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 Post subject: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:00 am 
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By which I just mean, you know, tales of parental imperfection. Let's try not to beat ourselves up about our mistakes, but learn from them? And commiserate? And stuff?

Tonight was a doozy. Because I knew it was going to happen before it happened, and GlueGun and I had had almost the exact same argument-followed-by-tears before. It was almost like we were reading our lines from the same script!

I don't even want to get into the details, but I feel like I really screwed up. I allowed the situation to escalate until we both felt bad and mad, and I felt (feel) like a shitty father. I didn't guide him very well, or help him cope with his feelings effectively. I let my buttons get pushed and lost sight of the big picture.

This parenting business can be hard! (Even just being human can be tricky sometimes too.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:07 am 
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I think you sound like a great father. Parenting is hard. I think all the time what a shitty parent I am because I lose my temper, raise my voice etc. I always tell him how sorry I am and how much I love him. I make a point to try harder tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:51 am 
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Isn't that really all we can do? I think this time was so discouraging because I watched myself fall into the same exact thing I'd done before, in the same situation.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:09 am 
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And I realized that the little scene we played out was exactly what my mom used to do with me. And which I hated. And still think about occasionally.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:24 am 
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FootFace wrote:
And I realized that the little scene we played out was exactly what my mom used to do with me. And which I hated. And still think about occasionally.


Oh, that's the worst. It makes you feel some empathy for your mom, though.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Last edited by erin32mc on Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:08 pm 
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ugh. parenting is so hard. especially hard ages. I really feel like it ebs and flows from easy to hard, easy to hard.

Three is really hard. Henry is going through a really big not listening phase and he doesn't know how to deal with his frustrations. He throws things, sometimes dangerous things, when he gets mad. I don't know what to do because of the not listening and it normally turns into the two of us just getting upset with one another. ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:58 pm 
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Megan My Dear wrote:
I really feel like it ebs and flows from easy to hard, easy to hard.


totally agree!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Practically every day I question my parenting skills and am left feeling flummoxed as to what I could have, should have done differently. I have two teenage boys and zero contact with my own mother so there is always that little voice in the back of my head saying it could happen with them. Was not prepared for the challenges of this age. Buttons do get pushed for sure. We went to family counseling and were told that if any of us were feeling that things were getting out of hand, or voices were being raised, that we should call a time out on each other. Wish I had some excellent advice other than to say hang in there - nobody's perfect and that it's obvious you care very much.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Sometimes I find myself hoping that caring really is enough.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:02 pm 
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i think caring and our kid knowing that you care is a huge part. i have parents that didn't go to recitals. didn't make sure i did my home work. I was a good kid but that really affected me and my sisters. caring won't keep your kid from being pissed at you but i would rather henry know i love him and be pissed at me then question my love.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:35 pm 
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Megan My Dear wrote:
ugh. parenting is so hard. especially hard ages. I really feel like it ebs and flows from easy to hard, easy to hard.

Three is really hard. Henry is going through a really big not listening phase and he doesn't know how to deal with his frustrations. He throws things, sometimes dangerous things, when he gets mad. I don't know what to do because of the not listening and it normally turns into the two of us just getting upset with one another. ugh.


disclaimer: i'm not at all a parent, and i don't know if this will be useful, but who knows. when i worked with kids who had trouble appropriately expressing their anger (and would therefore start throwing things, kicking things, or hitting people), i'd give them a piece of paper to rip up. i told them that it was okay to get angry and feel like destroying things, we just have to learn to direct that anger so we don't end up hurting people or things that matter.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:36 am 
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This is officially the thread that shall last forever. I will be coming back here.

Footie, caring is not enough but do not worry because it is obvious that you do not *only* care. You are proud. You are supportive. You are strong and contemplative. You don't even need to compare yourself to any other parent, including your own. If we do not struggle (with our children among other things) we do not grow. Plus, this is a time to grow closer.

Now, as for myself, I totally forget all of my philosophical thoughts on the subject, throw my hands up in the air and sometimes cry. One of the hardest parts of parenting a toddler is communicating with the other parent. I am trying not to think too much about the little things and remember that my overall attitude is what will be remembered. I am trying to make a functioning, happy person plus nobody communicates perfectly... or they'd be a dolphin or something, not a human. I am trying so hard to be strong and create the child I want but I really have to be strong enough to realize I am just here to help my child shape into the person she was meant to be.

