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Learning to let go and being less controlling?


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Let me see if I can explain where this is coming from. I was raised by a single mom until I was 11. She married my step-dad and our relationship seriously changed. I do not know if it was him, her having two more children, alcholism or the bi-polar disorder....but things were really rough and confusing for me as an adolescent.

 

 

Fast forward to today, when I am starting to notice a similar relationship between dd11 and I. I did not want this, but it is happening. We are combative with one another and I have noticed that I tend to need to "win" to feel that I am maintaining my role as "mother."

 

Now, we are all on vacation together. My grandmother, mother, myself and dd. Mom and I have had a lot of time to talk about the past wounds. I can see that she is truly sorry for how things developed between us. She had apologized as a Step in AA 5 years ago, but I can really see it now. Some of that is because she did get my much younger siblings through adolescence without the trauma I went through.

 

I asked my mother what she regrets most with me and she said, "Needing to win." She said she didn't understand with me that children are simply on "lease" from God. (She is not particularly religous, but does believe in a higher power) This is so hard for me! Dd11 is in such a "ugly," attitude phase that I often want to pinch her head off! ;)J/K of course, but I do find myself often upset with her and embarressed by her attitude. My mother one the other hand takes it all in stride. Tries to redirect dd and when that doesn't work, she just ignores whatever dd is doing and cheerfully focuses on something else or interacts with one of the other children.

 

I am trying to implement more of this, but really struggle with how. :confused: I love my children very much and want what is best for them. Sometimes, I fear that if I let things slide/go/pass they will develop horrible habits and ways of interacting with one another. My mother is of the mind that if I am living a good example, they will come out of this ugly duckling phase just fine.

 

So, if you have successfully learned to let go more; To not have to win or address most of the issues and drama that develop with the older child...how did you do so?

 

I guess what I am seeing is two part situation. Part 1, is that I need to develop a more peaceful and joyfilled demeanor myself. Part 2, is that I need to allow the children more room to make mistakes and just BE...even if I do not like how they are being in that moment.

 

Any thoughts?

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I am in the middle of reading Parenting with Love and Logic and it is helping me to change my mindset. They talk a lot about letting children learn from the natural consequences of their own mistakes, as well as how parents need to gradually hand control of their children's lives over to the children. I tend to need to be right all the time, and as I go through this book, I can see my behavior more clearly and also I am starting to see how I can change.

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You sound very wise. I think your solutions are appropriate. I am currently reading Parenting Teenagers with Love and Logic, and they pretty much endorse the same thing. If you get a chance, read this book, it will make your strategy clearer.

 

I have a soon to be 12 year old, and am wanting to make sure I am the best I can be to allow my children to make mistakes and learn responsibility, all the while keeping our relationship strong.

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You sound very wise. I think your solutions are appropriate. I am currently reading Parenting Teenagers with Love and Logic, and they pretty much endorse the same thing. If you get a chance, read this book, it will make your strategy clearer.

 

I have a soon to be 12 year old, and am wanting to make sure I am the best I can be to allow my children to make mistakes and learn responsibility, all the while keeping our relationship strong through the teenage years.

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I'm not sure what an example of "winning" in this context is. Does it mean allowing children to behave badly and not discipline them, then the child "wins?" Or is it more like winning an argument?

 

In any case, just as an example, suppose Child A says something nasty or backtalky. I remind them that this is not nice and would they like to rephrase. ( I do this pleasantly) If they escalate or refuse to try again in a better tone, then I say are you sure? If they are sure they will not try to fix things, then I say something like "well maybe you're just in a bad mood and being with people isn't helping" so then they are sent to their room (with schoolbooks or not, depending on time of day) to cool off and come out and apologize/rephrase later.

 

I also remind the child that "I" don't talk to them in a nasty way, and I don't allow others to do it, either. And if I lose my temper I don't apologize for disciplining, but I DO apologize if I said anything mean, or in a nasty tone. (so they know what it looks like to apologize)

 

I'm not trying to win, I'm trying to instill civilized behavior. Can you decribe for me how this is or is not winning?

