I Think I May Have Made a Mistake

I don’t take confession lightly.  Sure,  I can tell you about my psychosis, I can describe to you what I sometimes think about the Cheerios that I leave littering the floor in my wake (Hansel and Grettel have nothing on me) but to expose actual problems, actual mistakes that I may (or may not) have made, that’s hard.

That being said I have to think that I’ve done something wrong with the Princess.

Where did she learn this?  What have I done that makes her think she can treat me, talk to me, this way?  She did not learn it by watching her parents.  Sean and I have had our problems, make no mistake about that, but she has NEVER heard him talk to me like that.  He hasn’t ever done so.  And I’ve never talked to him like that.  But the Princess, she started in on the “I hate you”s at the age of four.

These days I don’t get a lot of hate but the voice, the dripping sarcasm (ok she may have learned that from me) the jumping down my throat, the completely unconcealed contempt for no reason, where did she learn that?

I have a cousin, a woman who I love and respect beyond reason, a woman who’s raised four daughters of her own (and what would I give to have my daughter turn out like hers?!)  who declares that she would never put up with that kind of behavior.

But what do I do about it?

I asked her once.  I didn’t really get an answer.

I got, “my girls never did that, they knew they wouldn’t get away with it.”

Get away with it?  What does that mean?  Does the fact that the Princess is still alive mean that she got away with it?  It’s not like there’s been no punishment, she’s in her room, what more can I do?  Bamboo under the her fingernails?

And how did they never get to that point?  Did I do something in the past that made her think she could push this much farther?

I try to speak to my kids respectfully.  I don’t do very well at it (again with the confessions) but I try.  I know I speak to others respectfully I’m too non confrontational to do anything else. I even save the sarcasm for people I’m close to.

But the Princess, she’s only 8.  She’s not even a teen yet!  All I asked was for her to write the word “music” 5 times, how hard is that?!

Obviously, I’ve done something wrong.  And nothing I’m doing is working, so I look to you, bloggermoms.

Help me!


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kateastrophe
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 01:38:32

    So um, I’m not going to be much help in the advice department because I don’t have my own kiddos yet, however, I can tell you that I WAS that girl. The young child mouthing off to her mother . . . hating everyone, ripping people to shreds with my sarcasm . . . I don’t blame my parents (or specifically my Mom since she was a single mother) but I CAN tell you I grew out of it 🙂 Sort of. HAHA. I was always strong willed, feisty and mouthy. I probably always will be a little bit that way. I think I was born that way. I also think I had a strong, educated, independent, wonderful mother who didn’t let anyone mess with her. I may have picked up some of those GOOD traits a little too early and used them in the wrong way.

    Babbling aside, I don’t think you did a thing wrong. I think you are raising and independent young woman who will do wonderful things. She’ll just be a little feisty first 🙂

    Just my humble opinion 🙂

  2. s'mee
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 08:35:41

    Swing a cat and find a mom who has been through this! Something hit me with fluffy one day and I couldn’t take it anymore. Do not despair, you are not alone!

    It’s not the most exciting read, and it’s tough, but it worked for me when I was alone with five kids. It’s my own “plan”, *I* think inspired, and it worked. If you want it:


    My kids ARE NOT perfect, however they were very obedient and happy(!), and (absolutely) did not talk back to me or their siblings -even into their teens (what they thought was probably altogether different!). After grade school we actually had very few rules. I hope it helps. There is an e-mail on the website if you have questions. It’s just a mom to mom thing, no money or such.

  3. madhousewife
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 11:00:10

    “my girls never did that, they knew they wouldn’t get away with it.”

    Two words: B. S. Okay, more like two letters, but seriously: Load. Of. Crap. I’m sure her girls never did that, but the reason is that they weren’t inclined, not that they knew they wouldn’t get away with it. No offense to your cousin, who is probably a great mom, but even great moms can chalk some things up to luck.

    I doubt very much you’ve done anything “wrong” with her. This is just part of her personality (the less attractive part). That doesn’t mean you should tolerate it, of course, but you’re not, are you? And she’s still doing it because that’s what she does. My best friend has 5 kids (all older than mine), and her advice for this difficult age is “let them live, and you’ll get through it.” When she says “let them live,” she doesn’t mean “let them live however they please,” but “let them (literally) live.” You keep your cool and stay consistent, and don’t personalize it. You’ll both get through it.

