Picture it: My little girl with pig tails in her hair, an eternal smile on her face, and playing happily with whatever toys that were at her disposal. It was a simpler time. A time before I apparently ruined her life by not EVER letting her do what she wants and ruining all of her plans.
She’s six y’all. six.
I have to be honest with you. When I envisioned raising my sweet Delilah Dawne, I always knew that one day the attitude would come. I just always imagined it to be around, i don’t know, twelve maybe? For sure not six years old! I mean, how did this happen? One day she is my princess and the next she’s a diva.
I guess I can find comfort in knowing that she could have a great career in acting since EVERYTHING is a drama.
For real though, I’ve had a hard time learning how to deal with the new found attitude and through talking to other moms I’ve found I’m not alone. So my dear mommy friends, this one is for you.
5 tips for dealing with attitude:
1. Don’t over engage: I’m not saying you should flat out ignore your child, but the truth is that much of this behavior is just looking for attention. And it makes total sense at her age actually! She went from an environment where she was the center of attention for the most part to being school age where she has to share that attention with a million other kids. But though it’s understandable, it’s still not acceptable. Don’t meet attitude with attitude. Don’t draw out the episode because you think it’s funny (we all do it). I am learning to let her have her moment and move on.
2. Talk it out: This may seem obvious, but sometimes we look at our kids and see them as our little babies when in reality, they’re little people growing into young adults. It’s up to us to help them understand their emotions and understand how to deal with situations in a healthy way. So if your child is old enough to throw attitude your way then they are old enough to have a real conversation about it. I’ve been really surprised at the depth of Delilah and I’s conversations lately.
3. Give them space: I’ve been using a lot of mom phrases lately. Especially “If you don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing at all.” The last time I said this she said, “I CAN’T HELP IT!” So I sent her to her room and told her that when she felt like she could control her temper and her words then she could come back out. Sometimes our kids need breathing room too. As parents, I’m sure we’ve all been there. There’s plenty of days where I think, “If I hear ‘Mom’ one more time I am not responsible for what happens next.” We forget that they have those days too.
4. Get on their level: I’ll admit, I’m not always great at this. Sometimes I feel like it’s my job to “show who’s boss” so to speak, and to an extent it is, but at the same time, I’m molding a future adult right now. It’s not a pissing war. I want her to understand that yes, I am her mom and her disciplinarian, but I’m also her confidant and sounding board. I don’t want her to feel too intimidated to come to me and really talk to me. So when I can tell she is struggling I make an effort to get on her level, look her in the eyes, and , meet her where she is.
5. Don’t forget that their feelings are valid too: Grownups aren’t the only ones with feelings, problems, and bad days. Our kids have them too. Don’t be so quick to dismiss them or to write off what they are going through. Sure, they don’t have jobs, bills, or adult responsibilities, but to them, what they’re going through is just as real. My daughter said to me the other day, “When you yell at me you make me feel like you think I’m stupid.” Ouch! Punch right to the gut. I was having one of those days and just was tired of the whining and complaining. I was only thinking about myself and my own problems and wasn’t thinking about what she was really feeling. Lesson learned.
Here’s the deal. We aren’t perfect. No parent ever will be. But we can do our best to be our best. Everyday that I have with my kids I want to have a positive impact in some way. That’s not to say they won’t get in trouble or have consequences, but I want them to really learn something from those times. If punishing them only makes them scared of me or more deceitful, what good does it do? I want it to be a lesson to them that will help them one day and make them a better person.
So here is to like 12 more years at least of tude. One day I’ll miss it I’m sure. Until then I’ll stumble my way through!