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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:46 am 
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Footie, it sounds to me like you are a very good parent.

Footface wrote:
And I really need him—and he really needs—to wind down, to keep learning HOW to wind down. How to let these things go.

This is so important. I was in therapy for years and years, and in group therapy it was one of the biggest problems for all of us.. We couldn't let go, get over issues, unwind.. And it's so important. to me, it's really helped with my self esteem, my focus and my interpersonal relationships to learn this!

Footface wrote:
About an hour later, or maybe longer, he came upstairs to say he was having trouble relaxing. He had probably been reading almost all that time. I stalled. I am tired of being on-call for a task I shouldn't need to perform anymore. He's 10. He and I have talked about how to relax. I've walked him through the steps countless times.

I think it's really important to stick with this. Even though it can feel horrible, I think it's so important to stick with the knowledge you have that HE CAN DO IT BY HIMSELF. sleeping is a task everyone can do. he just needs to learn that he can, in fact, fall asleep on his own. and I think the best way to teach a kid how to do something is letting them find their own way, and sticking with it - by some point, when he realize that he has to do this on his own now, because you will not sit there, no matter how much of a tantrum he throws.. because he is a big, smart person, who can do it by himself. to me, this is sending a clear signal of trust and love to your kid, while teaching him to trust himself. because at some point it will work, and he will have a feeling of success and it will be awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:30 am 
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FootFace wrote:
Discipline is just so important—and so fraught. ..... There are so many ways that loving, well-meaning parents can blow it. I think I've blown it in all of them.

I have had this last thought so many dozens of times............
I think on the whole we both have kids that are wonderful, smart, creative, and well-behaved enough that we could take them anywhere and not have to worry about them being less than charming, kind and overall good kids.
But when things are bad, nothing feels more horrid.

I'm sure you've considered that there are plenty of adults who don't know how to relax, deal with anxiety and self-soothe. I think podcasts and such are great too- they've helped me through flying when I didn't think I could do it.
Also, so much horrible news lately (shooting, end of world, etc) has gotten all sorts of emotions stirred up.

hang in there. hope he wakes up and things are a bit better.

We went through a really rough patch at the end of this school year (early December) and now things are going much better. One step forward, another back, another forward.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:42 pm 
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It's been 2+ years since the last post in this thread and (somehow) I'm still not a perfect parent. It's baffling.

I think I've become even less perfect, and it's really depressing. I worry all the time about my relationship with chompy. I still beat myself up over my failings as a parent and a person. I still fear that decisions I make (or don't make) today will have a lasting negative impact on who he turns out to be. I still feel guilty at how unpleasant I find him sometimes these days.

Parenthood is fun!

Retroactive warning for new parents: Do not read (or do not have read) this post.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:51 pm 
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footface, I know this is a venting thread and obviously your worries are valid and all that, but I want to say that having met chompy, from an outsiders perspective he seems like a great kid who will grow up to be a good regular adult human.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:01 pm 
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I'm pretty sure there is yet to be a perfect parent so at least you're not alone.

As a mostly functional adult I can look back and see things that my parents could have done better, but I always knew that they loved me and they were never physically or emotionally abusive and I love them and feel grateful for that, especially considering that the majority of my friends were abused in some way and didn't grow up in loving environments at all. Giving your kid a weird complex or two to work out in therapy later just gives them character and some stories to include in their first semi-autobiographical novel

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:08 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
footface, I know this is a venting thread and obviously your worries are valid and all that, but I want to say that having met chompy, from an outsiders perspective he seems like a great kid who will grow up to be a good regular adult human.

I agree with this. He's always been perfectly social and great when he's come to meet ups, even as you were venting about his behavior at home. I know as a preteen & teenager, I was horrible to my mom in ways that I would never have dreamed about being horrible to other adults. Pretty much because I absolutely trusted her to love me and be there for me even when I was making hard for her to like me. We got through it. I think you're a good dad and that he knows he's loved. That counts for a lot in the end.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:06 pm 
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My sweet and extremely loved two and a half year old has recently taken up the hobby of hitting me, like to the point of me feeling like she's beating the crepe out of me for a minute or two. Since we're so fortunate to have a precocious talker she has also already told me she hates me a few times. I would take the beating any day over the teen verbal assaults I know are in our future. I just know I have it coming to me after the way I treated my parents when I was a teenager. Hang in there, footface!


