Challenging Child...

I have a challenging child... do you? 

I have one child who is strong-willed, a drama queen and knows her own mind. I also have a child who is laid back, easy going, quick to smile and easy to love. Some days the more difficult one feels hard to even like, and it would be easy to dote on the other one more. Does this make me a bad mother? I have really had to think hard about this, as the Mummy-Guilt tears me apart at times, and I get so worried she'll sense it...

But I have come to the conclusion that this doesn't make me a bad mother (although I have yet to believe this on the inside), unless I actually act on it. I love my daughter more than life itself, and I hope, anyone who knows me (in real life), can see that. But there are days I struggle to actually like her... her behaviour at the moment, leaves a lot to be desired, and while we are doing our best - it feels like it is just not enough, and I am ready to wave my white flag of surrender. This parenting thing is just not for me, seriously...!!!

Her blonde hair, big blue eyes and gorgeous smile seem to suck everyone in... sometimes even her Dad and I, but do not be deceived! 

We are having problems with settling at Preschool at the moment, she hated it to begin with - but then started to enjoy it, cope with the drop-off and settle really well; but these past couple of weeks it feels like we have gone backwards significantly. But not only is this behaviour happening there, but it is happening here at home also - the tantrums have ramped up, and the mornings are horrible 4 out of 5 times a week. She is becoming clingy beyond anything I have dealt with before, and will not go to hubby or deal with him if she decides not to... if she wants me (which is 99% of the time), she will go straight into tantrum-mode before she will deal with hubby. She adores her Dad, and yet you'd think she doesn't even know him let alone like him, the way she behaves around him sometimes... thankfully 'lil M is becoming a "Daddy's Boy", and will have him over me when he is home, which relieves some of the pressure on me - although I think he has worked out that this is a necessity.

We are being as consistent as we can - initially we tried to joke her out of these tantrums, then we tried bribing her out, and we tried cuddles and basically, everything 'nice' to try and dissuade her. But it was getting ridiculous, and she was totally controlling everything... so we have got tough, and she just gets put straight in her room, and has to stay there until she has calmed down enough to join the rest of the family. We check on her regularly, but she is not allowed out until she calms down - I don't know what else to do. When we ask her why she had a tantrum, inevitably the answer will be 'I just wanted my Mummy', and all very seriously at that. However, when she is in the middle of it - doesn't matter who is dealing with her (me or hubby), she won't settle down until she is ready to. So Mummy makes no difference then anyway...

I have just given the Head Teacher at Preschool, permission to do whatever it takes to start settling her... they have been very loving, nurturing and sweet with her there, but it has got to the point where she monopolises a teacher 100% of the time she is there, and she is playing on this! We know she is just playing games, and so we feel it is time to start getting a bit tougher on her, and not allowing this behaviour to continue. They adore her, and she really has been pampered by the majority of the teachers there, but it is time to put a stop to it now. So while I can see all this, and I also NEED it to stop as it kills me every time I have to say goodbye; the screaming is getting louder and the clinging is getting worse; there is this little bit of Mummy-Guilt that says maybe it isn't her playing games, maybe she really is struggling with anxiety, and it's my fault? Maybe she can feel the internal struggle I am facing daily with her at the moment? Maybe she is seriously feeling abandoned by me? Maybe those first six months, when I struggled through PND, have left a significant mark on her after all - and she is trying desperately to bond with a mother who has emotionally pushed her away?

So I sit here saying one thing to the teachers and my husband, but feeling something totally different - and the internal struggle, the Mummy-Guilt, is just about eating me up.

I try to tell myself that 'this too shall pass', and in twelve months time it'll probably be the opposite - 'lil M will be hitting those 'Terrible Twos', and Button will hopefully have calmed down and be more pleasant! 

Her behaviour is beyond anything I have dealt with before, and I am at a loss... I don't know what to do. I am stuck, and I am struggling with it all. I remind myself, that this strong will is going to be an asset when she is older, and can stand up for herself - and as long as we bring her up right, she won't be pulled along with the crowd, hurting herself and others on the way. She'll be a strong, brilliant and confident young woman that people will admire - that is our goal! We don't want to squash these attributes within her, we want to mould them and make sure she knows how to use them appropriately within society. Right now she doesn't, but she is forgiven as she is only three... she has time on her side, and if only we stand firm and teach her right, she'll be okay! I know this, as I have seen kids coming from much tougher backgrounds that what she has, turn out to be loving, responsible and amazing adults - I know, if they can beat the odds, then she has everything going for her, and will do us proud! But it is feeling like a long hard journey...

So - please tell me it gets easier, because this little girl deserves the best...


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