I have long been a fan of John Rosemond's theories, ideas, and advice. In fact I have a couple of his books. But I am especially at my wits end and my husband to lesser extent in how to deal with our increasingly difficult, defiant, disobedient, demanding and clingy three year old.
My mother says I must remember that I am in charge and I am trying to but my own insecurity, anger and resentment have come to the forefront when I feel that that none of my actions work consistently in getting results. I no longer feel confident that I know what I am doing because nothing seems to work. Ironically enough, the issues that my husband and I now have with our daughter did not occur during her twos but instead slightly before she turned three which also coincided with our announcement that we were going to have a baby and she was going to be a big sister.
This has been an intense pregnancy for the whole family as our daughter was born twelve weeks early. Not to mention the fact that I was very sick and tired in the beginning of this second pregnancy, we had complications in the first few months that left my husband and I reeling and the doctors have me on weekly injections of progesterone(to prevent preterm labor) that juice me with so many hormones I feel and act like Jekyll and Hyde.
Despite being a preemie, we really have tried to treat our daughter like any other child and expect that she behave. She is bright, intelligent, funny and extremely verbal. She is also extremely needy and demanding at times. I feel that my husband and I spend more time dealing with her than engaging with each other and my husband is at his wit ends dealing with the now daily circumstances that he encounters every evening when he comes home from work. Which is that she and I have been at odds throughout the day and I am either furious or in tears but often both. I feel often held hostage by my anger that she is outwardly defiant in either actions or words often screaming at me. Then later she asks if I am happy and wants me to be happy and smile.
I find the biggest issues occur when I want her to do something right away such as getting ready to leave the house, get ready for bed, etc. It is at these times when my patience is nil because she dawdles or chooses to do something else. She of course has no concept of time, but I get so furious because I do not want to be late or I simply do want to wait around all day for her to carry out an action I have requested because I want some time for myself. Other instances of demanding behavior occur when she wants attention, primarily from me yet she also does not like it when my husband and I want time to ourselves. She wants me to to read to her when she wants it (and we do read to her quite a bit) and she will often try to sit on me and not let me hold hands with her father.
I have talked with husband about these issues, who I am butting heads with all the time now because I have become increasingly frustrated with my inability to get results with her and in turn feel emotionally rung out and in truth a failure as a mother. I told my husband that we have to put our relationship first or she will split us apart. This is truly how it feels at times and while he agrees with me, I don't believe he shares my anxiety, of course I am in the thick of things. When I say she is typically more obedient for him.He says he has a different way of dealing with her and that it is okay. He says we are a team and I believe that but how is it that I find myself in a screaming match with her and he does not. He says when she does not do as she's told right away he physically moves her towards compliance. Given that I am 30 weeks pregnant I cannot do that as easily. My question is why should I have to, she should do as she's told period because we said so. Instead of going veering off to do what she wants no matter whether we are trying to leave the house, get ready for dinner, or go to bed?
She recently started preschool two days a week and loves it. I thought it would be good for her to have something that was just about her and not the baby in addition to the fact that she has been asking to go. But her behavior has gotten worse. My parents warned me that she might pick up some bad behaviors not in attempt to keep her out of school but simply as warning. Well they have shown up! If she does not want to do something, she yells at me, stomps her foot, and my least favorite sticks out her tongue and makes a long raspberry sound at me with a look at her that says ,"this is what I think of you and your comments. My parents suggested that I take toys away, each time there is an infraction, I have done so and have taken many away in the last week or so but do not believe it has made her any more compliant and obedient. She wants to do what she wants, but she doesn't want things taken away nor does she want me to be angry with her.
People are shocked If I mention our struggles with her. Her grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers all say she is very well behaved and eager to please that my husband I have raised a very polite and pleasing child and I have observed these things in their presence. So why does that not carry over at home? Why is it a crime to ask her to play by herself or do something right away? Issues that typically arrises when I want to read, rest, spend time with my husband, or do something that requires my undivided attention.
I am well aware that I feel very out of control being pregnant, especially since this is a high risk pregnancy. As a result I may be trying too hard to control the one thing I can, her behavior. But I want her to be good. This is not to say she is a demon child, she has can be good and sweet, I've seen it. But in the last six months, parenting has been more of a struggle and all I can think of is my own childhood and the expectation of my parents. Children were expected to be good, respectful, kind, work hard and value learning. I shudder at some of the disrespectful behavior I encounter from other children her age and older. I do not want my child to be that way, it is not ok to me. My husband says I shouldn't worry so much that she will turn out fine and be good, respectful and responsible. But I have spent more time around children than he has and have seen the most obnoxious 8, 9, and 10 year olds. I do not want to go down that road.
I know that I can not be her friend, that is not my job. But I feel I am missing out on some of the most wonderful moments that will never come again because it feels that each day is a battle and struggle. It feels that the joy has seeped out of watching my three year old grow. I am too busy being angry and tired.
How can I establish or establish that my husband and I are the center and she is do what we say when we say so?