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True confessions, I have not read L&L. I have read the reviews (neg and positive) and can reasonably tell that approach will not work for my family in a major sense (I am sure there are some great nuggets in there!). We have a lot of animals and if I followed that approach I could not watch them starve so my children could experience the natural consequence of not fulfilling their responsibility. The no-discussion part has me a little confused as well.

 

The one thing my mother did really well with me, and I am trying to do with my kids...is discussion. A lot of good dialogue. When to have the dialogue and for what purpose is one of the questions I amtrying to answer. I can see that lecturing in the middle of a negative episode is not the way to go.

 

My problem is with finding the middle ground.

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True confessions, I have not read L&L. I have read the reviews (neg and positive) and can reasonably tell that approach will not work for my family in a major sense (I am sure there are some great nuggets in there!). We have a lot of animals and if I followed that approach I could not watch them starve so my children could experience the natural consequence of not fulfilling their responsibility. The no-discussion part has me a little confused as well.

 

The one thing my mother did really well with me, and I am trying to do with my kids...is discussion. A lot of good dialogue. When to have the dialogue and for what purpose is one of the questions I amtrying to answer. I can see that lecturing in the middle of a negative episode is not the way to go.

 

My problem is with finding the middle ground.

 

Oh, this is a good point, about discussion. (I haven't read the book, either) If it is a routine discipline problem, it is handled routinely as I described above. However if the problem escalates into something bigger, and the child feels he is being treated unfairly by me, then I tell him "we'll discuss this with dad later tonight" -- that way he gets his concerns heard and we can discuss as a family our approach on particular issues. During the day most discipline problems are just putting out fires, but if a larger question is raised I do think we need time to discuss it fairly, and in the heat of the moment is not the time to do it. Also it's helpful for everyone to be able to cool off, and dad to put in his sometimes more objective input. Sometimes procedures and ways of handling things are changed at these family meetings. Sometimes not.

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I'm not sure what an example of "winning" in this context is. Does it mean allowing children to behave badly and not discipline them, then the child "wins?" Or is it more like winning an argument?

 

In any case, just as an example, suppose Child A says something nasty or backtalky. I remind them that this is not nice and would they like to rephrase. ( I do this pleasantly) If they escalate or refuse to try again in a better tone, then I say are you sure? If they are sure they will not try to fix things, then I say something like "well maybe you're just in a bad mood and being with people isn't helping" so then they are sent to their room (with schoolbooks or not, depending on time of day) to cool off and come out and apologize/rephrase later.

 

I also remind the child that "I" don't talk to them in a nasty way, and I don't allow others to do it, either. And if I lose my temper I don't apologize for disciplining, but I DO apologize if I said anything mean, or in a nasty tone. (so they know what it looks like to apologize)

 

I'm not trying to win, I'm trying to instill civilized behavior. Can you decribe for me how this is or is not winning?

 

This is very close to how things work in my home as well. The problem is that with four kids I am starting to notice a few things. One is that I cannot maintain this with all four, all the time. It turns me into a constant referee/coach. Second, is that I am focusing a lot on the negative behaviors.

 

I specifically asked my mother this question as she was the youngest of 3 and took some horrific verbal abuse from her older siblings. I knew it really hurt her and she was angry at her parents for allowing it. Her response was startling. She said she realizes she really didn't need her parents to intervene all the time. She needed them to reassure her of her self worth inspite of her sisters actions and equip her to handle their jabs within herself. It is a slight difference in focus. Focusing on equipping the recipient means they get the majority of the focus, while ignoring the negative behavior of the aggressor. Then at a later time, when emotions are cooled you would discuss positive verbal communication with the offending child.

 

This s why it is hard for me. I would be releasing control of when their negative behaviors stop. The immediacy of it. It is difficult to explain. Sorry.

 

Granted none of this is hard and fast and there are going to be times where kids need to be separated or granted space to cool off. :D

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Well, 11 is a hard age and it is so hard to not engage. I am now on my fourth 11yo and I "think" I have learned some things along the way.

