's a little too lippy in jest, then it's time to tone it down a bit. It can be tricky, especially when one of the kids says something like "Well, you do that.". Right----but I'm an adult and have earned the right to do so and so. It's a fine line, and especially with a 9 yo I think there's quite a bit more 'training' when it comes to what's funny and acceptable and what's totally out of line and disrespectful, KWIM? I hope this helps!

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I love the way you describe your family. You sound fun to be around:). I try to keep a lighthearted, teasing atmosphere here as well. I see how family members can take that teasing and manipulate it. My dd sometimes steps over the line.


What has helped is to answer back in the same mock exasperated tone "LLAAAUUNNNDDDRYYY!". Or sometimes, I will do my best Scarlet O'Hara about being trod upon by my ungrateful family. They usually get the message. If that didn't work, I would give a serious look, say "Enough!" and then repeat my request. My kids usually know when it is time to stop pushing back.

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I have been surprised that when my kids do things like this, I can actually talk to them about it. From teens in the English classes I taught to my bigs here at home--I can sit them down & talk to them (in private) about the attitude. I try to be gentle & clear. They *always* know what I'm talking about, & calling it what it is makes such a difference.


There are some ways of teasing that are ok between peers, ok for adults toward children, but not ok for children toward adults. That's not really fair, but we *acknowledge* to a kid who's having that kind of a problem that that's the way it is, that we know they're just copying what they've seen us do, & that, unfortunately, it can't go both ways. And we are willing to cut it out of the way we talk to them if they need/want us to.


After talking to them about something, assuming there's not a heart issue (or that it's been dealt with), when the attitude pops up again, usually something as simple as a wink & a shake of the head will remind them, & not only will they stop, they'll apologize.


It's hard for me to give them space to figure out humor, but I try to remind myself that they need it, & like anything, there will be bumps.



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How about just sitting down and talking with her about it? Maybe you could say something like, "Honey, I want to have fun around here, but I want to feel respected, too. When you say xxxx, I feel hurt. It makes me feel like we can't have fun together. Is there something I'm doing that is causing this? What could I do differently?"


I really think an attitude of humility, even with a 9 year old, can open the door to a better relationship between a parent and child. And you really want a good relationship with your daughter. The mother/daughter bond can be such a joy in life. Try not to let anything you may be unintentionally doing hurt that. :grouphug:

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