Today was tough.
I have a stubborn, independent, smart, willful, creative, determined, high-energy, still stubborn child. She prefers to get her own way with everything.
Most often my requests to her to do or stop doing something are met with abject refusals, which leads to a battle of wills. I am learning to disengage from the battle and de-escalate the situation.
Stopping the battle does not mean that my original request gets done. It just means she gets her way and I feel irritated and everyone in the vicinity is left feeling tense.
We are getting help, talking to a counsellor to help us figure out how to channel some of the energy my daughter has into more constructive responses and activities. We are making progress. Today our appointment was partially about getting someone else – the counsellor to get agreement from our kid to listen to us, her parents on a few key points of contention. We’ll see how the bargains struck today pan out.
It is exhausting to constantly be preparing for eruptions and arguments.
It is exhausting being irritated as a result of more than half of your interactions with your own kid.
She puts my partner and I through our paces as parents. She makes us work for results.
Some days she makes me feel broken and defeated.
Today was close to one of those days.
She doesn’t like to show up late for school because she doesn’t want other kids to look at her and wonder why she is late. Whenever we have an appointment like today or any other reason that makes her late she fights going to school. She really clings and cries, she argues and refuses and stomps and pouts.
Today this was my one victory that redeemed the day.
The two of us talked in the hallway outside our counsellor’s office for 15 minutes before she would agree to come to the elevators to leave the building. We made it to the lobby for the next phase of refusal. We spent another 20 minutes there discussing school and work and why we each needed to do our things. Lots of cajoling on my part was met by resistance on her part.
Eventually she agreed to leave the building and get into the van so we could go to school.
We listened to Great Big Sea en route to the school and she willingly got out of the van and let me walk her into the school without fighting.
I was pretty wiped out and worn down by the time I got back to the van and headed to work.
We finished out the day with another round of negotiations about getting into bed. Our bedtime routine works very well most days, today was an exception and left me feeling frustrated and tired out.
A challenging day all around – with one parenting success – so I’ll take it. Not a total defeat.