Monday, September 28, 2009

Kids vs. Mom - Ready for the next round?

The elusive right word
for explosive situations
likes to tease and taunt
and watch from sidelines
as exasperation grabs hold
and erupts with wrong word
and my stomach tightens.

If I didn't care so much, I don't think my conflict resolution troubles would bother me this intensely. I hate getting so worked up at times. As my kids get older, I notice that it is more difficult to get them to listen when it really counts. My boys get especially troublesome when they are in competitive mode. Is it something with all that testosterone? They seem to push each other and me when they want to win an argument. I hate when their sports debates turn physical. As mama bear, I want to run out and stop any roughhouse that may go the wrong way. The boys can be great friends one minute, and then they can turn into gladiators ready for a fierce battle. Even my youngest boy can turn into a bulldog when he gets angry or provoked.

I'm curious if other parents see a similar trend in their own homes with older children. These emotional ups and downs of parenting exhaust me more than labor and childbirth some days :) Not that I want to go through that again to compare! Do your kids know how to push your buttons?


Joanne said...

It seems boys are so different from girls. With two daughters, I've never had that kind of rough-housing going on here. A few minor squabbles over the years, but nothing that really tested me. It'll be interesting to hear others' stories!

T Rex Mom said...

I love that you expressed yourself via poetry. I'm sure I'll experience this sooner than I'm prepared for!

kisatrtle said...

Just for the record my girls can go at each other like rhinos. The tackle they punch they pinch. I think they older they get the meaner they get. It is sooooo tiring.

Naqvee said...

no kidds yet! hee hee

He & Me + 3 said...

I am finding that it is more difficult as they get older and it shouldn't be. They have an answer for everything. Being a Mom is so tough at times and yet so rewarding.

kel said...

Oh yeah.. she knows the buttons and she knows how to push them!!

Gerri said...

Now, this is only my opinion and believe me I'm not trying to say this is the only way, it's just my way. I only have one boy so I'm not sure how the whole boy sibling thing works but my youngest was a tomboy and she and her brother got into it many times. I tried to stay out of their sibling rivalries as much as possible. Only the the threat of imminant major bodily harm would get a reaction out of me. It was never easy but I really wanted them to work out their problems themselves. IMHO conflict resolution is something you have to learn by doing. Of course you can guide them and I usually did this after the fight by saying something like, "next time why don't you try this instead?". Sometimes they listened and sometimes they didn't. But I also learned very early on that if I jumped in, it only escalated things because it's an attention getting device. "Let's see how many times we can get Mom all worked up!" I don't think they conciously set out to do it but it's inherant in kids. Once you take the audience away alot of the conflict goes away. And my kids knew never to come to me with the she did or he did this or that. If I didn't see it happen I'm not commenting on it.

Good Luck....parenting is the most mentally exhausting profession there is. But it's so rewarding...hang in there.

Becca said...

Can't speak from experience yet but I can tell you I am absolutely terrified of what the future holds.

Corrie Howe said...

I have a teenager, nine year old and seven year old. I always say when they are younger, they are physically exhausting, when they are older they are intellectually and emotionally exhausting.

But as they get older, I'm finding that I don't want to wish away their stages so that they are only two years from moving out of the house and I didn't really enjoy them.

Corrie Howe said...

P.S. I've learned a lot from my in-laws. They manage to find something humorous in the middle of conflict and take everyone's wind out. Over the years I've found that making a smart remark or doing something totally unexpected can really get their attention.

Once my oldest was so angry at the princess because she'd been sick for a week and for a week he wasn't able to watch his own TV shows. He yelled at me. And looked at him and calmly asked, "Are you giving me an ultimatum to give her an ultimatum?" He started breaking into a smile. He said, "No, it is only a suggestion." And I asked, "And if I don't follow your suggestion?" He broke out in a grin, "Then I'll go up in my room and pout."

Susan Fobes said...

