Out of all the parenting challenges that I face on a day to day basis, the biggest one has to be how to discipline Poppy. It is not something that I have been taught, it is definitely not something that comes naturally to me and there are so many schools of thought about how you should do it that I imagine that a lot of parents are like me and end up trying loads of different techniques and confusing not only their children but themselves as well.
Poppy is generally a pretty good girl but when she gets tired she can turn into an absolute horror….stamping her foot, not listening, shouting at me and generally driving me to distraction. The thing is though, she’s exhausted and whatever I do I know I’m not going to get through to her, so in this situation I tend not to dwell on her behaviour and rather turn on CBeebies or read to her, giving her a chance to chill out a bit and perhaps snap out of her mood.
The not listening thing doesn’t only occur when Poppy is tired. Sometimes I find myself repeating things 5 times and she still ignores me. In this situation there really is no option but to shout out the word “chocolate” which instantly grabs her attention. I of course don’t actually give her chocolate but use this fleeting moment to remind her that she might need to try for a wee etc etc. I’m sure that this is terrible parenting and if someone can teach me how master the art of getting a busy 3 year old to listen I’ll be really grateful.
Something that really freaked me out was that yesterday Poppy told two lies for the first time. They were pretty small but this is not something that I want her to think is acceptable. She told me she had washed her hands after going to the loo (going into great detail about how she used her duck soap) which wasn’t true and she also told Mr UFM “Mummy said I’m allowed this snack if you open the bag for me” when I had just specifically told her that she wasn’t allowed a snack. Mr UFM and I agreed that she should sit on the stairs and there were a lot of tears. I so hope that we go the message across. I don’t want her to ever think that it’s OK to lie to us although I’m sure that like so many things this is just one of those “passing phases”.
Bedtime is still one of our biggest challenges. Poppy really doesn’t like the idea of going to sleep. I’m not sure if she’s afraid of nightmares or something like that but I often end up lying next to her until she finally nods off. I don’t mind this as we have some of our best and most precious chats in the quiet of her room when she is relaxing, but equally, it can take a good while for her to drop off which means that Mr UFM and I get shorter evenings together which is far from ideal. We have recently introduced a new rule that sometimes (depending on her mood) works. I tell Pops a story and lie with her for a bit and then she’s allowed to relax in bed and listen to an audio book (Percy The Park Keeper is a favourite). She’ll often nod off during it as she doesn’t feel like we’re forcing her to go to sleep so I guess feels more in control of the situation.
On the rare occasion that Pops has slept during the day, say in the car, (she’s dropped her naps as a general rule), then she doesn’t really get tired until about 8/ 8:30pm. In these instances we honestly don’t have the energy to battle over bedtime with a very awake and stubborn young lady so she’s allowed to watch us eat our main course at dinner with the knowledge that she has to go to bed as soon as we finish eating. On these occasions there is a Mr UFM instigated rule that she has to have adult conversation which means asking questions about our day. I love the gems that she comes out with. “Mummy….how was work? Did you play with your friends?”….”Daddy, did you have a funny day at work? Did you meet any princesses?”. Mr UFM and I secretly love having her company at dinner time and she in turn always behaves impeccably because she’s counting her lucky stars that she’s allowed to stay up late.
Poppy’s behaviour is so mixed and often unpredictable. Some days she’s so frustrating and I drive myself crazy worrying that I’m doing something wrong and then the next she surprises me by being happy, kind, polite and a total pleasure.
How about you? Any advice?