The Most Epic Of All Of My “Truth Hurts” Moments In Parenting (So far?)

Brace yourselves. This is a doozy.

SO! Remember how I was patting myself on the back for staying calm when I’m angry with Wes, even when he’s losing his temper in epic fashion? Because THAT is the first rule of teaching your child anger management. REMAIN CALM. DO NOT YELL. And it’s REALLY hard, I discussed how it was SO HARD it was all I could focus on instead of any diffusing techniques. BUT I DID IT. AND I WAS SO PROUD. I STAYED CALM.

Well, Nikki’s only real current discipline issues is this sassy attitude she dishes out periodically. (I almost said “constantly” because some days that’s how it feels.) It is REALLY hard to stomach. It sounds TERRIBLE and it takes something so benign (like letting me know she’s in her room when I’m hollering for her) and turns it into something needing to warranting a punishment. Like…imagine the attitude someone would have to attach to their words if they yelling, “Jeezus Christ, woman! I’m in my effin’ room! Leave me the eff alone!” Take that attitude and tone you just imagined but change the script to the benign, “I’m in my room.” The attitude fills in the blanks from the first example and it makes my (and Donnie’s, it’s not just me, I promise) blood boil. BOIL. I do that think everyone’s parent has done at some time where I say, “No. No you did NOT just throw me that attitude. NO MA’AM.”

Last night she did just that and I was tired and I yelled at her. “Nikki! You can NOT throw me that kind of attitude. Do you HEAR how you sound? If you do NOT hear the attitude in the words you’re saying then we have big problems young lady. You speak to me with RESPECT. You wouldn’t talk to your teacher with that attitude!”

She cried. She apologized and we went about our night. When I was laying down with her later she said:

I hope this doesn’t make you angry…but…you know how you work so hard at being calm for Wesley? And that makes you a REALLY good Mom! I’m glad you do that! But you know how he gets so mean and angry and you stay calm? I feel like I don’t do anything near as bad but you raise your voice and yell at me all the time.

Ouch. Just let that sit there for a moment.

In that moment I was torn between running away because she was right and I was OFFICIALLY the worst Mom in the world – OR – celebrating that I raised a child who comprehends the world and her experience in such a way to notice the injustice and be brave enough to point it out. I WAS FEELING BOTH THINGS AT ONCE.

But mostly the first one.

I told her she was right and I would work on that. I explained why I did it, “I’m trying to teach Wes about anger management so I have to manage my own anger well and you don’t need that lesson.” And I promised her I would work on it.

JEEZUS, Y’all? She sure knew how to hit me RIGHT WHERE IT HURTS.

But also? That’s pretty damn amazing. It’s an amazing thing to notice, to recognize as unfair, and to confront. I’m truthfully glad she did because this can only make me a better Mom AND a better person. I’m going to continue to focus on the positive aspects of it and not the issue of how I’d been focusing my energy so much on not yelling at Wesley and never even tried to apply the same technique to his sister.

Parent, yo. It’s TOUGH. But also kind of amazing.

7 thoughts on “The Most Epic Of All Of My “Truth Hurts” Moments In Parenting (So far?)”

  1. Sweetie. Here is the amazing part about all of this. Your kid was able to talk to you, clearly tell you how she felt, and make you see it through her eyes. That fact right there proves you are actually doing a fantastic job. You seem to have great lines of communication with your kids, and they always know you love them.

  2. Yes! In the moment the “hurt” was strong, but every minute that past gave me a sense of pride that we could have that moment together. Both of us!

  3. Now you take that teachable moment and remind her of what it took to speak those words to you with honesty and respect. You can use her own voice & tone there to show her how words are received in a respectful tone and help her to think of that when she is starting to be sassy.

    I have a 7 year old daughter and we have had a lot of heart to heart talks about this lately. She seems to be getting it just a bit, as I’ve caught her a few times changing her tone so that we can have a discussion rather than an argument. Now I keep trying to bring up those moments (when she forgets at a later time) to show that we both felt good & got good results when we showed each other respect.

  4. Wow! She is such a wonderful, thoughtful young woman, who obviously feels loved and comfortable enough to talk to you about these things in a kind and articulate way. You raised her, so that means you are doing a damn fine job as a mom! xoxo

  5. The truest thing anyone ever told me about parenting is this: “No two children have the same mother.” As hard as you try, there just isn’t anyway you can mother them the same. They are two completely different souls, and as fair and equal as we try to be, it just isn’t possible.

  6. a few random thoughts- Since I have “grandchildren” (former neighbors that are 11 and 16), I get to hear attitude voices. They come with the territory. Next is eye rolls. Sometimes they know they are giving you attitude, but I have come to think they really don’t hear it . Most of their day to day communication with the world is through computer , iPad, or phone text. They don’t hear the nuanced voices. Also since N is the easier child , it is frustrating when she does give you attitude. All kids are different and your interaction with each child will be different.

  7. I am also impressed that she was smart enough to not try to tell you that in the heat of the moment, but that she waited until a calm time to bring it up. And that she could see things from your perspective a little, too. Such a wise kid (who has obviously learned a lot about effective communication from you)!

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