Ah, those little button pushers... I am having trouble with the listening thing lately too. Why, just today I heard my son in the kitchen getting into the snack drawer-I was in the living room. It was before dinner, so I told him no snack. He said, "Ok," then I heard the rustle of a wrapper! And my son certainly has more physical displays when he is angry. He is getting better as he gets older though...

TheChicGeek said...

LOL, they are masters at pushing my buttons! I know having boys gets difficult because there is so much testosterone running through their little bodies and as they become older, I think they don't know quite how to handle it yet. It mellows with time and then I have found that boys are easy. It's teenage girls that will kill you...LOL!
Just remember, this too shall pass. It is a season and one day you will look back and laugh about these adventures!

Wishing you a peaceful and button-pushing free day :D

PS: I just adore the subtle color of your blog and the lovely to visit!

H F W said...

Oh, big hugs, Kelly. These emotional highs and lows are sooo exhausting; it's enough to make a normally happy, calm mama need a daily nap and quiet time.
I'm glad I have your blog here to help guide me through what is normal when it comes to raising boys because I grew up in a house filled with only girls!

Michelle said...

Oh they're tiring. The wee ones don't turn on each other so much yet, but I'm sure they will. Mister Man especially is quick to flare, although he's learning to control it really well. But the wee ones picked up sticks to play swords when Mister Man got home from school. SOOOO hard not to just immediately jump in and stop them!

Flory said...

My oldest at home, now 17, changed when he was around 13. There are times when I just can't wait for him to go to college and then when I really think about it,I know I'll miss him much. That's parenthood for you. :)

I love the poem! Just gave you an award. Stop by to collect. :)

Anonymous said...

I think every child knows how to push a button or two. I truly believe boys are naturally more aggressive than girls. There is a difference. As you already know, I have 3 girls (2 at home) and my son who's the youngest. He is far more physical than the girls were his age. He is the one who wears me out, physically and mentally. The twins now in HS push a different kind of button. Overall they're good kids. They don't hang out or sneak and do things. However, they fight every daggone day and it drives me bonkers. Sometimes I hear them arguing (whispering mind you) while getting ready for school at 5:00 a.m. Then I have to hear, "I hate her." or "Go Die." or "Why did you have to have twins? Why couldn't it just be me?"

So my dear, you are not alone in the battles. Some of us just have a different kind.

PS: You are free to join to Dorkette club anytime :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant to say The Dorkette's 4:00 a.m. here. Have a great day Kelly!

Analisa said...

It is going to be difficult but you have to have a zero tolerance policy for fighting. I mean if they physically fight you shut everything down. No TV, no gaming, no cell phone use. Most school districts now have the same zero tolerance policy which is why most kids don't fight at school. At home we expect them to moderate their own fights. They are kids they don't do that. The harmones take over and the brain lags behind. I think once they learn the consequence of their actions just like in life outside the home, they will get it. It is just very very draining on the parents. You have to set a policy with your spouse. Sit them down when they are not fighting and you are not angry and let them know moving forward this is what will happen when you fight and stick to it. If it is verbally abusive fighting like inappropiate name calling I would impose the same punishment. Also for the comment where the child said I hate her. I would never ever let a child say that they hate me without teaching them how ugly the word is. My mother used to say, it is ok to say how you feel, but it must be said in a respectful manner. They can say I am angry or upset or I don't think that is fair. But to say they hate a sibling or parent, not a good idea. I know they don't really mean it but does it make it hurt any less? Some of our long term issues with ourselves came out of what was said about us in our homes. Good or bad

Don said...

"If I didn't care so much, I don't think my conflict resolution troubles would bother me this intensely."

Good poem. It captures the angst. My youngest is 23! My kids fought with me more than each other, only because I was determined to be the alpha dog. (The only button on me they learned not to push, was the one where they dissed their mom. The rest of the buttons, they pushed.) A common enemy (me), united them.

A key for my sanity? I learned to ask the question: Is this hill worth dying on?

If it was, I did my best to win: every time. (Unless, once in a while, I turned out to be wrong.)

