Monday, January 16, 2006

And now for something a little less controversial

Time to humble myself a little here, folks. At my worst I am opinionated, a control freak, argumentative, an insufferable know-it-all, and stubborn as hell. At her worst, so is Sister. Guess what--this means there are days when we butt heads about EVERYTHING, and the only solution seems to be to leave each other alone. Otherwise, the least thing out of either of our mouths results in an annoying, argumentative exchange. Picture yourself as a kid on the playground at recess, unable to agree with another kid: "Yeah-huh!" "Nuh-uh!" "Yeah-huh!" "Nuh-uh!" It's kinda like that.

What's that you say? But I'm not a kid, I'm the grown-up mama? Yes, yes, I know that. Which is why I'm coming to all of you parents out there for help. I want to have a nicer, more...I don't know, motherly relationship with Sister. I don't want her to feel downtrodden and persecuted, which is how she looks sometimes after one of our bad days. I do know that you're supposed to "choose your battles," and "act like the grown-up." These are things I tell myself all the time. But can someone out there tell me how you're actually supposed to DO that? Do I just need to count to 10 each time Sister says something that's designed to jerk my chain, or that's just for the sake of argument? Please, lay some advice on me, blogging parenting experts! And hopefully something other than saying, "Because I said so! Now will you just.stop.arguing?" (I've tried that. It doesn't work.)

7 comments:

Dawn said...

Prozac. It helped me Loads.

Other than that, develop a distinct hard of hearing problem.

Nancy said...

I don't know if you've tried this, but -- if she's so much like you, could you try psychology on her that you know would work with you if roles were reversed? I'll give you a couple of examples. 1) I am just like my dad. Sometimes he frustrates my mom and brother, because they can't relate. But I can explain to him why he does X and what might work to turn him around on that. 2) My older daughter is NOT a morning person (she's like me in this respect.) My husband is, so when he goes to wake her in the morning, he's exuberant and cheerful and she doesn't react well. I've tried teaching him my approach, which is -- enter gently, quietly, hug her and ease her into the day. She likes that I "get" that about her.

As far as applying this advice? I am not sure. Maybe if you DO continue to leave her alone, just for a few minutes, when you butt heads and then find a way to come together to work it out? Good luck!

Mama D said...

The stage I am at right now with my daughter is:
Me "Listen, it's time for bed now eat and go to sleep."
Her "Scream, scream, scream."
Me "Okay, fine. Go walk around with your dad for a while." 'hands over baby to dad'

So, unfortunately I don't think I can help you out. I wanted to let you know I tagged you at my site.

pie maker said...

Being that I, too, can be horribly stubborn and opinionated and argumentative - just for the sake of arguing, mind you - I can tell you that the thing that shuts me down is when whomever I'm talking to simply doesn't play.
My younger sister sounds a bit like Sister - she knows how I am and at times, intentionally baits me simply to get a rise out of me (she finally admitted this in one of our calmer discussions); now, if I feel like she's going in that direction, I simply smile and change the subject or leave the room. Also, I've found that something that works remarkably well is to completely focus on what she's saying and listen to her and talk about her feelings, like "that sounds frustrating", etc. Yes, it's called active listening, but I gotta say, it works. Remove your self from the situation and just listen. It's hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Eventually she'll see that she can't bait you and at the same time, she'll realize that her mama is totally tuned into her as well.
I'm making this sound easier than it is, but well, good luck!

RGLHM said...

I'm not quite at this stage yet, but I am getting there fast. I was and still am this way with my dad. Some poeople just don't grow up hey:-) What I've learned in that relationship is that we all have feelings and we usually say whatever b/c our feelings were hurt and we want them to know it. I think your advice of just leaving each other alone is a good one. The days that are the worst are probably the days that you're tired, hungry, worried and just not yourself. I really think it's ok to just allow for ALONE time and trust that it'll be better 'tomorrow'. Sorry, I guess I just gave you back your own advice!

Sugarmama said...

Hey, thanks for the tag, Mama D. I'll get on it soon.

Pie maker, this IS good advice and would probably work well with Sister--if I can just maintain the presence of mind to actually follow it. Like you said, RGLHM, it does happen most when I'm tired or otherwise out of sorts, but still I feel like that's a lame excuse at my age.

Thanks, everyone! If none of this works I'll consider pharmaceuticals.

Mommygoth said...

Oh, darlin. This child is turning 13 early - we've known that was coming for a while. My advice would be to think of whatever would shut YOU down in the middle of a row (other than complete acquiescence, of course) and do that.