Monday, June 09, 2008


This whole looking back at how I was raised thing that occured when I went through my baby boxes has opened my eyes this weekend to why I sometimes struggle so much with little giggle.

This weekend is a perfect case in point...As many times as she is adorable she is liable to throw a fit. These fits are because she has to help with chores.

Its so foreign to anything I have ever experienced to have a child throw a temper tantrum for having to help. Its not like we're asking her to clean the entire bathroom...just put the towels in the linen closet or while the rest of us weeded for an hour all she had to do was put the pulled weeds in the bucket and you'd have thought that the end of the world had come for her.

And its not like we're sitting around eating bonbons and watching a movie while forcing little Cinderella to work...we give her the "easy" job so we don't have to listen to the complaining as much or as long. She's often done long before anyone else is done with their chores.

This weekend...when given a choice of helping and being part of the "team" or doing her own thing she readily threw down her gardening tools and headed out because, "I don't want to do this so I don't have to."

WOW. I'm trying to remember what would have happened to me when I was kid if I tried to pull that little trick.

I had to take time out this weekend to think about this because it was really making me crazy. I have a general problem with parents letting their kids make up excuses for anything and everything or even worse, telling them its someone else's fault that they didn't succeed...I've never seen the benefit of letting a kid think they are the cat's meow or that the world should cater to them without them actually trying and failing a few times... Why is it so bad to fail? Or lose? Sure it doesn't make you feel great, but its not going to kill you either...puts life into perspective a little bit.

Now, this mindset that "if you don't want to do it you don't have to because you deserve to only have to do what you want" just drives me crazy.

It makes sense....talking about Miss giggle in particular...this is why she has been expelled from her 4th preschool in as many years...if she doesn't want to do it she doesn't. Period. She'd rather throw a fit, throw paint, kick the teacher and punch out other kids than have to sit at the table. And her understanding of why the school won't let her back in..."My teacher is mean to me so we had to go to a school with nicer teachers."

Uh. What? I suppose that at this point I can't blame a 6-year old. She isn't help responsible for her behavior. She is being told that someone else "forced" her to behave that way. So I suppose I blame the parents?, I'm one of the "parents." In Mr. C and my defense I suppose I can say that every other weekend doesn't allow us to exactly make a huge impact on the way this little girl is raised. So what I'd really love to do is point a big huge finger at Cruella and say..."YOU DID THIS."

But then again...Chortle is 8 and was a rock star. He was helpful and didn't complain and worked hard and gets a huge reward for it...a trip to ChuckECheese with his dad to spend some "guy time."

And yours truly gets to stay home with the other one to watch the fit because she doesn't get to, is it really Cruella or is it just LG's personality?

All I know is that its a no win situation...What is a step-parent or non-custodial parent supposed to do? If she lived here full time she would learn quickly that those types of fits get you nowhere but in your room...being helpful gets a reward...being snotty and selfish gets you nowhere....

So maybe I blame the court system? The court system is biased against fathers. I don't just believe that...I KNOW that. People wonder why dad's disappear out of their kids lives...I'll tell you why...ex-wives make life miserable. They do everything in their power to make sure that the time spent with their father is a nothing but drama and headache...aside from the antics they themselves decide to force on you like phone calls and emails and drama galore they breed their children to behave expecially poorly when at their dad's house and tell them they don't have to obey or listen or anything else because he's not "custodial." How does a 6 year old know that word? All I see is a 6-year old mini-me of Cruella being bred and I just stand back and watch...Its not my job, my opportunity or in my ability to make it stop. There is truly NOTHING I can do. (That was a hard lesson for me this weekend.)

And so every other weekend, which is quickly coming to twice a year or so, we have this selfish little thing that doesn't see any reason to be helpful or loving or kind unless its to her benefit. Who kicks and screams and cries because she has to help around the house or make her bed or clear the dinner table. Who tells us that her job is NOT to help, but to watch TV. Thats why they have housecleaner ladies and gardners. I can't believe the life of luxury is expected at age 6...I really can't. and what are we supposed to do? Spend the whole weekend snarling and grumpy? As it is Mr. C only gets 5 days a month with these kids...why does he want to spend it disciplining and trying to teach manners?

So, I suppose at this point I'm throwing up my hands and saying I don't know what to do. There are basic rules of this house that we expect to be obeyed. No hitting or kicking. No lying. No throwing toys or books when angry, etc. Maybe I expect those things and only those thing? Just give up on any of the other stuff and decide to be a "Disney parent?"

This is not a new trial. I 'm sure many full time parents say the same type of things....I'm sure many stepmoms or non-custodial parent's before me have lamented exactly what I'm lamenting. And so it goes....


LaDonnaMobile said...

Don't ask me; I'm raising my own kids full time and dealing with the same kinds of tantrums on a daily basis! When I was little, I got "the strap" if I dared speak to my parents that way, but nowadays I'd be sent to jail for child abuse, so am in constant search of a *verbal* solution to this problem. Isn't working so far . . . .

The best trick I have is saying, "If you whine about your assignmed chore, you get double chores." This worked on child #1, who now dutifully cleans, rather than face a second chore.

Child #2, on the other hand, whines and cries until we have assigned her more than 48 chores, which she knows are humanly impossible to carry out in a day's time, and so knows she can buy her self the luxury of whining and throwing fits without ever facing the full punishment. Argh!

The Hansen Family said...

Yikes. Maybe you should sing her, "We love you Maddie, oh yes we do! We don't love anyone, as much as you! If you don't help us, we'll poo on you...oh Maddie we love you!" and dance around her the whole time she watches TV.

You did that to me, and look how I turned out! Anything's possible!

(Or just get rid of the TV on the weekends...that could work too!:)