Now, my kids like each other, visit each other, value each other, and stay in touch on their own. It's great to see.

Final word? There. are. no. silver. bullets.


Warren Baldwin said...

Yes - our kids did that.
Yes - our kids knew how to push our buttons, particularly their moms.

I very much agree with Don - pic the issue that is important enough to take a stand on, and win, every time. I think that is how the kids learn we mean business.

We are not just wanting control, as the kids think. We want the peace and order necessary for a healthy home.

Some degree of bantering among themselves is natural. We still try to instill a sense of repsect for the parents, esp mom. Mom becomes a frequent victim of their shenanigans b/c mom is tender and loving. They know she'll forgive.

Just had a talk with one of mine yesterday about respect. Parenting is an interesting and life long walk! Hang in there. Good post for a discussion starter. wb

Jillien said...

I often feel on my nerves edge and I only have a three year old.

Kelly you are a super mom... loads of patience and self inspection. You're great.

Valerie said...

Believe it or not, this is learning about each other. Not easy for you though.

Randi said...

When my girls were pre-teens I thought they were going to kill each other. (One did break the other one's finger.) They could not get along to save their lives. I had to get involved because they LOVED tattling on each other. Drove me crazy. Now they absolutely love each other. When they get together, they laugh about all the things they used to do to each other and to ME! Sometimes it's best to let them fight it out. It's hard to do, especially when the action gets physical and you have to step in.

My daughters toned it down on their own, once one of them ended up with a broken finger. I guess a good solution would be to have them pay off their own hospital bills if they injure each other!

Vickie said...

Oh my oldest, who is 8, is starting to get lippy with me. Doesn't like what I say she goes to her Dad, who thankfully knows what she is doing:)

I have to bite my lip, oh I would be fighting back with her.

I believe it was easier when she was a baby.

I am sure you are doing a good job:)

Judith Ellis said...

My mom raised seven boys and five girls alone. She never raised her voice and we never saw her sweat, ever. Yet, she was very much human and full of love. The wonderful thing about her is that you knew she meant what she said and said what she meant. She also heavily relied on her faith in God and the strength He provided.

There were some things we did not do and say as not to disappoint her. But I must admit to testing her, but she never seemed to sweat. She would calmly allow us to say our peace, respectfully of course, and sometimes not. But she would go forth after your rant and do exactly what she thought best each and every time.

When we were growing up she also did not spare the rod. I am well aware that many parents are against this today. All of my mom's children have obtained licenses in ministry and we are entrepreneurs and professionals. One other thing, the boys were not allowed to touch the girls no matter what the girls did or said. they were allowed to rough house but not too much.

My mother was very keen on allowing the boys especially to express their bravado, but she paid close attention the spirit of the dispute; she paid particular attention to words and intentions.

All is well, Kelly. Know this.

Jenners said...

As I scrolled through the comments, I can see you got a lot of help/advice, which is good because I don't have a lot of experience in this because I only have one kid. But I know my brothers and I fought like banshees when we were little.

christy rose said...

I am right there with you girl! I had 4 kids in 5 years. It was a breeze when they were younger compared to now! I never felt overwhelmed by the duties of being a mom. God's grace was flowing overwhelmingly. And, it is not the duties of being a mom that overwhelm me today either, it is the difficulty of my babies heading in the direction of adulthood way before it is time for them to arrive there. HAHA
When they get to the age of thinking that they know more than we do and are contrary to everything that you say, it does get a little difficult to get through to them. But that same grace that empowered me 12 years ago can empower me know if I depend upon it instead of trying to do it on my own. Help me Lord!!
But, there are so many joys of them getting older too. I pray that God helps us to experience more and more of the joyful times and gives us grace and wisdom for the other times. You most definitely are not alone here sister, :)

Gerri said...

Noah is still a little one, but I do notice that the older boys at his school can get really physical. That is pretty typical for boy development. And, YES!!! he knows exactly how to push my buttons. Hang in there, "and this too shall pass".