Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moon on a stick

I am struggling with a new phase in my oldest child’s development; the fact that she never seems to be happy with what she has got.

I don’t want to make her feel bad for having all that she has, but I do want her to at least recognise when she is onto a good thing, which seems to be impossible.

We do a lot of “random rewards” where I dish out lollies or extra stories or treats and extra playtime for either no reason, or for a reason that I haven’t told the kids about before (i.e. not bribing them).  The main one is bedtime stories, the girls get 1 story each, but if I feel generous they get an extra one after they have brushed their teeth.

They don’t always get it and when they do it’s not always for the same reason.  I always tell them that after that third story they will go to bed and no whinging please, but Mapera ALWAYS asks for ANOTHER story, and has a mini-meltdown when I ALWAYS say no.

She also complains bitterly whenever she thinks she is getting a raw deal, no matter how much notice I give her, or how many warnings that things might not go the way she wants.  The minute it doesn’t go her way, the whining starts

“It’s not fair”
“I never get to jump on the trampoline”
“I never get presents”
“I always have to tidy my room”
“Why do I always have to brush my teeth”
“I want to go to the $2 shop, we NEVER get anything from the $2 shop”

I have tried pointing out their room full of toys, I have removed said toys and left them with nothing til they earned it back, I have thrown stuff away and shut them outside in the rain, but still the whinging comes.

I really don’t want to be a “think of the starving children in Africa” sort of parent, but I really would like my kid to just once go “wow, thanks Mum, we’re really lucky aren’t we?” instead of “Muuuuuuuum, I just want ONE more”

Maybe I should just try it myself, see if it actually works on other people
“Tareka, I know I’ve got 10 pairs of shoes, but I REALLY NEED a blue pair…and a bag to match…and a new pair of jeans….pleeeeeeease, I never have ANYTHING for meeeee”


Sarah said...

I've written three different paragraphs of suggestions and deleted them all. You are a more powerful mother than I, having raised more for longer, so I feel silly trying to help!

Louise said...

Hey Lou - we have a similar thing sometimes with James where he feels quite 'hard done by' quite a lot, which I suspect might have something to do with him being the oldest child and initally having it all, but then having to start to share with his sister. He woke up screaming and crying once after having had a 'nightmare', which the explaination for was "You gave Samantha a juice box, and THEN YOU DRUNK MINE!!!" Soooo hard done by!

Louise said...

Sarah - ALL advice is very gratefully received. Sometimes it takes a new perspective for me to see past the trees and notice how amazing the forest is.

Lou - hey, nice to hear I'm not the only one haha! Must be this age.