 

I'm not certain about the specifics in your case. My 11yo daughter wants to argue about everything. If I tell her her response is argumentative or whiney, she immediately tells me it is not and wants to argue.

 

I've begun to tell her it is not what she thinks but how it is perceived that is important. I perceived what she just said differently than she meant it, so please find a way to phrase it so I know how she meant it.

 

At times, she is just in a bad mood and nothing any of us says or does is right. Then, I tell her that her world is out of whack and we are not walking on eggshells around her anymore. She can improve her outlook, take a nap, or just remove herself from the situation, But she is definitely not allowed to make everyone miserable just because she is feeling "jumbled" inside.

 

I do quite a bit of talking about the fact that she is changing, beginning the process of becoming an adult and sometimes her feelings and perceptions are "different" than what is happening. Part of the growing up process is learning to handle the "nothing-is right-in-my world" feelings while being nice to those around you. It is something we all have to learn to be able to get along with others around us. Then I ask if there is anything she needs from me at the moment. Sometimes she just needs a hug.

 

Hope this helps some

 

Linda

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I'll be the odd man out, I really didn't jive with Love and Logic. A lot of the situations seemed very manipulative. There's no way I'm going to arrange some elaborate way for them to experience a natural consequence. My kids would see right through that. However, I totally agree with not emotionally engaging, but allowing them to receive the consequence. I was already doing that, so maybe that's why the book didn't strike me as magic.

 

"Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?": A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager was really helpful to me. Like any book, there were some things that I had to pass on, but there were a few important shifts in my thinking that it helped me make.

 

I gotta run, but I'll come back to answer on a more personal level in a bit!

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Well, 11 is a hard age and it is so hard to not engage. I am now on my fourth 11yo and I "think" I have learned some things along the way.

 

I'm not certain about the specifics in your case. My 11yo daughter wants to argue about everything. If I tell her her response is argumentative or whiney, she immediately tells me it is not and wants to argue.

 

Exactly, and then I engage..which to me is somewhat what I mean by "needing to win." I need her to KNOW she is the one coming across whiney.

 

I've begun to tell her it is not what she thinks but how it is perceived that is important. I perceived what she just said differently than she meant it, so please find a way to phrase it so I know how she meant it.

 

At times, she is just in a bad mood and nothing any of us says or does is right. Then, I tell her that her world is out of whack and we are not walking on eggshells around her anymore. She can improve her outlook, take a nap, or just remove herself from the situation, But she is definitely not allowed to make everyone miserable just because she is feeling "jumbled" inside.

 

I agree with this. My mother has the amazing ability of not walking on eggshells, but just happily ignoring the attitude offender. :D I, on the otherhand, tend to put my entire life on hold until dd stops her negative attitude or removes herself from the room. That sets us up into a battle of wills and gives her a lot of control over me, which I do not think is the greatest solution.

 

I do quite a bit of talking about the fact that she is changing, beginning the process of becoming an adult and sometimes her feelings and perceptions are "different" than what is happening. Part of the growing up process is learning to handle the "nothing-is right-in-my world" feelings while being nice to those around you. It is something we all have to learn to be able to get along with others around us. Then I ask if there is anything she needs from me at the moment. Sometimes she just needs a hug.

 

Hope this helps some

 

Linda

Linda, it does. I am realizing that what I am struggling with is a bit more ambiguous than I realized.

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Let me see if I can explain where this is coming from. I was raised by a single mom until I was 11. She married my step-dad and our relationship seriously changed. I do not know if it was him, her having two more children, alcholism or the bi-polar disorder....but things were really rough and confusing for me as an adolescent.

 

 

Fast forward to today, when I am starting to notice a similar relationship between dd11 and I. I did not want this, but it is happening. We are combative with one another and I have noticed that I tend to need to "win" to feel that I am maintaining my role as "mother."

 

 

 

 

Now, we are all on vacation together. My grandmother, mother, myself and dd. Mom and I have had a lot of time to talk about the past wounds. I can see that she is truly sorry for how things developed between us. She had apologized as a Step in AA 5 years ago, but I can really see it now. Some of that is because she did get my much younger siblings through adolescence without the trauma I went through.

