Sunday, 16 October 2011

Am I the Meanest Mother...Ever?

.....Mini seems to think so.

As you'll recall from my last post, Mini and her diva like behaviour (making me nickname her Mariah and/or Cher Lloyd depending on the mood at the time) has become such a concern even her teacher, Mrs C, has remarked upon it (and its effect on her education. Not to mention her classmates hearing).

It was decided, between Elder and I that action was needed to curb this, as frankly my head cannot take any more headache inducing screeching.

The very fact that Elder, her staunchest excuse-maker protector, agreed that she has gone too far says it all- usually, Mini and her try it on attitude has been the source of many disagreements between us. He feels that, at her age, kids will be kids and she's still learning. My attitude is that, whilst I agree that she is indeed learning, its now that the boundaries of what is acceptable are taught. So, whilst I ban sweets, telly privelages, and later nights (these being 6.30 rather than 6 on school nights and being allowed to watch Strictly on Saturdays), Elder finds these steps wholly unfair.

However, this Saturday, Mini surpassed herself.

She was due to go to her first ever children's birthday party. The little girl in her class invited her within days of her starting at the school. A gift had been bought, and I had picked out a frock which was somewhere between parties in my 80s/90s school days (think floral and flammable materials), and something a bit more funky and up to date.

All week, operation Brat-No-More had been go, with both us parents showing a united front and behaviour meaning no sweets (Wednesday night) and no Simpsons or sweets (Thursday). Friday she was semi OK, but admitted how tired she was and off she went to bed with little fuss.

Saturday came and I felt rotten- that cold is still here, steadily making its way around my person (I have sticky eyes now. One of the Mums at school thought I was crying but it was the wind stinging my eyes making them watery).

I definitely was not in the mood for a full scale, gale force Mini moan session.

Nor was I in the mood for her pinching and kicking her brother.

By the time she screamed in my ear, and kicked me in the shin, I had had enough.

"That is IT. You are NOT going to the PARTY. Go to your room, NOW!"

Suddenly, the noise stopped. She stood in front of me, about to scream, and realised that Mummy very definitely was not joking.

The fact that then Elder then agreed with me, repeating to her to go to her room, I think it left her a little shell shocked.

"You know, we can't let her go now, or she'll think she do what she likes and we'll give in". I felt now Elder would wuss out, and let her come downstairs after 5 minutes with a grinning apology her only acknowledgement of her poor behaviour.

Instead, he agreed with me again- it was a united front.

So, Mini did not go to the party. She was sure she could go, however, as 1pm came and went and she was still in her play clothes, and by 2pm when I had hung her dress back up in the wardrobe, she sat down, and asked for a hug.

I let her have a hug, and asked her if she knew why she hadn't been allowed to go. "Yes, she said, I was very very naughty, and you were cross with me". 

We had a good talk, and I told her that, should she behave like that again, she would not go to any parties, unless she behaved.

A rather subdued Mini went to bed last night, and she went straight off to sleep too. This morning, she has gotten up, had her breakfast and rather than moaning about what she wants for cereal, she dutifully ate what was given to her.

Her friend Oliver is here today with his Dad, and so far she has continued to be quiet and well behaved.

A victory. 

So why do I feel appalling?

I know full well that she will go to school tomorrow and will be the only one who couldn't go (of course her friends wont know it was because she was naughty, I told the child's Mum she was ill), and so wont be able to share in the excitement that continues after a party at that age.

I know I was right- her naughtiness has just got beyond a joke, but I do feel rotten. Mean even. I am also shocked at how much I sounded like my Mother when I told her she wasn't going. 

What d'you think? Mean Mummy or not?


  1. That's a hard call. But having said it, I think you were right to follow through calmly but also to move on and give her a hug without making a big deal later.
    Maybe you could invite the other little girl over to tea as a reward for good behaviour and do something nice for them together?

  2. Oh hell I hate it that being a parent sometimes means being a meanie too. But, I do think you were absolutely right. I work with kids & parents who have never seen a rule or boundary! Kids out of control & knackered parents. Lots of families breaking down cos of it. I applaud u for sticking to your punishment. It will have taught yr daughter a valuable lesson. I also think that u should set up a play date for yr daughter & the birthday girl but make sure she knows it's a reward for good behaviour & not cos u feel bad. You are a good mum so don't beat yourself up. Xxxx

  3. Well done you! I often threaten taking away pre-planned excursions such as parties when my one plays up, but I've always caved in and let her go which is very bad in the long run.

    I'm sure next time Mini feels the need to play up, all you have to do is remind her of the party and she'll immediately know you mean business!

    Good luck with it all and well done for sticking to your guns!

  4. It reached a point where punishment was your only option, and its good you saw it through.
    What is important now, is that you don't use punishment or threats of it as your method of behaviour management. Simple rewards for the most basic and minor examples of good behaviour initially will help. Even when she has spent say, 45 minutes being reasonably quiet.
    I have 3 sons and have worked with children (mainly challenging behaviour) for 15 years. Prevention is definitely the key, its all about getting to a stage where she automatically repeats desired behaviour.

  5. How did you behave when you were her age? Were you always a good girl with perfect behavious or you threw tatrums at your mum? How did you feel when your mum forbade you to do things you thought were just normal and perfectly acceptable? SHe is at the age when she is certainly developing her character and she is already clever enough to realise the power of manipulation. So the boundaries need to be set right, but without the screams and punishment as such, more through a discussion, a compromise. Did you have a session with her explaining the reasons why you are not allowing sweets and late night? By the way you can hope she will understand your emotions but she doens't have to, it would be nice if she did. The relationship between you and her doesn't depend just on you, it takes two, it takes effort, it takes putting yourself in her shoes but also for her to learn the discipline and to respect the fact that for now you are the boss and you are kind enough to offer her nice uobringing, support and treats but it's not a given (don't scare her that you won't do it again, at the end of the day you love her and that's why you are doing it). The key here is to make sure she undertands that whatever you are doing for her is because you love her and if you can justify it to her in her own words and get her to agree she would be more respectful and less naughty. DOn't forget thou..she is testing herself now, she is young and gaining life experience, so being naughty with parents is much better way to learn that do it out there in real life, so allow it to happen and then discuss with her what she had done, how it makes others feel and why it could be difficult for her in the future... You are a top mum!

  6. Whether it is right or wrong that's not my place to judge. Your child your rules babe.

    What I will say is well done for carrying through the punishment. That is the hardest part isn't it?

    I fold like a deck of cards!!! LOL

    You are doing the right thing IMO anyway. Got to set those boundaries for THEIR sakes

  7. Don't feel bad about this. You and elder did the correct thing in setting the level and then following through. So well done.

    Keep up the good work :)


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