Country Boy and I have been examining our parenting strategies of late. The kids are not behaving in a way that we are happy with, and we need to do something about it.
This term has been quite stressful for Hannah - a new school has meant learning a new routine, new relationships, and different expectations. Always eager to do the right thing, the stress of trying to anticipate what is expected of her has been hard. She finds change hard going, and is inclined to lose it at home, where she feels comfortable and secure.
Country Boy and I understand that she is stressed, but at the same time we need to enforce consistent expectations about her behaviour. At a time where she is stressed, she needs boundaries she can trust.
Meghann sees Hannah stressed and (understandably) reacts to it by arguing back at Hannah.
Neither of them are being kind and thoughtful towards each other.
With this in mind we have made some changes in our routine to avoid some of the triggers that send the girls off. For example, we have changed the roster for dealing with the chickens so that the one child has to feed the chickens and collect the eggs. This is to avoid the arguments over who does what.
We are also making an effort to be really consistent in our expectations, and in the consequences we give when they don't behave appropriately.
I love my kids so much it hurts. I hate it when I see them behaving badly, yet I am struggling to deal with the issues that a high stress, anxious, shy 7 year old bring. I want to give her the resources she needs to be resilient as an adult. I know that the number one thing we can do is show her our unconditional love, whilst at the same time teach her to be self controlled; I'm just not sure how to go about the second bit.
If someone told me how hard it would be to parent before we had kids, I wouldn't have believed them.