So last night was the “Nanny 911” episode that featured children beating on their mother as a way of expressing grief and anger over the loss of their father to a car accident. And when I say “beating on their mother” I’m not even kidding – kicking, hitting, biting, pushing – you name it, the 8-yr-old daughter did it.
A couple things struck me during this episode. One, it’s obvious that the mother is not very adept at showing her emotions – even when she first told her daughter “I’m angry with you right now” it sounded as though she was as angry as a little kitten sleeping on a fluffy pillow in the sun. So it makes me wonder if part of the anger from the children comes from their perception that their mother didn’t feel sad about the loss of the father. When in reality, she just never had time to grieve in ANY way because her kids were brats that didn’t respect her authority (what little she had) at all.
Denis and I, whenever we watch this show or “Supernanny”, get frustrated with the parents who don’t have a handle on parenting. We have an entire generation of hands-off parents who want to be friends as opposed to authority and discipline. Sure, friendship is good (I can see that from my neighbors who adore their son and he equally adores them). But I also think that through setting the rules and expecting your children to live by them is a way of creating a comforting environment in which they know exactly where they stand.
Case in point came last night when I was putting CootieGirl to bed. I had put her in bed at 8 p.m. and the general accepted rule in the house is that as long as she doesn’t get OUT of the bed, she can do whatever she wants until she falls asleep. Keep in mind her door is closed and no lights are on, so with the exception of the moon there is little vision in there. Last night she managed to get all four drawers from her toy shelf into her bed and played for a good hour before I finally went up there to ask her to go to sleep.
I turned on the fishtank light to see in the room, and as she and I were picking up the toys she got out of bed and went to her door as though to go downstairs.
“Come back here, CootieGirl,” I said in an authoritative tone. “You need to pick up these toys.”
“No!” she said coyly, smiling at me playfully.
“Come back here please, CootieGirl,” I repeated. “We’re picking up your toys.”
“No!” came the cry, still laughing, still standing by the door.
I pointed my finger at the floor next to me and said, “CootieGirl, come to me right now.”
Within a second she was back at my side. I gave her a hug, a kiss on the forehead, said, “Thank you for obeying me – now let’s clean up these toys.” She helped me dump the last few items in the last drawer and then promptly flounced back onto her pillow. I put the drawers away, turned off the fishlight, told her I loved her and closed the door.
She was asleep moments later.
No drama. No tears. No hitting. No yelling. And it’s always been that way since she could speak and actively follow directions. I’ve never dealt with her NOT obeying me because she always does. Because from day one I’ve let her know I’m the boss and that I am She Who Must Be Obeyed and Respected.
I also don’t give in to her tantrums when she wants something she can’t have (read: candy). She’ll be in the living room asking me for the Elmo gummies, and when I tell her no because (it’s too early, too late, we don’t have any, you’ve had enough) she’ll specifically run into the kitchen, flounce on the tile floors and begin wailing. And I’ll calmly tell her that she can’t have anymore but would she like some (water/milk/juice/a banana) instead? Nine times out of ten she’ll either give up and go into the playroom or she’ll take the alternative because it’s better than nothing, right?
So I just don’t understand how these parents on these shows can let it get to such a state that their kids BEAT THEM or CURSE AT THEM when they don’t get what they want.
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