on the other hand…

On the parenting front, I’m struggling. I’m struggling almost as much as when she was two-and-a-half and I sought professional help. M’s behavior is horrid, just horrid. She demands and whines for treats and toys constantly. Overnight she has turned into a child you would think embodies the term “spoiled rotten”. Today I was asked twice by acquaintances (not my own friends or family) “Why don’t you beat her?” And several time I’ve been asked, “is she always like this?” I hardly know what to say… No, she’s not always like this. Usually my heart is bursting with pride when I take her anywhere, especially when we travel. I’m so used to bragging about how great she always is that this is such a shock to me.

I should be reassuring her, filling her cup, connecting with her more… But I’m becoming so disgusted with the constant demanding, the uncooperative stubbornness, and the frequent kicking and running away from me and even biting… It’s hard to even want to connect! It’s totally not helping that I’m having so much trouble liking my own kid right now. I never thought it was possible to feel so disconnected from her. Every little thing is a fight. When I do try to show her affection, she says she doesn’t want me and purposely turns away. A week ago she was a mama’s girl and told me she loved me twenty times a day. I’d fall asleep next to her completely enchanted with my little girl and our deep bond. The past week her behavior has changed so drastically, and my frustration has mounted so much, that I don’t even know how to repair this right now. I’m tired and hurt and embarrassed and disappointed. I’m worried, too, hoping this is just a temporary blip and somehow we will be ok again. I want to have a wonderful time like we have on all of our adventures, especially in this amazing place I love so much. I hate that I’m inconvenienced over timing while my daughter is obviously struggling. 

Someone give me some advice… How can I reconnect with her and bring back my happy, easy child? How can I fill her cup without completely emptying my own? How do I get over the humiliation of having a child who is having tantrums and inappropriate behavior in public, sometimes even hurting others? 

Advice welcome but I don’t want criticism for bringing her here. We’ve been on countless trips, including overseas, with no issues whatsoever so it’s not just the traveling.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

2 thoughts on “on the other hand…”

  1. What things helped before that the therapist had helped you with? What things help her calm down and feel at peace when she’s had a rough day? My first thought is her love for water and exploring nature. Can you get her someplace she can swim and explore? I totally understand the not liking your kid moments and not feeling like you can reconnect. Wallace was doing these behaviors a couple weeks ago. Just constant whining and demanding, hitting me, not listening. I know that you can do this and get through this. Maybe set up one part of your day that is just you and her and is predictable every day. One little ritual for connecting.

  2. My son is autistic so I have learned over the past 11 years to tune in and find the things he needs in the moment to help him cope and feel secure and safe. Many of the themes seem to work with all kids….actually many adults too.

    I’m guessing that it’s the change in her routine and life that’s unsettling her. Maybe she’s demanding more attention and affection because she’s not quite as comfortable as you are (of course!) with the way your regular lives have changed and she’s trying to get a sense of control over her life back. At home she had her grandma, her cousin, aunt, daycare etc that was her little world outside the one she shares with you. That is not there for her now and, even though she knows she is safe and loved with her mom by her side, not having that sense of belonging, comfort and control over the rest is unsettling to her. I’d suggest a lot of taking to her in private…talk about how she’s feeling, what she’s missing, and also what new things she’s experiencing that are fun and help her feel more secure. (She’s a very bright little girl so I bet she will understand and engage…self reflection is within her grasp, I think, where my son still struggles at 11 years old).

    Safety and control. Try setting things up to give her the sense that she is making her own choices and that nothing has changed except for her immediate surroundings. I think she’s got a soul like yours and that she will be able to see the big picture as she grows…that home can be wherever you are and that the things you love and miss do not vanish when you aren’t there.

    Keep up the great work though. You are a nurturing, loving and open minded mom and those traits will help her learn to feel safe in the world, just like you do. 🙂

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