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:58 am 
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It's true: chompy is very social and friendly and personable. He does act differently here at home sometimes. And I agree that's a good sign—that he feels safe enough here at home to act out and experiment with teenage-type stuff. I just wish it wasn't so hard.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 10:57 am 
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I am finding myself trying to learn (again!) how to... Well, not detach, really, as that sounds a little clinical in this context...

Starting over: I am finding myself trying to learn (again) how to keep from getting emotionally involved when trying to discipline chompy or get him to do whatever needs to be done. It is so easy (and so pointless!) to argue, to defend, to take it personally. When I (infrequently) remember that the goal is a certain kind of behavior—and not victory—things are easier and I feel much better about myself and my relationship with chompy. It's really, really difficult not to take these things personally—you're talking like that, to me?!—but I don't think it usually is personal. And all the emotional stuff that misperception brings up just makes everything feel hard and shitty, so adversarial. I don't want to be the enemy, just the parent.

I think I used up my ration of italics for the month.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 2:47 am 
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FootFace wrote:
I am finding myself trying to learn (again!) how to... Well, not detach, really, as that sounds a little clinical in this context...

Starting over: I am finding myself trying to learn (again) how to keep from getting emotionally involved when trying to discipline chompy or get him to do whatever needs to be done. It is so easy (and so pointless!) to argue, to defend, to take it personally. When I (infrequently) remember that the goal is a certain kind of behavior—and not victory—things are easier and I feel much better about myself and my relationship with chompy. It's really, really difficult not to take these things personally—you're talking like that, to me?!—but I don't think it usually is personal. And all the emotional stuff that misperception brings up just makes everything feel hard and shitty, so adversarial. I don't want to be the enemy, just the parent.

I think I used up my ration of italics for the month.


FootFace, I really identify with what you're saying. Lately I often find myself just wanting to WIN for once and ultimately, that just leaves me much more frustrated. While we're not yet to the kind of challenges you're dealing with (tiny wu is only 2.5), I hope to be as wise as you are by then.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 12:50 pm 
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Oh, no no no. You should hope to be much wiser than me!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 7:12 am 
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So, when the kid says she has terrorizing anxiety and needs to go see a therapist (even though she somehow manages to do all sorts of stuff if meeting up with her friends or boyfriend is involved), do you

a) rush her to the first therapist you can find, even though you have a sneaking feeling she is emulating her hypochondriac aunt and friends, therapists here are mostly bullshiitake and even better, beyond your budget, and she herself has said that she thinks therapy and drugs are both bullshiitake (but yet her boyfriend has a therapist, which has you wondering).
b) create shitty excuses to wait and see a little because you are paralyzed with fear
c) talk to her about it and acknowledge her situation and give her some online resources but not encourage her to go find a professional yet, because the only ones people have recommended are drug pushers
d) do what your own parents would have done, punish her and tell her how terrible she is.

You have two seconds to choose, and whatever decision you make will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Keep in mind that the last time she had a Serious Medical Crisis it turned out to be an invention and a super-convoluted way of getting a presciption for birth control although she could have just goddamn asked you, and so you can't help but hear people crying wolf all of a sudden.
Choose Wisely!!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 9:14 am 
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So you picked C? I think I would.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 9:57 am 
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It was the best I could come up with so far. Although there is a good bit of B in there as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:46 am 
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Back in the Trap!

Chompy is currently in Rome with his grandparents. Being the Solomon-like parent I am, I purchased an international roaming plan for him. It provides unlimited wifi (at "approved" wifi spots) and minimal non-wifi data. I figured, "Yes, he's in Rome. He should be doing stuff besides staring at his phone. And it's not like his grandparents will let him be on his phone all the time. The smallest plan will be fine."

Got texts from him today where he's angrily complaining about the data plan. The wifi is iffy where they are, and he's blowing through his data. "Why did you get the smallest p;lan? If it was for yourself, you would have gotten the biggest plan!" And so on.

And so, knowing that he's already way out of his comfort zone—away from home, in a foreign country, with his grandparents for over a week—I cave and upgrade to the biggest plan.

