the talk about privilege vs. right

* this post was written a few days ago, but i wasn’t quite ready to post it, because everything felt so raw and frustrating still. so, here it is ready for a sunday entry. *

bear and i just had a $hit morning again. there is a definite pattern happeneing on thursday mornings happening at our house; lots of defiance and power struggles from him. thursday’s i keep him home from school and take him swimming at the local YMCA. he loves the classes and has been doing really well. but, his behaviour has been really, REALLY challenging on these mornings. last thursday he hit his brother in the face, then went to push me and well, i just couldn’t handle the thought of taking him into public in a mood like that. so we skipped swimming.

today, the kids played, there was some shenanigans, but nothing out of this world. then i had the kids sit down to a snack, then i asked them to pee and for bear to put his pants on. and well, it was all down hill from there. lion had his pee, i helped into his pants and piled all of our coats and boots at the front door. bear was dancing around wasting time and refusing to listen. i reminded him that if he didn’t get his pants he couldn’t go outside (it’s january and we’re in canada and it’s cold!). he kept up his defiance, and then i got mad and he got mad. and then, it was too late to go swimming and that’s when bear lost it. 

i just don’t even know what to do.

after we both cooled down i went upstairs and we had long talk. i tried to explain to him that his swimming lessons and ballet lessons are a privilege , rather than a right, like clean water, food, our home. he seemed to understand. i explained that he can show myself and dear hubby love and respect by listening to us when we ask him to do simple tasks, like helping set the table, getting dressed, being polite, or helping tidy up. by listening, he earns the privilege of participating in his extra curricular activities. i asked what his response is to his teacher at school when she says it’s tidy up time. well, of course he is positive at school and keenly tidies up a mess. 
i’m glad he’s a respectful kid at school and listens to his teachers.

i realize that as his mama, i am a safe person, probably the safest  for him to throw his anger, tiredness and difficulties at. but, sometimes i just don’t understand why he fights me so hard on things like getting dressed, so we can get to swimming on time. he pushes, so i push back and then he pushes even harder. 

it’s a classic power struggle, but it feels like we should have had this fight a few years ago, like when he was three. is five really supposed to be THIS hard? surely i’m not the only one fighting over simple tasks? 

xo, mama lola
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. says

    parents ask me sometimes if i can teach my work-kids to behave at home the way that they do in my class. i tell them only if they can make my kids as good at home as they are at school, especially kaya who also has MAJOR getting-dressed-and-out-the-door issues. they peaked when she was about 5 but can still be quite the daily struggle. oh lord, the clothes i allow her to attend school in sometimes, just to get her out the door.

    • says

      bear is a dream at school. his teachers rave on about him, which is great and of course i am so proud. at home, he tests and pushes, and sometimes after having the same fight over and over again i lose my cool. i’m only human.
      thanks for stopping by suzy!

  2. Charlie G says

    My general rule with Cassandra is that if she doesn’t listen and respond to me(I usually ask 2-3 times if she’s being stubborn) then she forfeits the right to choose. For example, if I ask her what she wants for breakfast and she just ignores me I tell her that if she ignores me than I will make the choice. That usually gets her to come around. There have only been one or two times when I’ve had to choose for her. She didn’t like the results and didn’t eat a whole lot but, she realized that daddy sticks to his guns. I also often use the countdown from 5 to get her into her clothes or brushing her teeth. She knows that if daddy’s fingers get down to 0 she will lose her choice or clothes or daddy will brush her teeth for her. I make a point of using my fingers to count down rather than my words so that I don’t let any anger or annoyance in my voice taint the interaction. For the most part she’s good at the whole getting ready and out the door routine. That being said, it is a routine. On a school day she is up by 7:45am though I will give her 5 more minutes of sleep if she really wants it(I use the clock to time it). She has to be dressed by 8am or I choose her clothes and dress her. She eats between 8:05 and 8:30am. I will eat breaky with her but if I’m done early I head to the kitchen to make her lunch. At 8:30 she brushes her hair and if it isn’t done by 8:35am I do it for her. At 8:35ish we head upstairs to brush our teeth. We then head downstairs and get dressed to be out the door by 8:45-8:50am.

    I have zero tolerance for hitting and Cassandra knows that. Hitting gets her put on her bed where she has to stay until she calms down. If she gets off the bed I put her back on it. She often asks for time alone to calm down which I am happy to give her. Usually 5 minutes later she comes downstairs with a blanket over her head pretending to be a ghost but, her attitude is better. She then has to apologize for her hitting and we have a discussion about it.

    I notice a big difference between Michelle and I in our parenting/discipline styles. First off, it is a very rare occasion for me to get mad, and especially to yell. Michelle yells and thus often gets yelled back at. If Cassandra starts to annoy me with a behaviour I inform her that her behavior is staring to annoy me. I keep a neutral tone in my voice to do this. I also let her know what my expectations are and stay realistic with my timing. I will tell her she has 5 minutes to do something and 5 minutes later I come back to ensure it is done. If I tell her I will be a minute or a couple of minutes doing something then I don’t take a longer time without informing her. I never use the phrase “I’ll just be a second or few seconds”. Michelle does that and it annoys the heck out of me because she is very rarely a few seconds. I also don’t ignore Cassandra and her questions. I figure if I want her to listen to me and answer my questions then she has the right to expect the same. She still has a case of the whys so I will often ask her to be more specific with her questions. I will also let her know that I need some time to finish what I’m doing before I can address her question if that is needed. Hopefully some of this is helpful to you Julia!

    • says

      thanks for sharing, charlie. something is clearly changing with bear and i need to tweak my parenting with him. i think he’s maturing and pushing new boundaries to gain more independence, it’s just difficult sometimes!

  3. says

    I’m afraid I don’t have much advice on this front as a single full-time student, hehe, but I do like that you took time to sit and speak with him. I believe that time and attention really helps kids. (:

    Thanks for linking up!

  4. says

    sounds like our mornings most days, especially those when I need to ride him on the bike to school instead of having the car. I need to fight myself better not to nag him because then he just fights back and we are both angry.