So wise Mamas-how do you deal with that feeling of being backed into a corner and feeling like the only way out is with force? How do you keep being respectful to your children when they are being downright rude and difficult?
We had an incident at the park the other day where Tannah was being cross. She was cross with me, she was cross with her sisters and she seemed hell bent on making everyone cross with her. It culminated in her lying down and screaming at me when I told her I was not going for a second round of pushing on the swings (for a few valid reasons I'm not going into). I decided to pull the pin on the park because no one was having fun so I herded everyone to the car and started to get ready to go.
Tannah says "NO! I will NOT get in the car!" and proceeds to sit on the ground and make her cranky face at me. I am still keeping my cool at this stage and I ask her again. "NOOOOO! No no no! I'm staying here"
By this point I was tired and I'll admit it, I was pissed off. I felt like her behavior had backed me into a corner. The way she was treating everyone was not OK, tired and a few days after her birthday or not. If an adult had been speaking to me the way she had been then I'd of told them to piss off and gone home long ago.
I asked her to get in the car again. This time it was not a question. She stands defiantly. "NO! You are being the meanest mother EVER!" Well that was it for me. All that anger I had been controlling came welling up and I thought "Fuck you! I'll give you mean!" and then, it bubbled over.
"Get in the fucking car Tannah-NOW" Loudly, in front of all the people at the park who were already staring at the 6 year old being, for want of a better word, an asshole.
She says nothing but does not move.
"NOW!" I scream it. So loudly and I am seeing RED.I'm so MAD at her and my internal dialogue (thank god we are at the park so i just say things in my head and not out loud)is running and it's feels like a string of expletives.
She is startled by my yell. She looks at me like she can't believe I have spoken to her that way (I don't speak to her that way)her anger moves to upset and she gets in her seat. I've won. I scared her into getting in the car and she is crying. I've made a six year old cry by yelling at her. But the adrenalin is still pumping from all of the fight or flight hormones from the "backed into a corner" feeling. And before I can stop myself-
"No sleepover on Thursday. Tough luck"
The sleepover has been planned for weeks and she has been so excited about having 4 friends come to stay. The thing is I said this because I wanted to upset her. It is the emptiest threat in the history of empty threats-and we don't use punishments, rewards or threats at our place so it's completely left field. And it hits the mark.
"Mummy noooooo, I'm sorry. Pleeeaaseee" Sobbing now.
All of a sudden I feel like a piece of dirt. Regret. Knowledge that I handled it badly and bullied an overtired child into the car. Tannah's behavior was not OK but the way I handled it by screaming at her and making empty threats to scare her into submission was worse. I drove home without saying a word.
Later we talked, I apologized. She did too. We discussed behavior, hers and mine. There was cuddles and confirmation that the sleepover was going ahead.
How do you stop the volcano erupting?