Here’s the thing, understanding is not the same as accepting.
You need to bear with me for this post.
My little Princess likes to get what she wants (who doesn’t?!) and she wanted to go swimming today. There was whining and shouting and hitting and tears and it was really exhausting to help her to regain calm.
I eventually settled her next to me, turned the television on and she was content with Scooby Doo. All was well again until I had to make a few calls.
I was on the phone with our solicitor and she was ok but when I started my second call the volume was turned up and she grabbed the phone from my hand. I didn’t know what to do- the estate agent was on the line and I really didn’t want L to scream in his ear!
I stayed calm, looked straight at her and I spoke quietly telling her that I needed the phone and that she had to give it back. It was so tempting to threaten her with a punishment. I could understand why some parents would want to spank their kids but that is not an acceptable option and actually serves to suppress emotional responses and build resentment.
I repeated what I said and then I waited. It seemed like a long time but it was probably 45 seconds before she tossed it onto the bed.
Relief! I got the phone back and continued my call thinking it was finished. No such luck.
The volume was turned up fully and I couldn’t hear the person on the phone so I switched the television off. Then she hit me with the remote control. That stopped when it didn’t get a reaction.
I continued with the calls that had to be made and hoped she would settle down but she started shouting (luckily I was talking to B at that point so it was not as embarrassing as it could have been!). I ignored the shouting for the most part so my little Princess stormed out of the room and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally it’s over, right?
It was not over.
She was beside herself! She had not intended to hurt me.
She just wanted me to stop talking on the phone and was distraught that she had caused injury.
Don’t get the wrong idea, she is definitely not a prima donna and usually is very sweet but she needs to practice self control when she feels big emotions and that is a skill to be learned.
So what happens now?
As difficult as the experience was it is just one example of living with a seven year old and the best consequence was seeing the impact of her actions and how much I was hurt.
The Kids are fully aware of my physical limitations and sometimes take advantage of this when they are upset but this is something we are all trying to figure out. Together.
Lots of people are going to think that I should have delayed my phone calls and given her my attention. She didn’t want my attention, she wanted to watch Scooby Doo in complete silence.
Lots of others are likely going to think she should be punished because her behaviour was so unacceptable. I agree that her behaviour was unacceptable.