17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


My mom raised 4 children, whose ages spanned 11 years. 1 year she had a child in preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school. Imagine how much I loved my little sister tagging along during freshman-orientation in her "high shoes" (high-heeled plastic disney princess shoes).

I remember my mom telling me recently that she remembered rejoicing one day when she realized that her children were all at an age where tears did not happen every day.

I am longing for that day. Poopy's tears don't bother me so much. She is three and she gets over whatever she is sad about pretty quickly. It's Pukey that has been troubling me lately. She has been having very bad emotional breakdowns. They are usually started by her being "rushed" or when faced with having to stop watching cartoons to practice.

The crying jags turn into drama. She starts talking about all these injustices that have happened to her in the past 6 months or so: "All my friends at school are mean to me, you are hard on me during practice, I want to go on vacation, I miss my best friend in California...." My DH and I call it monologuing. She just talks herself into a full-out tirade.

Between the two of my girls, emotions and craziness seems to be running out of control. I finally picked up a few self-help-parenting books off my bookshelf yesterday. Both books I had been reading earlier, and so I just picked up where I left off.

The first one I picked up was Helping Parents Practice by Edmund Sprunger, and this was the first paragraph:

"When children respond in these kinds of ways, deep down, they're not testing limits to upset us; they're testing the limits to see if we're really reliable and dependable. They want to know if they can trust what we say. They don't necessarily want the limit to change. It's a bit like when you close your front door, then turn the knob to check to see if it's truly locked. You're not wanting to open the door. But knowing that the door is secured, you feel safer. In the same way, children don't really want their partents to give in. They want to know that they're reliable."

Then I picked up the second one, The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson:

"When a child behaves in ways that are disrespectful or harmful to himself to others, his hidden purpose is often to verify the stability of the boundaries. This testing has much the same function as a policeman who turns doorknobs at places of business after dark. Though he tries to open doors, he hopes they are locked and secured. Likewise, a child who assaults the loving authority of his parents is greatly reassured when their leadership holds firm and confident."

So, I'm going...are my children acting out because they are searching for boundaries? Am I not giving them? I thought I was like totally a boundary-giving mom, but maybe I'm not...or is this a new SET of boundaries being established?

Help...someone who knows something. I am drowning in raising my non-babies.


  • Here's how it's gone for me:
    Tantrum Two's
    Unreasonable Three's
    Fabulous Four's
    Picky Five's
    Sassy Six's
    Storming Off Seven's

    and I haven't gotten to 8, yet.

    I have two daughters (one is 7 and one is 5) and they are both fans of the monologues.

    I don't think you have a problem with boundaries, kage. Girls are emotional, and they are working out their emotions in different ways. If you were having boundary problems, I don't think you would be talking about violin practice, less tv (your other post), and you probably wouldn't even be worried about this if you weren't a boundary person (these are compliments, btw). What those books say *might* be true, and *may* have something to do with it, but I think all they are saying is this: Be consistent.

    What do I do, though? On a good day? (because let's face it, I'm no pro at this, and I often get it wrong) I try to listen to what they are saying, apologize that they are sad, give a hug, and then stand firm in what I need them to do. In fact, last week, I had a stand-off with my 5 year old that lasted for 20 minutes in the car. Ooh...I should blog about that...but anyway...honestly?
    I think you're doin' just fine.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 8/12/2008 07:17:00 PM  

  • oops! it should say "probably wouldn't even be worried about this if you WERE a boundary person"
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 8/12/2008 07:18:00 PM  

  • Ed Sprunger is great!
    posted by Blogger Mrs. M at 8/12/2008 07:49:00 PM  

  • I think the fact that you are getting these reactions means that you ARE setting boundaries - not that you are lacking them. The girls are testing to see that the lines hold up, even under the "pressure" of their drama. You're doing just fine, just hold the line and keep on keepin' on.
    posted by Blogger marian at 8/13/2008 05:54:00 AM  

  • I would have to say that between the three girls in the house, emotions and craziness probably runs high in your house. You haven't had exactly the calmest first half of the year.

    Aside from that, I think you do have boundaries so don't worry about that. I think the thing we all battle with is being consistent - especially on those really tired days. Hang in there!

    And tell Pukey to keep saving her money to come to visit her CA friend!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/13/2008 09:54:00 AM  

  • I have no experience with girls, drama, or even kids who can talk, so I've got no advice for you. Sorry. I do have experience with drowning, however, and I'm sorry you're there right now! Hopefully things will get better soon.
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 8/13/2008 11:59:00 AM  

  • Hang in there and stick to your guns. Even if it just seems like you're repeating the same stuff over and over (which is how I feel some days) stay consistent - that's all you have to do right now. Repetition.

    You're doing great. Go drink a Coke...:)
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 8/13/2008 12:43:00 PM  

  • tftcarrie, seriously when there are particularly emotionally volatile times, between the three of us, I sometimes say: "this is just US, this is how we work...it's OK...we ARE crazy and this is just part of it." So, I do allow a fair amount of slack for that, because I don't believe that wll ever change in our dynamic.

    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/13/2008 04:38:00 PM  

  • Usually the only parenting advice I really ever give is this: redirection, redirection, redirection.

    Sometimes it works.
    posted by Blogger Susan M at 8/16/2008 09:46:00 AM  

  • cheryl, YES....SASSY SIX's...what's UP with that?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/17/2008 04:48:00 PM  

  • Cheryl and Kage, I"ve got a SASSY FIVE - what does that mean??? Is six going to be worse and please say no...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 8/17/2008 04:58:00 PM  

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