Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to Parent (as in, I need to know how to parent)

This parenting thing is proving to be a difficult adventure.  You have kids, you assume they are going to turn out just like you and all will be great.  They will look like you, think like you, act like you and behave like you.  And guess what?  You will be wrong. 

Then you go ahead and have 3 kids, which makes someone the middle child and BAM!  You have a recipe for disaster.

Enter child number 2.  AKA Princess. 

I love her so much, but man, that child is going to drive me to drink.  Or to an insane asylum.  Or both. 

I just don't know how to parent this kid.  At all.  At times she is wonderful and loving and just a joy to be around.  And then, at the drop of a hat, she's mad about something and will then cut off her nose to spite her face. 

She is stubborn.  Oh so stubborn.

For example, she will not brush her teeth.  I tried everything.  Bribery. Begging. Punishment.  Reward.  None of it works.  The latest was she wanted a guinea pig.  There was no way, no how I was having another pooping/eating animal to take care of.  So the answer was no.  Cue the cries of "it's not fair!", "I'll buy it with my own money", "I'll take care of it".  Over and over and over.

So I relent.  And tell her if she brushes her teeth twice a day for 30 days without fighting and does it right, she can buy a guinea pig.  So she keeps track and "brushes".  The last dentist appointment the hygienist scraped the most gross stuff off her teeth and explained all about the bacteria, showed her how to brush and really took the time to tell her what she was doing wrong and why it could hurt her. 

For most kids, this would work.  Not this one.

We went back for a cleaning 2 months early so I could make sure her teeth were staying clean and the hygienist could not believe the crap on her teeth in such a short time.  This was all with her "brushing" so she could earn the guinea pig. 

I am at my wits end here.  Seriously.  At 10 years old, I should not have to brush her teeth for her.  Right?  I shouldn't have to do that should I?  How the hell else does it get done?  And then she won't let me do it, so I have to hold her down.  WTF.  This is my life.

And then I'm mean.  And the worst mother. 

Don't even get me started on the state of her room.  There are only so many battles I can wage.  I have to pick and choose. 

So, internet psychologists, please advise.  At this point, I'm willing to take any suggestions from random strangers off the internet. 


Rachel said...

I'm not a parent so I haven't 'been there' but I definitely would not get her a guinea pig. If she can't take care of herself then she can't be trusted to take care of an animal.

I wish she could meet my sis in law...she has never taken care of her teeth and now has disgusting, oozing gums and she smells terrible all the time because of her diseased mouth. No one wants to be around her.

It sounds like a tough situation. Good luck!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Oh goodness, your daughter sounds as stubborn as mine! I think I am really in for it with her. If you learn any secrets I want to know!

Anonymous said...

Here is what works for us and it may not work for you.

Since children learn from natural consequnces...have a conversation up front and then don't force her to brush her teeth. Let her get a cavity. Make her PAY for the cavity. Is she doesn't have the money then she needs to pay you back with chores. Explain that "family" money does not need to pay for her lack of care of her teeth.

Harsh? Maybe. But she is then accountable for her actions.

We remind my 6 year old he will pay for any he gets. He brushes 2x a day.

Like I said - it works for us- may not work for