Monday, December 20, 2010

Too Much Christmas

Otherwise known as, "Would you like some whine with your cheese?"  Our kids are both pretty squirrelly about the holiday this year, and their behavior the past couple weeks has had more ups and downs than Cedar Point in the summer.  I remember this wild ride from my teaching days in a public school - the lead-up to Christmas always saw an exponential increase in the flaky behavior of the kids, until the last couple days of school reached a crescendo of overexcited anticipation.  As much as I love the holidays, I'm starting to look forward to January 3rd, when the kids go back to school and our day to day routine is restored for a nice, boring stretch of time.  I know we'll all be stir crazy by March, but right now the long, white stretch of sameness through January and February looks pretty attractive to me.

Oh, the joys of having a daughter!  I suppose I can't speak for every mother of a girl, but DRAMA seems to be word of the day around here.  Today our daughter had what we call "the traveling snit."  That means she gets bent out of shape over one issue, and as you try to talk her through it, she transfers her snit to another issue, then another, refusing to admit she's in the wrong or to back down when she's on the verge of getting in trouble.  I hate having to deal with that, because you KNOW it's not going to end well.  Sure enough, she ended the time before the bus came with losing TV/computer privileges for the day, and earning an early bedtime tonight.  But, I WON:  I kept my temper and was quietly reasonable the whole time (not easy when your daughter is being a selfish little whine-ball, with all the charm of seasick crocodile), and made my point without her getting away with her poor choices.  Darn, but that's exhausting!

Dealing with disrespectful behavior is hard for me, because it can be so subtle at times, and so blatant at others, but it all needs to be dealt with firmly and immediately, and appropriately for each child.  And, all parents have somewhat different thresholds for when disrespect crosses a line and discipline is meted out.  In a disrespectful, contentious,  selfish age, it's easy for our kids to find poor examples to follow, and (let's face it) most kids don't NEED any help in pushing back against their parents, starting at about age 1 1/2 and going into adulthood.  I want to respect our kids' need to learn independence and teach them assertiveness without condoning pushy, bratty, snarky behavior that will only bring them trouble later in life.  I don't want to so miss the mark with our kids that they wind up in therapy complaining about me 25 years down the road.  (Well, it may be too late for that. . . .)  Anyhow, the search for wisdom and patience goes on.

Today I think I'd settle for a massage, and maybe a glass of wine.

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