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The big dilemma - how to discipline children without turning into Homer Simpson

From Yummy London Mummy:

The most sucky thing about being on holiday is that children go wild. Or at least, this appears to be the case with my children (no offense but hopefully yours do too, if so then I won't feel such a big fat parental failure).

The root of the problem seems to be the Small(er) One suddenly discovering the joys of insomnia. Which, oddly, seems to affect her very little in terms of energy and good cheer during the day (she's been bad-tempered as well but this is quite normal - she's a fiery small thing).

But the big problem is Firstborn, who, just like me, finds it hard to operate on three broken hours of sleep, and, just like me, it makes her grumpy, cranky and desperate to take offence at every small and/or imagined thing.

The squabbles and cat fights are driving me nuts. I had to pull them apart yesterday, two crazy bundles of rage, spitting and biting and flailing limbs - and all over which one got the pink plate.

In between the fights and name calling ("you're a poo poo" "you smell of wee" "you're la fruitcake" "you're a tomato" "No, YOU'RE a tomato" "you're not my friend" "you're not MY friend" etc) the normal mode is defiance.

Every request, even a reasonable one, is met with a "NO!", plus mutinous facial expression. All food is "yuck!" unless it is chocolate, ice-cream or plain pasta (a sprinkling of cheese is just about tolerated). The suggestion of bathtime is met with a dive under the table and a screamed refusal to come out. Holding hands in the street is tantamount to an especially vicious form of parentally-inflicted torture. Getting dressed is a minefield ("No! Not that dress! I want ! ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!").

All the usual parental fail-safes have failed - Time Out, the raised eyebrow, a stiff talking to, removal of treats and toys placed in the naughty box - all met with the same defiance ("Put me in time out then, I don't care" "Don't want treats anyway" "Don't like dolly, don't care if she stays in the naughty box forever!" "You smell of poo Mummy and you're the worsest, meanest Mummy in the whole wide world!" and "Not listening" with fingers in ears, etc.)

I even had to resort to a mild spanking. (Not a beating, I hasten to add, as such is the British nanny state I fear any confession of Laying A Hand On My Child, mild or otherwise, will have me spirited away to Bad Parent Camp for intensive classes in how to tolerate your child's bad behaviour, smile sweetly, sigh gently, excuse said bad behaviour with many lame excuses but fail to chastise in any shape or form- thus preparing for it to grow into a Veritable Menace To Society. Anyway, the spank took place on Italian soil where I believe common sense still prevails so I think I am legally in the clear). Whatever. The spank didn't work either.

I am at the end of my tether. Any suggestions gratefully received.



Anonymous said…
You think this is tough - give 10 years - they're bigger and brighter than you (that's what you wanted wasn't it?) and you will look on this as tame.

Think - 2 teenage girls, menapausal mother and mid-life crisis father - Hitchcock thriller.

Only solution - pass the buck - choose your boarding school NOW!!!
Anonymous said…
Lot of good boarding school does! Simply hanging out with oaf(ette)s with more "pocket" money and (even) more arrogance.

Care to wax on the prospects when spanking is completely outlawed. Does it mean that children will be prosecuted for hitting (or touching?) other children?
Anonymous said…
Please, I beg of you...put down the chocolate, close the computer and run out to Barnes & Noble and purchase a copy of The Blessing of The Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel.

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