 

I asked my mother what she regrets most with me and she said, "Needing to win." She said she didn't understand with me that children are simply on "lease" from God. (She is not particularly religous, but does believe in a higher power) This is so hard for me! Dd11 is in such a "ugly," attitude phase that I often want to pinch her head off! ;)J/K of course, but I do find myself often upset with her and embarressed by her attitude. My mother one the other hand takes it all in stride. Tries to redirect dd and when that doesn't work, she just ignores whatever dd is doing and cheerfully focuses on something else or interacts with one of the other children.

 

I am trying to implement more of this, but really struggle with how. :confused: I love my children very much and want what is best for them. Sometimes, I fear that if I let things slide/go/pass they will develop horrible habits and ways of interacting with one another. My mother is of the mind that if I am living a good example, they will come out of this ugly duckling phase just fine.

 

So, if you have successfully learned to let go more; To not have to win or address most of the issues and drama that develop with the older child...how did you do so?

 

I guess what I am seeing is two part situation. Part 1, is that I need to develop a more peaceful and joyfilled demeanor myself. Part 2, is that I need to allow the children more room to make mistakes and just BE...even if I do not like how they are being in that moment.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Your mother is a wise woman. If my husband would have listened to her (or me!), he'd have a relationship with his firstborn. Instead, he chose to "win" and never extended the child any grace. Sadly, he's realized his mistake too late; he's finding it hard to penetrate the emotional wall his 15 year old child has built to protect himself.

 

Reading this book helped me to develop a good relationship with my son and help his father to recognize why he hadn't.

http://www.amazon.com/Between-Parent-Child-Revolutionized-Communication/dp/0609809881

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ok. I am getting better about this.

 

I tell my daughter, when she says "I'm not (whatever.)" I say, "Well, you may not think so and you may not be meaning to, but you are doing this. If you want to live in denial that is fine, but I will not continue arguing about it. Until you change x, you will be in your room."

 

I have to remind myself that it takes TWO to argue.

 

Learn the noncommittal shrug. My dd can be talking talking talking, I just shrug. She doesn't change my mind, doesn't change the consequences of what happened, I just shrug. Occasionally, I will tell her that she's not changing anything, but I simply let her talk and continue on with what I am doing. If she gets ugly, I send her to her room or enforce additional consequences after a warning.

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It sounds like what you saw your mother doing was 'not taking it personally'?? And keeping the big picture in mind. Which is easier to do when you don't have to live with the dc 24/7, IMHO.

 

Yes, this is it. It is hard when you are together 24/7, but she managed it to a greater degree with my younger siblings...so there has to be a way! :D

 

I'm not sure if this would help you, but what I tell my now-grown kids about raising kids (in case I'm dead and gone when any of them have kids :rolleyes:) is this:

 

It does help! .

 

Your mother is a wise woman. If my husband would have listened to her (or me!)' date=' he'd have a relationship with his firstborn. Instead, he chose to "win" and never extended the child any grace. Sadly, he's realized his mistake too late; he's finding it hard to penetrate the emotional wall his 15 year old child has built to protect himself.

 

Reading this book helped me to develop a good relationship with my son and help his father to recognize why he hadn't.

http://www.amazon.com/Between-Parent-Child-Revolutionized-Communication/dp/0609809881[/quote']

Thank you! I was seeing this wall develop between dd and I, and I hated it. Truthfully, I knew I was repeating the same dynamic I had with my mom, but I did not know how to let go a bit. Fear is an incredible thing! :glare:I am so grateful for this trip with my mother, getting to see her interact with the kids and pick her brain.

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It's hard if you aren't parented well yourself. I think one has to find the balance between controlling and being treated poorly yourself. Finding ways to redirect and stop impolite behavior isn't controlling. You deserve to be treated well by your family. You are their personal agent after all, making good things happen. :grouphug:

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I am in the middle of reading Parenting with Love and Logic and it is helping me to change my mindset. They talk a lot about letting children learn from the natural consequences of their own mistakes, as well as how parents need to gradually hand control of their children's lives over to the children. I tend to need to be right all the time, and as I go through this book, I can see my behavior more clearly and also I am starting to see how I can change.

