Thursday, November 5, 2015

Parenting 2.0

My daughter is a good kid, and I say that objectively.  She is thoughtful and helpful and compassionate, and usually listens to me and follows instructions.

Hence, those infrequent bursts of defiance, totally normal for her age and bound to increase exponentially during the teenage years, completely surprise me.  Every time.

This morning while I was in the shower, she had apparently gone through my jewelry box, and chosen one of my necklaces to wear to school today.  A real piece of jewelry, not one of her sophisticated looking plastic accessories.

I told her "No," and asked her to return the necklace where she had found it.  She made her pouty face, stomped around for a minute or two and then walked away.  When I started to get dressed, I decided to make sure she had put the jewelry away in its proper place; not so surprisingly, the necklace was nowhere to be seen.

I asked Raphaela where she had put it, or lost it as the case may be, and she shrugged her shoulder (in the way that Israeli children do from age zero) and ignored my question.  I told her to look for it with me, and she refused.

So I told her that I would take one of her favorite toys away until we found the necklace.  "If you cannot take care of nice things, you will lose something you like." I said, firmly.  And showed her that her electronic story board was going deep in the back of a closet, way up high in the kitchen.

"I don't care Mommy," she said, with the pouty defiance face, "I find that toy annoying anyway."

So I went into her room and took her favorite doll and placed it next to the electronic toy, and then I saw panic in her face.

"I love you, Raphaela. I will always love you no matter what you do and how you behave." I explained. "At the same time, I have every right to get angry and punish you if you behave very badly and disrespect me."

"I know Mommy.  Because you're my Mommy." She said quietly.  "Sorry Mommy."

I know that she must learn that her actions have consequences;  and yet, I now will spend the whole morning feeling guilty that I sent her off to school in a less than optimal emotional state.

(That's the pouty face, same as it has been since she was born.  Here she seems to be disturbed that she was removed from the safe haven of the womb...)

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