Chickie has always wanted to test boundaries. I think some kids are just born with that temperament. In a sense, I like it. I am glad she doesn't automatically accept everything she's told. In another sense...
She's in a particularly challenging phase right now, and one of the characteristics of this phase is that she's testing me. A lot. She seems determined to figure out if I really mean what I say.
I've realized that she needs a couple of things from me right now.
She needs positive attention. She needs to know how important she is to me. I see her negative cries for attention and realize she needs good, quality time with Mommy so that she feels more secure.
She also needs consistent, structured discipline. She needs proof that when Mommy and Daddy say something, they mean it. (Sometimes we have to reevaluate whether or not we're being reasonable, but in general, she really needs us to follow through.)
You know what's tough about this? It all takes time. Positive attention takes time. Discipline takes time. As much as I want to spend all day on the computer, or crocheting, or reading, the fact is that my daughter needs even more of my time than usual.
And I'll be honest with you--that can be hard for me! Sometimes I don't want to do things that six-year-olds find fun. Sometimes I don't want to follow-through on discipline. Sometimes I'd prefer to do something by myself instead of letting my eager six-year-old "help" me. Sometimes I don't want to be an unselfish parent.
And sometimes that selfish part of me wins. Sometimes it's okay (even necessary!) for Mommy to take time for herself! But I'm really trying to put in the hard work of being a parent during a hard phase.
Chickie's testing me. I really hope I pass!
I'm no expert but I think the fact that you've recognized her need for your attention and follow-through means you're at least well-prepared for the exam!
Beth, I feel ya. My five-almost-six year old is the same exact way and always has been. Sometimes I feel like, WHY does she test to make sure the rule still holds EVERY SINGLE TIME, instead of learning the lesson already! Like you said, Aaaargh! And I think you are spot on about the needing positive attention and continued consistent discipline. And you are right, again, when you say that it is hard to do that. It really does get exhausting sometimes. I know for my girl, the un-structured-ness of summer also throws her off. She does much better with a consistent schedule that includes school and a lot of socializing with other kids. I've tried to add some structure to the days when we don't have plans, by making summer charts including chores, "school time," t.v. time, etc. I think it helps some, although we still have some discipline issues even then. This is all to say, I can relate! Work on the things you think will really help, but cut yourself some slack too when you have a rough day. You're doing a great job!
"Chickie's testing me. I really hope I pass!"
You are and you will ... even if sometimes it feels as though the "test results" are a lllooonnnggg time in coming.
Such good parenting instincts. It makes me think that you were very well parented yourself. I know your parents must be very proud of you. :)
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