 

:iagree:

 

Great book! They also have one for teenagers .

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Preteen/teenage girls can be difficult to raise for moms. I love my girls so much, but my oldest can really push my buttons. She knows my tender spots and pokes me there. It has been harder to "not take the bait" - as is my mantra with teens.

 

I also grew up in a dysfunctional home and I had to learn most parenting on my own. I've not had the problem of wanting to win, but I have a very strong need for harmony in my home and making sure that I don't repeat the relationship issues that were prevalent in my family.

 

I try to take time to talk when things are calm. If we are in the middle of an emotional issue it doesn't seem to work. We do powwows here. If I go too long in between having these I will have a powwow week. These conversations don't just focus on a child's attitude issues but gives them a time to share things about their life or week that they don't normally get to.

 

I also recommend Parenting with Love and Logic, 5 Languages of Love, How to Really Love your Teen, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Families. I'm an unabashed reader of parenting, marriage book because these relationships are the most important thing in my life. I go to my old standbys for refresher courses periodically. :)

 

Being aware of an issue is so important I applaud you. It's hard being a mom.

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I struggle with this as well, and DD goes throught these phases every year now, just before her birthday.

 

What really helped me was reading a book called Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. I read it years ago, and as far as I remember it mostly applies to younger children, but one particular line stuck with me.

 

It is the suggestion that every behaviour, no matter how ugly, has a positive intent, poorly expressed. The trick for me is to exhale and to remember the positive intent, and try to find it. It makes me more mellow, more meditative, and really helps not to escalate the situation. When I remember to look for the positive intent, things are just so much better. But then there are times when I forget. :001_huh:

 

I also try to have as much 1:1 as possible with DD during those phases. It is hard in the beginning, but gets easier within a couple of days.

 

One example about the positive intent that I remember from the book was a little boy who, upon being told to hold his brother's hand while crossing a road, pinched his brother.

 

The intent, however, was not to hurt his brother, but to assert his independence--he really wanted to cross the road by himself. The point is that it is not okay to hurt others, but it is okay (and quite good, indeed) to want to be independent. When the situation is deconstructed this way, it is is easier for me, as a parent, to be more reasonable and calm in my approach. It is also quite an effective approach, when done consistently. It reaffirms the child's perception of herself as a good person, and allows for gentle teaching moments.

 

HTH.

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My DD is only 8, but often sees and treats me as an equal because I have allowed it. I don't think this is a bad thing. She's very mature, always has been (old soul apparently). However, as she gets into the tween years, sometimes that translates into being snippy or irritable with me in a way that I see as disrespectful.

 

What I am trying to do is to work with her on this behavior as a team, just like we have always been, rather than suddenly snapping into "I am the mom" mode. When I do snap into that mode, I make a joke of it, then or later. We both understand that ultimately I am in charge, but she is going to step on my toes now and then as she finds her way. She's going to be a great mom some day. But right now, she's trying to navigate the world between being that great mom and still being someone else's child. :001_smile:

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I specifically asked my mother this question as she was the youngest of 3 and took some horrific verbal abuse from her older siblings. I knew it really hurt her and she was angry at her parents for allowing it. Her response was startling. She said she realizes she really didn't need her parents to intervene all the time. She needed them to reassure her of her self worth inspite of her sisters actions and equip her to handle their jabs within herself. It is a slight difference in focus. Focusing on equipping the recipient means they get the majority of the focus, while ignoring the negative behavior of the aggressor. Then at a later time, when emotions are cooled you would discuss positive verbal communication with the offending child.

 

This s why it is hard for me. I would be releasing control of when their negative behaviors stop. The immediacy of it. It is difficult to explain. Sorry.

