Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tough parenting lesson

One of my friends had lunch with me the other day, and I had Maylin along. Maylin kept trying to talk to me, interrupting our conservation frequently. My friend pointed out that I shouldn't let her get away with that. I appreciated her comment and asked for some advice. I guess it's the same parenting advice I've read about in the past. Be consistent. Set boundaries. Follow through -- do what you say you'll do if certain unacceptable behaviors are demonstrated. I didn't think it was already time to be the tough parent. Maylin was just a baby yesterday. But, very recently, in the last few weeks or so, Maylin's proven that she is a vocal, strong-willed little girl who knows exactly what she wants. She's also so smart that she's been able to manipulate Mommy many times. How many times has she put off bedtime or bathtime with, "I'm hungry"? Or thrown a temper tantrum making me give in to her?

I never wanted to spoil her, but it turns out that I am -- in an effort to be the good Mommy. I give her my time and my attention, sacrificing my own sanity, at times. If I have the energy, it's fun -- I don't mind doing things with her all day. But when I'm tired or need to get things done, she's exhausting. She might not let me nap or let me work at the computer. She rarely lets me practice my singing..."no singing!" or "it's too loud." I can't play the piano either. My friend told me I need to tell Maylin when it's Mommy time. And if she doesn't give me my time, she has to go to her room.

John doesn't have this same problem. Maylin knows that when Daddy's working on the computer, Daddy won't give her any attention. She leaves him alone. It's hard for me to ignore her. If she wants something -- some fruit, me to play with her, I give it to her.

It'll be hard to learn how to be firm, but I've got to, for my sake and hers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah ... what fond memories ... the screaming, the kicking, the throwing of items. I'll just warn you that it will seem terribly hard at first, and you'll think you are horrible, mean, and very much hated. But the payoff comes very quickly, so decide on the boundaries, set them, and hang in there! You and Maylin will be the better off! And she really does love and adore you, no matter what you might think at times. Your friend in CA, whose been through it already ... Marianna