Although I remember apologizing to my Mom a lot while growing up, I’m sure that I didn’t voice my apologies as much as I should have.
I remember times when I wasn’t as respectful towards her as I should have been.
I’m sure that I had my share of tantrums (including teenage know-it-all episodes). In fact, I clearly remember telling my Mom that I knew everything that there was to know and that I wanted to move out of the house and live on my own. I was only 14. Ha! It’s no wonder my parents busted out laughing when they heard me say that. Their laughter only added to my frustration, however, and my feelings of anger (about who knows what) escalated.
Strong hormones are bound to accompany the teenage years and I’m not particularly looking forward to parenting during that phase.
Lizzie isn’t even close to entering her teenage years…and I swear that she is already a ball of hormones at times! This frightens me immensely. I can’t even imagine what she’ll be like eight years down the road!
Recently, Lizzie has exhibited a few pretty horrible tantrums. I’m talking full-blown kicking and screaming tantrums. It’s absolutely ridiculous. She is five years old!
There have been a few nights over the last few weeks that I really didn’t feel like putting her to bed. I just wanted to clean the kitchen and have the dishes over and done with as quickly as possible so that Jon and I could enjoy the evening together. Lizzie had a huge fit when she learned that Daddy was going to put her to bed and not me. Gigantic fit. She began screaming “NO!!” at the top of her lungs and started pounding the table like a mad woman. Seriously. Is it really that bad when Daddy puts her to bed?! He doesn’t serenade her with songs like I do (he merely sings a fast version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”), but it shouldn’t matter. Right?
For a few nights in a row, Jon has had to pick her up (while she is thrashing around and screaming), put her in her bed, leave the room and hold her bedroom door shut in an effort to prevent her from escaping. It is seriously ridiculous and I can hardly believe that our five-year-old is behaving in such a manner.
Jon and I have decided to initiate the “Even/Odd” bedtime again. Jon will put Lizzie to bed on the odd days and I’ll put her to bed on the even days. We started that routine a few years ago but it faded out because Jon was often gone during bedtime and I just ended up putting her to bed on most days.
Around the same time as these bedtime tantrums, Lizzie had a major tantrum in the car on the way home from school. Everything was fine as we walked to the car after school. She told me that she was hungry. I told her that she could have a snack (I had brought some crackers) when we arrived at the park. There is a park next to our city Library that the kids really enjoy and I had mentioned to them that we could go there after school if the weather was nice, which it was.
Anyway, Lizzie persistently told me that she was starving and that she wanted the crackers “NOW!”. I told her that she couldn’t have the crackers in the car because the crumbs would get everywhere and Daddy had just vacuumed the car. She kept whining and begging for those crackers. I finally warned her that if she didn’t stop whining about the crackers than we would not be going to the park. She didn’t stop. I told her that the park was out of the picture and that we were heading straight home.
By this time, I had already started driving. She started screaming “NO!” again and again and again. Seriously? Where did my sweet little Lizzie disappear to?! She slid down on her car seat until she was practically sitting on the floor of the van and her head was the only thing on her car seat. I was forced to pull over the van. After a bit of a struggle, I was able to buckle her safely back in her booster seat.
Needless to say, she spent a long time in her room when we returned home.
Later that afternoon, Lizzie approached me with the following simple note:
I suppose she finally felt a little guilty for her behavior.
Irregardless of that apology note, something needs to change. We need to eliminate these tantrums before they get worse! I don’t want any of my children turning into that spoiled rotten girl from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (you know, the one that gets thrown into the garbage dump).
I have been trying to be more strict with her. I have been trying to focus on and modify her minor behavioral problems before they get any worse.
Just this morning, Bryce told me that he wanted frozen waffles for breakfast and Lizzie informed me that she wanted frozen pancakes. So I prepared their requests and then put their respective plates in front of them at the kitchen table. Immediately, Lizzie pushed her plate away from her and demanded waffles.
Perhaps I was a bit hormonal this morning, but I lectured her like there was no tomorrow. I told her about all of the starving kids all over the world (and even down the street from us) who would do anything to eat the kinds of food that she is blessed with. I told her that she had absolutely no right to demand something else, particularly because I gave her exactly what she had originally asked for.
She told me that she wasn’t going to eat the pancakes.
I told her that she could go ahead and starve until lunch.
She told me that there is breakfast at school.
I told her that she needed money to buy breakfast at school and I wasn’t going to give her any. She had a perfectly good breakfast right in front of her nose.
She pushed the pancakes further away from her.
I told her that she had a choice. She could choose to eat the pancakes, or she could choose to not eat the pancakes. If she didn’t eat the pancakes, she would be hungry at school and it would be completely her own fault.
She stared me down.
Then she slowly pulled her plate back and very, very, very slowly put the first bite into her mouth.
Funny, but I guess those pancakes tasted pretty darn good after all because she ended up gobbling them all up.
While she was eating, I am proud to say that she actually thanked me for breakfast a few times and also apologized and told me that she loved me. She also told me that she loved me numerous times on the way to school.
The fact of the matter is that Lizzie is truly a good girl. She really is. She is simply attempting to discover various methods of manipulating her parents.
I’m just hoping that we can overcome this little hump successfully together…and that this isn’t simply a frightening foreshadow of her teenage years.