“Family meeting, RIGHT NOW!” I bellowed over the chaos.
It was 10:30pm. The Hubby and I were snuggled in our bed trying to watch an episode of our favorite show, and in the room next to us, our dear, wonderful children were trying to start their own circus. Maybe not, but that’s what it sounded like.
The day had already gone awry. Over the past four days, we’d been trying to get them to clean their room. This is after I had gone in a couple days prior and helped them clean it. After we’d had a long chat about the importance of keeping your room clean, and your toys going back where they are meant to go after you are done with them. Four days to clean a room, and it finally took The Hubby and I going in with garbage bags to get them to realize we meant business. Now three garbage bag full of toys sit in the living room as we decide their fate.
Couple this with two rescue kittens winding in the bath tub before someone was meant to take one. Some mouthy statements from a five year old who doesn’t get why he needs to listen to us. A three year old who just doesn’t understand how to clean the same way her brother does and also doesn’t get that cats are not dolls/toys. There was also an incident with paint, and a lost iPod.
I may or may not have added alcohol to my drink mid-afternoon because everything was going that well.
“It was bed time three hours ago. Why are we still awake?”
“That’s okay, you don’t have to be tired, but it doesn’t mean you can run around the house and act crazy. Read a book, play quietly, but it has to be done in your bed.”
“But I’m not tired.”
I heaved a sigh in annoyance. I wanted to yell, “SERIOUSLY? Did you hear ANYTHING I just said?!” I wouldn’t do that though because yelling accomplishes nothing, and it would only be my anger speaking.
“Your dad and I are frustrated with how you, and your sister are not listening. You need to listen to us. We’re not asking anything crazy, we’re just asking for your own sake that you go to bed at a decent hour so you aren’t grumpy the next day. We’re asking you to clean your room so you are safe to play in there. Why aren’t you listening?”
Both kids shrugged their shoulders as they looked at each other and then back to us.
“Fine. But it stops. Tomorrow you are going to wake up, and you are going to do as we say, okay?”
They both nodded and ran off.
It’s in these moments where we have to use our firm voices and let them know they’ve crossed a line that I wonder the most about where we could have gone wrong. Is it normal for them to be ignoring us the way they do? Are we not towing the line with them enough, giving them enough structure? What more could I be doing to get them to listen to us and to understand that they are being directed to things that benefit them, rather than us just demanding blind obedience?
I’ve noticed come the end of the day, rather than giving a firm answer, I’m prone to just sighing and saying, “Whatever.” Not because I’m annoyed with the child, but because I know if I give a definitive answer, the resulting response could mean another forty minutes of work undoing it. I also know that most of the time, when I say no to something, these kids just do it anyway. Who wants to gamble with those odds?
Am I raising kids who question authority, or am I raising brats?
Wait, don’t answer that.
Today, we’ll have another family meeting, and we’ll get their actual input when there isn’t the pressing need to get them in bed. We’ll discuss why we need them to listen, and what we need to do as their parents to help them listen. Then we’ll say a silent prayer and hope to all hell it works in our favor, The Hubby and I.
I didn’t think the teen years started until, ya know, the teen years, but apparently, they start at five and three.
There isn’t enough wine in this world.