 

Granted none of this is hard and fast and there are going to be times where kids need to be separated or granted space to cool off. :D

 

I think your mother's response is good and I guess that's part of the way I deal with the bickering and meanness that occurs between my dc sometimes. I do try to deal with the offender and remind them that's not how we treat each other, but don't require a rephrasing or apology until that child is ready - pushing them into that action hasn't ever produced positive results. And I coach the other child on how they might have responded differently (instead of getting into an argument or saying not-nice things back). I try to get them to choose at least one other option that would have been better, and may suggest a few of my own.

 

I used to be of the mindset that as the parent, I had to "win," too. But my ds (even as a young child) had a stronger desire to win and more stamina for holding out. I had to find other methods that worked with him, because I knew if I continued with what I was doing, I'd have totally lost him by his teen years. It's really hard sometimes, because all 4 of us in this house are strong-willed, and so I have to remind dh and he has to remind me sometimes to back off and let it go. But ds just turned 13 and I can honestly say he is a great kid and the struggles we used to have daily, only occur every now and then, and are much more quickly resolved.

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I think your mother's response is good and I guess that's part of the way I deal with the bickering and meanness that occurs between my dc sometimes. I do try to deal with the offender and remind them that's not how we treat each other, but don't require a rephrasing or apology until that child is ready - pushing them into that action hasn't ever produced positive results. And I coach the other child on how they might have responded differently (instead of getting into an argument or saying not-nice things back). I try to get them to choose at least one other option that would have been better, and may suggest a few of my own.

 

I used to be of the mindset that as the parent, I had to "win," too. But my ds (even as a young child) had a stronger desire to win and more stamina for holding out. I had to find other methods that worked with him, because I knew if I continued with what I was doing, I'd have totally lost him by his teen years. It's really hard sometimes, because all 4 of us in this house are strong-willed, and so I have to remind dh and he has to remind me sometimes to back off and let it go. But ds just turned 13 and I can honestly say he is a great kid and the struggles we used to have daily, only occur every now and then, and are much more quickly resolved.

 

:iagree:Hold on To your Kids by Gordon Neufeld also talks about not requesting an immediate apology or implementing an immediate correction. It is a great book, very pro-homeschooling, worth reading.

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You have all been really helpful! It is so good to read your stories about how this is playing out in your homes!

 

I struggle with this as well, and DD goes throught these phases every year now, just before her birthday.

 

What really helped me was reading a book called Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. I read it years ago, and as far as I remember it mostly applies to younger children, but one particular line stuck with me.

 

It is the suggestion that every behaviour, no matter how ugly, has a positive intent, poorly expressed. The trick for me is to exhale and to remember the positive intent, and try to find it. It makes me more mellow, more meditative, and really helps not to escalate the situation. When I remember to look for the positive intent, things are just so much better. But then there are times when I forget. :001_huh:

 

I also try to have as much 1:1 as possible with DD during those phases. It is hard in the beginning, but gets easier within a couple of days.

 

One example about the positive intent that I remember from the book was a little boy who, upon being told to hold his brother's hand while crossing a road, pinched his brother.

 

The intent, however, was not to hurt his brother, but to assert his independence--he really wanted to cross the road by himself. The point is that it is not okay to hurt others, but it is okay (and quite good, indeed) to want to be independent. When the situation is deconstructed this way, it is is easier for me, as a parent, to be more reasonable and calm in my approach. It is also quite an effective approach, when done consistently. It reaffirms the child's perception of herself as a good person, and allows for gentle teaching moments.

 

HTH.

The bolded is brilliant! I had read something similar before, but completely forgot about it until you mentioned it. I remember thinking about how gentle of a mother I would be if I remembered that......then I forgot! :tongue_smilie:

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You have all been really helpful! It is so good to read your stories about how this is playing out in your homes!

 

 

The bolded is brilliant! I had read something similar before, but completely forgot about it until you mentioned it. I remember thinking about how gentle of a mother I would be if I remembered that......then I forgot! :tongue_smilie:

 

If someone wanted to pay me $50000 to get a tatoo, this is the line that I'd get tattooed. :D

 

When my kids were younger, I had this saying on the fridge.

