The Tween Years | Fighting the Good Fight – but still losing
So today whilst Nixon was throwing an almighty tantrum because I wouldn’t let him pick up the dog shit with me (I really am doing this parenting thing all wrong aren’t I?), and I was ruminating on how I was going to create a calm, non-combative environment for the after school session with Ethan (yeah right!), I was reminded of a fellow blogger’s description of the post-primary school years of parenting. Simone who writes at Great Fun Etc wrote an awesome post titled, “Parenting at the Pointy End” which I’ve been thinking about a lot. The title is just so damn catchy plus she hit a bit of a raw nerve as almost every day with our 11yo feels like someone is stabbing me in the ass with a large pointy stick. Over and over and over. Every day.
We’re struggling and fighting and banning shit and yelling. I even mentioned boarding school on Sunday – yeah, that old chestnut.
Obviously there’s massive hormone-stuff going on right now, there’s a nut-bar of a toddler in the house who totally runs the place (his rule is fast coming to an end btw) + there’s a lot of coming and going and general chaos in our house as we all lead very full lives. This is also ‘under review’.
But, I’m still not willing to accept that the current state of non-compliance is the new status quo. I’m trying to create a calm, face-to-face afternoon tea time when E arrives home off the bus; food ready, a cold drink, no devices within reach (I know he’ll go straight for the food if it’s waiting for him), a quiet chat about his day………….
He totally hates these afternoon catch-ups I’m sure but hopefully it sets a better tone for the evening than me yelling at him to make something decent to eat over the roar of the vacuum and Nixie screaming for more food – the two of them never stop eating! After a familiar argument this evening regarding attitude and anger, Dave and I sat down and listened to E. We asked him questions in a way that we hoped would help him see that his ‘entire life’ did not suck, there were mainly 1 or 2 key things that seemed to be behind a lot of the conflict.
Look, pandering to the whims of an 11 year old is not exactly how I like to parent, BUT, everyone deserves to be listened to and their grievances taken on-board whether others consider them legitimate or not – this is not pandering, it’s showing respect to your kids. We needed to show E that we care (of course we do!) about his feelings and emotions, and that whatever those emotions are, they are valid. He may, however, need to find a more conducive way to express them to us.
We also identified that there is one XBox One game in particular that seems to raise his aggression/anger levels through the roof. God I hate that console. We decided that rather than banning him from the XBox completely (even with time constraints it still causes a lot of tension and arguments between Ethan and his Dad and I), we remove the offending game and see if there’s any improvement in E’s behavior surrounding his allocated game time. Surprisingly he agreed to this without a second thought, which makes me think he already knows the ‘obsession’ with this particular game could be causing some of our problems.
Aside from that I’m out of ideas. All I know is that we need to put a rapid cool on emotions that have been running a little too hot in our house. Ethan and I can push each other’s buttons in a heartbeat and then it’s all on – and the whole house suffers.
I would love to hear your thoughts or frustrations if you’re dealing with anything similar in your households.
Adulting is h a r d, who listens to my grievances? YOU GUYS lol.
Sorry about that : )