    Yes, I am saying this to myself as much as to you. 🙂

  4. bythelbs
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 13:12:51

    I have one of these special deluxe model girls. I’m with Mad—she’s inclined to be this way. I’m not sure how you go about disinclining her. Mine is always better behaved when I pay more attention to her, which isn’t my natural inclination given her natural inclinations.

    Good luck!

  5. Melanie J
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 13:14:05

    This is why I won’t have girls. My husband said with my last pregnancy, “But what if you do? I explained that his sister has three boys and would probably trade one for a girl. I bet I’m right.

    I wish I had advice to give you, but I weathered the “I hate yous” with my son only because they were homework related and therefore, seasonal. It’s taken until third grade to figure out a system that works but we don’t have “I hate yous” any more and no one’s killed anyone yet.

    But I empathize. I really do.

  6. tausha
    Aug 09, 2008 @ 17:16:44

    I have one of those 8 year olds. She does the same thing that yours is doing. My hubby is gone and has been since tuesday and wont be back till sunday night. I do much better when I have a little help!
    I am definately going to go and check out the website that your friend with really good kids recommended. I love my kids. I really really do. I am a little sick of them right now.
    Maybe it’s because I have been a single mom for about 5 days. Lets just say I have a lot of respect for single moms! They rock!
    I haven’t found anything that works. I am about at the end of my rope. My 6 year old is not far away on the drivng me crazy list. In fact, she is in the lead at this moment.
    Thanks for allowing me the veniting session. Please, make sure you keep me updated on how things are going on your house and what is and isn’t working.
    I will do the same for you!
    i am thinking that i am going to break into the m&m’s right about now. Wish you were closer, I would so share!

  7. suburbancorrespondent
    Aug 11, 2008 @ 21:34:38

    Dr. Ray Guarendi. Here, I’ll make it easier for you:

    Click here now to visit Dr. Ray.

    He has adopted 10 children, many with behavioral labels. He knows what he is talking about. I love him. You did not do anything wrong to make your daughter start getting mouthy. All kids will try that from time to time. That “modeling proper behavior” crap is just that – crap. I used to think that would work, too. So I ended up with a 6 and a 4 year old that I was very polite to, but they weren’t polite to me! Because I never made them be polite!

    Don’t worry – Dr. Ray has lots of good ideas on how to…um…convince your child that it is in her best interest to speak respectfully to her mommy. Buy his books. Get his DVD. They are worth every penny. If he is coming to your area, go hear him speak – he is like a stand-up comic.

    Hang tough! You are the mom!

  8. Lisa M
    Aug 12, 2008 @ 09:42:01

    Smee is fantastic, I would take a look at her site, she has a lot lot lotta wisdom wrapped in her tiny short body!

    When I have found myself at these crossroads, which I admit have been a long time ago, (my youngest daughter is 17), I think I used words too big for them to understand, or really comprehend when I would discuss the situation with them. Once I modified that, it got better.

    Good Luck with this, its not the easiest situation, but you will find, it will come…

    Then they are teens and gone, and you will take these days back in a heartbeat.

    It’s a wonderful ride… this parenthood thing.

  9. Natalie
    Aug 13, 2008 @ 12:48:21

    Okay, you don’t know me, but I was bloghopping and happily stumbled upon your blog. Very entertaining. I can so relate. My 4 kids have ALL done the “I hate you” backtalk-y thing at times. My oldest started when he was TWO. I’d say pick up your toys please and he would scream, “No! I hate you!” It shocked me at first. Then, I learned to simply say, “That’s too bad. I love you. Now pick up your toys.” I don’t think that’s necessarily a solution or anything, but at least for us, it seemed like he lost interest and quit doing that once he realized it didn’t get to me. Some kids just really like a good battle and back off once they realize they’re not going to get the fight they were hoping for.

  10. angela michelle
    Aug 19, 2008 @ 22:35:26

    I think it’s a lot harder these days just because society overall speaks more disrespectfully and so many things give our kids the message that they don’t have to respec their elders. Plus all the parenting advice you read tells you to just ignore kids’ backtalk like background noise. We read a book about eliminating backtalk (can’t remember the title!) that says you should have a zero tolerance backtalk policy. If the child backtalks once, you become unwilling to whatever for them you were going to do that day (read the bedtime story, drive them to a friend’s house, whatever). We found that so liberating and empowering–that we didn’t have to put up with backtalk. Oh, also the book defines backtalk as anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or unhappy. So we include groaning and heavy sighs. Although, I also like Natalie’s advice, especially for little kids who just need to learn where the limits are.

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