Friday, October 14, 2011

Ways in which I'm a strict mother - giving in

This post is dedicated to Claudia :) as promised
I'm doing my budgets (fun fun fun! - a topic for another post because of course I'm not serious) and deleting the millions of messages from my bank.
They send me a notification everytime something happens on my account.
I keep these texts and as I update my spreadsheet, I delete them from my phone.
South Africans - how do you deal with these notifications?
Anyway, I also found an old message which reminded me of something I wanted to blog about.
Incident 1
We went to that birthday party a few weeks ago and Connor saw this car in the sandbox.
A small, old car.
He was hooked on it - obviously - and when I said we need to go and to give the car back to Aunty Kirsten, he looked at me with terror and then Aunty K said, "it's okay, he can have it".
As we left (I'm strict but not stupid), I quickly distracted him and took the car, leaving it on her entrance table.
She sent me a text saying, "you really could have taken the car for Connor" and I said, "I know but he needs to learn that no is no".
Incident 2
Actually, same party!
Kendra had nibbled on two of those marshmallow in ice-cream cone sweets. I told her, "that's enough. no more".
She snuck away from me to get number 3.
I marched over to the kiddies table, removed the sweet from her hand and she started wailing.
One of the other mothers even said, "oh Mommy, it's a party".
I felt like saying, "can she come spend the evening with you then?" but I said, "she's already had two and that is enough".
Well, Kendra is a master of the dramatic and WAILED as if her heart was breaking.
I just walked back to the step I was sitting on and continued talking to whoever I was talking to.
Within about 10 seconds, she was done and had joined in the playing again.
Incident 3
The other day I was brave and took the kids to the mall by myself.
We walked into CNA (stationery shop) because I can never resist "just looking" and I purposefully walked up a "boring" aisle but somehow someone had left a lovely bright kiddies book in the midst of the boringness and Connor wanted this book.
I said to him, "no, we're not going to get the book" and he said very sweetly, "just looking" so after a bit of back and forth about how we're just looking and we're leaving the book, I handed it over (rookie mistake!) and carried on browsing.
5 minutes later I was done and said, "let's put the book back". He said, "no, Mummy, still looking" - very polite but still.
So I said, "Connor, we're leaving now, I'm not paying for the book (R84) and we need to put it back on the shelf".
I think I even added, "I really don't care if the other half of the shop also hears you scream" because of course, by this point, I'm getting the glares from other people.
here's the thing - I don't give one iota about what people think in situations like this - I will not give in.
And so I wheeled the two of them all the way from CNA through the mall past the parking, into the parking lot and into their car seats.
All the while Connor going WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH at the top of his voice.
Security guards, shoppers, other mothers were all looking but not one said a thing to me - maybe they could see I meant business?
My view is I pick my fights carefully but once I've decided, I will not give in.

Hmmm, for this one, I'm a 9 on the scale of 1 - 10.

Where are you?
PS My cell phone text inbox is finally clear - it really is a miracle!
PPS what else is there left to discuss around strictness???? :)


  1. I completely agree with you, Marcia!!! I'm all about "precedent" (in so many aspects). If you give in to the marshmallow treat, or the car, or the book...then you run the risk of things escalating quickly...or at least that seems like a risk in my mind.

    I'm all for "treats" and having fun...but in context. And I will not *reward* undesirable behavior (crying) with giving in!

    You *get* things when you're behaving nicely! NOT the other way around!

    I'll use distraction to get the girls' attention on something else (you can't have another marshmallow, but c'mon, let's go play with XX), so I'd say I'm not a 10 out of 10...maybe 8 or 9.

    Another great, thought-provoking post! :)

  2. Ugh.. This is were I am bad.I know I should not give in, but sometimes I am just to tired to care. I am working on getting better about picking my battles and not giving in, but my problem is that I seem to think EVERYTHING is a battle, then realize I was just grumpy, stressed, or overwelmed so I back down. Now my kids do know when I mean business that I will follow through. I would say I am a 5. But working towards being a 10 by picking battles more wisely and fighting those battles to the bitter end.

  3. You and I would parent VERY WELL together...I would have reacted the exact same way in all situations...I guess that makes me a 9 too! :)

    I alos pick my battles and i would like to think I pick the "right ones" is no! ;)

  4. I delete the smses but keep the email notifications.

    I would have reacted the same way in all but the first one - I probably would have let him take the toy - mainly because he no one else was actually playing with it. Had there been an issue over the toy I would have left it but my friends and I are often "swapping" toys!

    But having said that if I had my reasons for leaving it I would have stood by that!

    I have also wheeled screaming kids out of shops and restaurants.

  5. Does it make me more strict for punishing once the wailing starts? I can't handle it. If the wailing starts I explain they cannot behave like that and send them to time out to collect themselves. It's not a bad time out, but a pull yourself together time out. Either way, they're not fond but do quickly pull themselves out of it so we can have our talk and they can play.

    I can't stand being THAT mom with the wailing kids. Everyone falls for it. Sigh.

  6. I delete the sms's after I transferred it to my spreadsheet.

    DH was a manager of a supermarket group, so our kids were "expected" to be at their best behaviour. I would still smack and couldn't care a hoot what others thought.

    With my grand babies...well, lets just say they get everything they want;-)

  7. That is so completely awesome! I am a behavior therapist, and you are doing it right girl!

  8. Julia1:32 pm

    Goodness me, on a scale of 1 to 10 I am an 11. I don't give in. Period. And luckily I don't embarrass easily. To be honest, I don't have this issue with child 1. Child 2 has a degree in dramatics. HATE IT!
    I have also just deleted my texts because my phone was complaining. I usually transfer them onto a spreadsheet.

  9. And what is it with the stares when the kids scream and act up??? I think that's what annoys me the most. But I agree with you. And we raised our daughter the same way and she's 11 years old now and just great! So it works.

  10. I'm pretty strict too with things like you mentioned. Probably an 8 or 9. I feel it's important for my kids to behave, especially in public. I won't have them walking all over me.

    I do like MandyE and try distraction with the little ones though, to hopefully curb the screams. For the big kids though, psh. No is no, and attitude about it means punishment.

  11. Dangit, you do this on a weekend when I'm off the internet! Thanks so much for the dedication :)

    I am SO GLAD that I am not the only person whose childrne are screaming the roof off the supermarket. If only we lived in the same town!!!!


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