What I learned over the weekend

Guess what I learned this weekend? I learned how to deal with a cranky teenager. I always prided myself in disciplining the girls based on what works for their temperament. My degree is in Early Childhood Development. Not that I think that makes me a better parent than someone who doesn't have a degree in "babysitting" as my ex husband use to say. But I realized that not all kids are the same and sometimes a one size fits all approach to discipline doesn't work for everyone.

Example. Emmy wants to do what Emmy wants to do. Once when my ex told her to do something that she didn't want to do she said....can you just spank me so I can do it anyway. Ummm yeah so obviously spanking doesn't work with that kid. What does work is convincing her that your way is the right way. She listens to reason. But she is also prone to tantrums when she is tired and overwhelmed. When this happens the best thing for her is time by herself usually a power nap or thirty minutes of vegging out in front of the TV.

Abbey pre teenage years use to respond well to having stuff taken away, usually books or drawing material. As a teenager I am seeing she is prone to acting out towards her sister. This was driving me crazy and making Emmy miserable. Taking stuff away was no longer working.

My breaking point came when I saw her bump her sister into the wall. She tried to do it in a way that I wouldn't notice what she was doing. I lost it and screamed "stop hurting your sister" She screamed back. Which infuriated me that she would talk to me like that (yeah it isn't lost on me that I screamed first) I screamed again that she wouldn't talk to me like that and that her attitude stinks, and she isn't going to hurt her sister anymore.

Then I stepped back and realized she is having a melt down like her sister use to. She is stressed about something and crying out for attention. I told her I wanted to talk to her alone. She mumbled that she bets she is going to get yelled at some more. I locked the store so her sister wouldn't barge in and sat her down. I said, I understand anger, frustration, hurt, sadness all the negative feelings that you are going through.  I need her help though. I need help understand how to react to her feelings. I don't know how to help her and she has to help me figure that out. That obviously our screaming at each other isn't the answer, that it isn't working for anyone.

That's when she started crying and opened up about her feelings and how her sister is driving her insane. How she wants more hugs. We talked about how to get the feelings out without hurting anyone. She helped me see that what I see as bad behavior was her saying I need a time out from life for while and I need you to help me.

It was definitely a good talk and I felt like a bad mom for not realizing sooner that she was overwhelmed. I'm just glad I was able to look at the situation and figure it out when I did.


  1. Aw you're a wonderful mom, I think some parents would just keep screaming and then wonder why their kids hate them and don't respond. Not everyone is meant to be a parent, Abbey and Emmy are lucky to have you.

  2. Aw. I'm glad you guys were able to talk it out!


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