The basic unanswerable question: Is it better to just do the thing that will make things easier for him, or to allow him to deal with his situation? If I don't spend the extra money, will he "learn his lesson"? Will he be better for it? Will he learn new strategies for dealing with boredom or anxiety? Or, on the other hand, will he just decide that traveling and doing new things and stepping out of your comfort zone sucks?

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:38 pm 
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i think the one thing i never really realized about parenting til after having a kid is that parenting is just one long series of fork ups and you wonder "should i have done the other thing?"

i always felt growing up that my parents knew what they were doing but as a parent i am completely clueless.

BP is so scared of everything and anxious and has sensory issues and im always stuck between getting her to try things and be successful and pushing her too far.

we took her to a carousel on vacation knowing she probably wouldnt want to go on it but thinking once she was on she would love it (a very typical pattern for her, usually the anxiety of the idea of something is way worse than the reality of whatever it is).
she cried the whole time like we were trying to kill her and im pretty sure we just traumatized her and she wont go near anything resembling a ride for several years.

so yeah i have no idea what would have been the better idea. my kid is only 3 so i cant even imagine parenting a teenager at this point. maybe by the time my kid is a teenager we'll all have been converted to robots and i wont have to worry about these unanswerable questions.

that's really cool that he's in Rome though. i went to France for 2 weeks when i was 17 with a school trip and it was really awesome and definitely a great experience in my life. it's cool that he gets to spend the time with his grandparents too. id like to say something like "he'll get over it and have a really great time and see what an amazing experience you gave him, etc etc etc" but i know for a fact i would be feeling exactly how you feel right now.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:57 am 
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I can imagine that always giving in to a whining demand could cause a spoiled child who whines all the time, but never doing so is just awful parenting. Many complaints are for legitimate reasons and not remedying those situations is cruel. The small data plan was optimistic hoping that he'd be out and about instead of using his phone. It sounds like the optimistic plan didn't work out, but was certainly worth trying. I wouldn't second guess those decisions. You can't force your children to behave how you want.

I feel like I was an awful kid who resented my parents for taking me to plays and just wanted to play video games 24/7, but I'm happy to say that I'm a very different adult.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:04 am 
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My limited outside perspective is: chompy will probably grow up to be a perfectly lovely human whether you give in to the big data plan, or tell him tough luck this time kid, either go experience the world or else find a book to read. I can totally understand why, feeling out of his comfort zone and possibly homesick and probably technology addicted like most people (including myself) he would want the security and connectedness of his phone, and I don't think that's bad, but I also think some discomfort and boredom lead to growth and exploration. So basically I think both your initial instinct, and the upgrade, seem perfectly reasonable.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:40 am 
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Thanks, people.

From the few texts I get from him every day, it sounds like things are fine. I mean, except for the phone thing, he has no complaints. Things are "good." So now I understand what being in Rome is like: it's "good."

(But Mrs. Face said he texted her saying he felt guilty about the phone upgrade business.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:06 pm 
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I think you did great Footie! Teenagers are supposed to be individuating by pushing against our limits, and it makes them such crassholes sometimes, just because they have no perspective.

When I was a teenager, I remember a lot of eye rolling that we weren't in a more expensive or swankier hotel with a better pool. I definitely didn't appreciate all the privileges and awesome trips and stuff I was being given. We once went to Greece and my sister and I were so bitter that our mom made us march around seeing the sights, instead of hanging out in the pool. Of course, years later, that is one of my favorite trips and my best memories are from walking around to see the sights. And the after college, I became a poor backpacker staying in cheap hostels and remembering all the swanky places my parents used to spring for, and realizing just how much those things cost!!!! And now to come full circle, I'll take L out on an expensive and awesome excursion, and she'll throw a fit that she can't buy one more thing at the store. But it doesn't make sense to expect gratitude from someone who has no perspective on how other people live. And I can't demand her gratitude, though we do have conversations about focusing on the things that we enjoy and are grateful for, instead of on the things we don't have.

I also think you did the right thing with the upgrade, just because there are so many bigger things to fight about and you have to pick your battles. If you can afford to give in on something like the data plan, it makes sense to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:42 am 
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Sounds like a win to me. He got what he wanted and is having a good time in Rome and he also feels a little guilty for getting the upgrade. win-win. :D

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