This “Nanny 911” experience with my daughter really shook my confidence as a mother. Should I hit my child *lovingly, of course* when she disobeyed or acted like a crazy loon? If I did, how could I tell her not to hit others? Could we handle this by ourselves or did we need professional help? A talk with some of the wise women in my life restored my confidence. After the initial shock, I knew that we could figure this out together and that whatever we did would be consistent with our family motto of "training a child in the way she SHOULD go,” not just punishing her for making the wrong choice.
I hunkered down to figure out how to solve the problem. Had something changed lately in our routine/life to cause this shift? I soon realized that this was not an overnight change. Here are some changes that precipitated her preschool craziness!
1.Arrival of a new baby nine months ago. I spent a lot of time saying, “Just a minute,” “Wait till I’m done with the baby”, and “Not now, I have to finish _____ first.” New babies definitely need immediate attention but my oldest was getting the short end of the stick.
2. Inconsistent sleep schedule
3. Not enough time out of the house doing physical activity. I was a full time pumper till just recently and dragging my pump, diaper bag, cold bag, baby car seat and hot little girls around in the super-steamy summer just seemed like too much some days.
4. She turned three. It’s a normal and healthy part of her growth to develop a strong idea of what she wants to do. When her idea doesn’t mesh with what we need to accomplish that day, we need to help her manage those inner urges of anger/frustration, express them in a positive way and move on.
Oops! I know how I feel when I’m exhausted and feeling neglected by my loved ones – SUPER GRUMPY! Why do I expect my daughter to manage her emotions perfectly – when she has fewer coping skills than I? Hmmm…Not sure how we got to this place but I think it might be the whole being “overwhelmed” by moving from one little handful of fun to two bundles of energy.
Next ... what we are changing to help our oldest cope with change better.