the importance of one on one time

J and I took this little one for dinner tonight, just the 3 of us. We had another bad morning this morning...well most mornings getting ready for school are not so great! this morning she really got to me, she talked to me like she literally hated me and with a lot of venom. It shocked me, I didn't like my reaction and for the rest of the day I was close to tears, feeling like a failure as a mom as I somehow am not connecting with this precious one.

She thought she was in trouble tonight and while we did talk sternly about getting ready ON TIME in the mornings and being respectful to me, we asked her some hard did something happen to make you so angry? you know the you can tell us if someone touched you questions, man those are not great thoughts. She said no and she would tell us if someone had and so we pressed in further to find out why she seems so angry all the time. She always has had a short fuse but lately it seems more than normal. She didn't really know why, gave lots of silly excuses and blame on her sisters but after we encouraged her a ton about how much we love her and how special she is to us and J left to go back to the job site :( she opened up a little to me about where some of her anger is coming from.

She said she hates this house. She said the smell is so bad and there are no friends with her to play with close by. She said she has a lot of bad dreams and she didn't really have that a lot up North. She misses her school up there and said the Principal of the school there was a lot friendlier than the one here and her friends were better there. She said her teacher is pushing her really hard and using the word responsible ALOT (not just to her but all the grade 3's) and she is upset cuz apparently her teacher said she will not be ready for grade 4 if she doesn't learn to be more responsible. I don't know, that is a BIT much for an 8 year old, a wee bit too much pressure if you ask me, even knowing the teachers heart I think H needs a bit more of a break.

I asked her why she is so angry at me all the time and she said because I give Foo all the attention and apparently that the other girls feel the same way. She said she wishes she was the baby. I said are you angry at Foo for being the baby? and she said yes and I asked if she is angry with me for having another baby after her? and she said yes. Then she said she also wishes she was the oldest like M, she said she wishes she was either the oldest or the youngest but hates being stuck in the middle. Not being a middle child I am not sure what that feels like but there certainly has been a lot of information on middle-child syndrome and how birth order affects the kids.

I told her to pray about it all and ask her Father why she was born where she was in the family and He would tell her. She has always been so quick to hear His voice and get pictures from Him, so I reminded her of that and told her she needs to bring these things to Him and let Him help her sort them out too.

I also told her we need to have a key word when she is crossing over the good happy mood to the angry frustrated mood, which happens faster than you can blink sometimes, and we came up with code red, which made her giggle. So we talked to the other girls that when she says code red that is their clue that she is getting frustrated and they need to walk away. I am not sure if this is all the best idea we have ever had or how it will work but I know we need to try something cuz mornings here are just NOT working. Hopefully this will work and will teach her the importance of communicating to others what she is feeling without the explosion of her feelings, if that makes any sense!!

The other girls were certainly jealous of the one on one dinner time and we said we would take 1 girl out once a month for dinner and they all seem happy with that and are now fighting over who gets to go next!!! cuz I guess in a family of all girls that's just what happens!!


Anonymous said…
The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson has so many good parenting tips. He talks about all the struggles you have just mentioned. REALLY worth reading!
Cheryl said…
After reading your post, I asked our middle child what she thought about that position...she is an adult now.

She said it was not as much about the parent/child relationship, but about the fact that the oldest and the youngest get along better and are listened to better than the middle child. Our oldest daughter gained the respect of our youngest while the youngest thought the middle child had no authority over him.

This may not be your case and being the baby of the family, I don't know what it is like to be in the middle.

Actually, I think you handled it rather well.

Andrea said…
I truly admire how you manage your girls. It must be so difficult with the different personalities!

Just from what I read here, I see that you make such an effort to give individual attention to all of them which is an amazing thing to do.

There will always be difficult times, but it all comes together again in the end! The move is a big change, but things will settle down again for all of you.
Cheri said…
What a great way to handle the situation. I'm a middle child, but the first born female. Growing up...I felt misunderstood. I highly recommend The Birth Order Book, but I wouldn't be surprised if you've already read it.
hollibobolli said…
I think it's great that you took the time to figure this out.. and I love that you have a code word. There aren't many parents who would have immediately gotten to the core of the problem. Excellent... and I love "code red!!!"
Shash said…
We make an effort to take each kid out on a date night, it's important to them that they get one on one time, where they're heard without distraction or other ears listening in...

I find too that child #3 gets left out and myself being that 3rd kid, I thought I was working hard not to let what happened to me - happen to him - but it does. It's so strange. I remember feeling forgotten.

It's something we are working through and making a priority, it's hard at times in our situation where some people don't deal well with us having our own family time and aren't there for them 24/7 365... this is getting better though too.

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