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Let me see if I can explain where this is coming from. I was raised by a single mom until I was 11. She married my step-dad and our relationship seriously changed. I do not know if it was him, her having two more children, alcholism or the bi-polar disorder....but things were really rough and confusing for me as an adolescent.

 

 

Fast forward to today, when I am starting to notice a similar relationship between dd11 and I. I did not want this, but it is happening. We are combative with one another and I have noticed that I tend to need to "win" to feel that I am maintaining my role as "mother."

 

Now, we are all on vacation together. My grandmother, mother, myself and dd. Mom and I have had a lot of time to talk about the past wounds. I can see that she is truly sorry for how things developed between us. She had apologized as a Step in AA 5 years ago, but I can really see it now. Some of that is because she did get my much younger siblings through adolescence without the trauma I went through.

 

I asked my mother what she regrets most with me and she said, "Needing to win." She said she didn't understand with me that children are simply on "lease" from God. (She is not particularly religous, but does believe in a higher power) This is so hard for me! Dd11 is in such a "ugly," attitude phase that I often want to pinch her head off! ;)J/K of course, but I do find myself often upset with her and embarressed by her attitude. My mother one the other hand takes it all in stride. Tries to redirect dd and when that doesn't work, she just ignores whatever dd is doing and cheerfully focuses on something else or interacts with one of the other children.

 

I am trying to implement more of this, but really struggle with how. :confused: I love my children very much and want what is best for them. Sometimes, I fear that if I let things slide/go/pass they will develop horrible habits and ways of interacting with one another. My mother is of the mind that if I am living a good example, they will come out of this ugly duckling phase just fine.

 

So, if you have successfully learned to let go more; To not have to win or address most of the issues and drama that develop with the older child...how did you do so?

 

I guess what I am seeing is two part situation. Part 1, is that I need to develop a more peaceful and joyfilled demeanor myself. Part 2, is that I need to allow the children more room to make mistakes and just BE...even if I do not like how they are being in that moment.

 

Any thoughts?

 

I could have written this post myself only my dd is 14. I am a very independent upbeat person (and a somewhat "needs to be in control" type person). My daughter was needy and whiney from the get go. It has been a personal struggle. I love her dearly. I know she knows this. I tell her constantly and do silly things to make her laugh. We are getting better because I try (mostly-I have to really try some days) to not engage in a discussion of her consequences or why she feels she was justified in doing what ever it is that she did, or why it 'wasn't that bad', or 'it was just once' or 'I forgot', etc, ad nauseum....I just have to state things matter of factly and move on to something else.

 

I'm certainly thankful for my husband as he tempers me. :001_smile:

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I was raised by a controlling mother, and was very controlling myself for the first 6-7 years of parenthood. DS is extremely strong-willed and we were constantly butting heads. The fact that we both needed to win at all costs was damaging our relationship.

 

What helped me let go of the need to control, was realizing that I can't control my kids' behavior. The only behavior I can control is my own. I can influence, teach, and guide my kids - but in the end, they completely control their response. Conceptually, I always understood this - but I didn't truly get it (and design my parenting approach around it) until about a year or so ago. As I gave up trying to control DS and paid more attention to how I was responding to him, I felt a lot more in control of how I was parenting (because I was ;) ), and our power struggles decreased dramatically. Since I was no longer engaging with him, and I even went as far as to acknowledge from time to time that he was in control (e.g.: "You're right - I can't make you do that."), it took all the fun out of it for him. That doesn't mean I gave up my expectations, rules, etc. - not at all. I just changed how I responded, refused to engage in power struggles, and shifted to consequences that didn't require his cooperation whenever possible.

 

A concept that has helped me immensely with all this is the “circle of control” from Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. With this concept, Covey illustrates that the reason we are often frustrated and less effective is that we spend too much time and energy on what we can neither control nor influence. We get the best results (in parenting and life in general) when we focus on what we can actually control. I wrote a blog post on this awhile back (tying the Covey concept in with parenting) - although my blog focuses on parenting kids with Asperger's Syndrome, this post is applicable to any parent. You can read it here if you're interested.

 

HTH! :grouphug:

Edited by Dandelion
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