Scary stories from a lovely place


At the moment as we’re visiting Ireland I’ve felt a renewed pressure to appear to be a good mother. I am, after all, living with my in-laws and they have the opportunity to see firsthand the blossoming characters of my children as well as my particular ways of relating to them. I’m lucky – my in-laws are great, and so the pressure is from within.

Over the last 6 months Silas and I have brokered a good relationship of give and take, negotiation, sharing and obedience. Communication is indeed a wonderful thing. But at the moment, things feel like they have degenerated. Oh man. I am just repeating myself and repeating myself. I’m trying to negotiate, speak calmly, say please. But none of it is working. I’m talking to myself. It’s dull and annoying.

Besides wanting to be strong on communication and connection Stephen and I don’t have a brand for what sort of parenting we’re doing. We’ve talked a lot about the different methods and I’ve done a lot of reading of books, blogs and websites. Most of them are unhelpful and annoying. We know what we don’t want to do. But we aren’t sure that what we do want to do is working. And there’s a lot of pressure – they’re the architects and politicians, husbands and fathers of tomorrow.

Frustratingly though, it all seems to be a bit random anyway. Is it nuture or is it nature? Even if we pick a good way and do our best, maybe they’ll turn out rotten anyway?

Our methods are on the gentler, child-led side of things. I read a lot of blogs written by mothers who think similarly and a common complaint they receive is that such methods turn children into selfish, irresponsible adults and are the reason the world is in ‘such a state’.

A few times when I’ve been really frustrated I’ve tried to be stricter. For example when Oisín was a baby Silas liked biting his toes. Once he bit Oisín’s little toe almost off. Seriously, the dint was deep and the crying was intense. I felt like I had to do something, talking wasn’t going to cut it. So I smacked him on the arm. No response. The next time he went near Oisín’s toe I told Silas it was wrong and he stood in front of me, put out his arm and smacked himself. A look of mocking glowed from his eyes. So I figured the smacking thing wasn’t going to work for us.

I know that when we get home to Australia and life gets back to normal we will be able to get back into our rhythms of life and my relationship with the kids will sort itself out. In the meantime, even though I am frustrated to my core, they are lovely. Each day I still have a moment or two where I sharply draw my breath as I realise that these children are mine, I made them and that I get to look after them. And they are funny and interesting and lovely.


4 comments on “Undisciplinable

  1. Beth Evans
    September 18, 2012

    Yes. Its tricky. I think I was a bit random in my approach. As you say things will be different when you get home and return to your own little family unit. Different circumstances do undermine the status quo (even lovely grandparents). I think distraction is always worth trying-even when they are old enough to suss what you are doing- depending on the child they can realise it is a way out for them too! rather than an escalation of hostilities. Less successful with little power hungry dictators. Still even with them it doesn’t help to push them into a corner where someone has to back down and its not going to be them! With hurting (deliberate) eg biting we had a policy at Preschool that you give the attention to the victim and basically ignore the aggressor ie by punishing the perpetrator they are getting some attention. …… used to bite new baby ……..’s tiny fingers! which horrified me! Squabbling is really frustrating. I used to watch and hold off until I felt I had to intervene. Finding a balance is important. I didn’t really agree with “let them sort it out”. To me that encourages bullys etc but then everyone does need to have strategies cos the school playground is a big place and mum or the teacher can’t control things. I used to smack and I used to yell sometimes. I felt very frustrated that I was forced to yell to get their cooperation after lots of explanatory talk did nothing. You’ll be right KIm. I think its great that you take them outside so much. Todays trend seems to be to expect them to be little adults and to sit up at the cafe! Rather have a coffee or picnic at the park in my book.

    • kimlovesjozi
      September 18, 2012

      Oh Beth I would love to go to a cafe. But they go crazy, they last about 1 minute sitting still. I even find those play cafes stressful. \

      I like your advice. Your dual experience as mother/child care worker is a great insight. I like what you say about ‘letting them sort it out’. That’s often my tactic at playgroup and stuff, mainly because I don’t know how to intervene when it’s with other people’s kids (unless I know the adults well). Some other parents can be so sensitive.

      I’ve read that distraction can be bad because it’s avoiding explaining the real issue to the kid. But in the moment sometimes that’s hard and getting the kids separated is priority.

      I like what you say too about caring for the victim. I try and do that. Separation is key when my kids are hurting each other. And there’s always an underlying reason for mistreatment of each other – boredom, hunger etc. They rarely hurt each other out of malice. Even the toe biting was Silas exploring his brother I think (not that that makes it okay)!

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2012 by in Family, Kids and tagged , .
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