“You may not speak to me like that, I’m your mother, not one of your school friends.”
I cringed inside as I snapped that sentence at Amy, remembering my mother saying exactly the same thing to me when I got too mouthy or talked back once too often. It was the right time to say it however, as Amy gulped and apologised.
Five is full of mouthiness and opinions and arguments. It’s also full of discussion, interesting conversations and some amazing creativity, but those aren’t the bits making me tear my hair out.
You don’t get to speak to me like that seems to be my catchphrase of the moment; the only thing I’ve got in the face of increasing rudeness and screams. It’s not that she isn’t allowed to disagree with me, it’s that she isn’t allowed to do it in quite that tone.
You know the tone, the you’re so much stupider than I am right now.
I’m sorry kid, I’m not stupid and you need to go and sit in your bedroom until you can speak nicely.
TIME OUT is my other weapon in my ever decreasing arsenal, as she shouts at me that she WILL NOT GO and YOU CAN’T MAKE ME and YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.
I respond with you don’t get to speak to me like that, you can come out when you’re ready to speak nicely, NO, you CANNOT hit me and I swear to God child, you can stay in there until dinner is ready if you try that again and no, I don’t care that you kicked the wall, it wasn’t very sensible and ACTIONS EQUAL CONSEQUENCES. You hurt your OWN foot.
It’s frustrating and admirable how defiant she is in the face of two parents staring her down. Even as I march her to time out, with, if I’m being honest, the help of her ear because there was no other option short of bodily lifting her, I am proud of her spirit and of her anger, and her ability to decide what she wants and aim for it no matter what.
I don’t want to destroy that.
I also don’t want her hitting – me or anyone else, or thinking that it’s okay to shout I WANT and expecting me to capitulate simply because she wants something.
Five is tough, and extraordinary.
Five is where the influence of her peers starts to war with the influence we can provide and I’m left explaining that X is not the boss of you and you can play with other kids if X is being mean.
I suspect that X is a sassy little so-and-so at school – but I can’t blame my daughter’s behaviour on them.
Five is amazing, however I’m not sure I’m going to get through it with all of my hair follicles intact. Amy shouts and screams and throws objects and gets marched to her bedroom to think about why she needs to speak nicely over and over again. It doesn’t seem to make any difference, except that she’s learned the value of a good apology (spoken 5 seconds into the time-out, with expectation that she is free and clear because of a sorry) and I’ve learned that she responds poorly to being told that Sorry can’t fix everything and you need to think about why I’m unhappy with you.
It was easier, when she was smaller. She was more contrite, less mouthy and if nothing worked, at least she was small enough to be lifted bodily without causing any damage. Now, flung elbows are like little sharp javelins that you’ve got to dodge for the sake of your nose.
It’s hard and amazing, to watch your child grow into herself.
Now excuse me, I need a hot drink and a good lie down.