Thoughts. Too many of them. I think I'll make her toast and fruit for breakfast and start over in the morning.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:04 pm 
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I like your outlook.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:33 pm 
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I really, really like this thread. It's making my day better already.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:21 am 
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Tonight I learned that I'm still not perfect.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:17 am 
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Sprog just turned 11 and the crapola that started around age 7 is mostly under control. We do see things spiral out of control sometimes, usually from nothing, and i totally agree with the implication that both parents have to have their stories straight, since this is what usually makes everything worse in my house.
This weekend I saw Mr Torque lose his shiitake with Sprog, which doesn't happen too often but when it does it is downright scary. I had to put them both in timeout. Usually it's the other way around.

What helps us with Sprog is for her to know that she's going to be moody, she's going to be upset (her birthday last week, which is also her departed sister's birthday, she gets upset, it's normal), she's got normal teenage hormonal shiitake going on, and IT IS OK. You get upset? Fine, take a breath. You cried, big whoop. Breathe. It passes.

Mr Torque doesn't get that she and I will scream at each other for two minutes and then decide to go out for popsicles like nothing happened. But that's what we do. It's never too late to start again.

I guess what I mean to say with the old ramberama is it's never too late for the parenting thing to start either. Nobody was born knowing how to do this shiitake. Keep trying. The fact that you notice that things are repeats of what you did with your own parents is a good sign- it means you're aware and smart enough to feel bad about it. Now you analyze what to do, and take action. I've also seen myself reliving my father (the drill sergeant, the belittler, the violent) and been absolutely horrified. I'm no parent of the year, but I feel like i've come a long, long way from what I used to be.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Great news! I created another situation I can try to do better than next time!

GlueGun: Can you get me some chips?

Me: You can go get them.

GlueGun: Papa! Please! Just go get them!

Me: No, I'm sitting here reading, just like you are. You can get them yourself.

GlueGun: At least get them out for me! That's the hardest part!

Me: That's the hardest part? Fine. I'll get them out.

*I go to the kitchen, take the bag of chips out of the cupboard and put it on the counter.*

GlueGun: I want you to put them in a bowl! I can't do that part right!

Me: I'm going downstairs now.

GlueGun (arriving downstairs to browbeat me for not getting his chips for him): You didn't put them in a bowl! Papa, I can't do that part right!

Me: Yes, you can. Just go get them.

GlueGun: I can't!

Me: A bright eight-year-old like you can take chips out of a bag and put them in a bowl.

*yes, snarky.*

GlueGun (getting frantic): Papa!

Me: If you want chips, go get them.

GlueGun: Papa!!!!

Me: Go take care of your problem.

GlueGun: Papa!!!!!!

*I run upstairs and violently grab a bowl and slam it on the counter and stick some chips in it and come back downstairs, which I'm aware is obnoxious, as well as being frightening to him.*

Me: Here you go. Here's some chips!

*GlueGun crying.*

Hurray for me! Father of the Year! I don't know how to see (and act) past my own frustration. He has this sort of willful helplessness, a certainty that he can't handle this or that simple task. It drives me nuts and he won't budge from it, like he's totally invested in that picture of himself, no matter how absurd it seems. And I'm aware there's also anxiety at work here. He's becoming a perfectionist, so he really is worried (I guess) that he will (somehow) do it wrong. My blowing up doesn't help too much, when you think about it.

So I suck. But next time? Next time I'm going to shine!

Also, Mrs. Face has been in Connecticut tending to her mother and very ill father since the 11th. So GlueGun and I both need some other people to deal with, I think.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:52 pm 
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Well, he came to me after settling down and we (mostly I) talked. And now everything's fine and we'll have no more problems!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:06 am 
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Footie, i think you nailed it- you are single parenting and you guys have the added stress of knowing wifey/mamma is in the middle of bad situation, sounds like you guys both need some others, and for them to pamper you. I'd suggest you guys do what my sister does with her girls- mommy daughter pedicures, but for some reason, i don't think that would be something you guys would enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:17 am 
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jildez wrote:
Footie, i think you nailed it- you are single parenting and you guys have the added stress of knowing wifey/mamma is in the middle of bad situation, sounds like you guys both need some others, and for them to pamper you. I'd suggest you guys do what my sister does with her girls- mommy daughter pedicures, but for some reason, i don't think that would be something you guys would enjoy.

BINGO.
How about going to do something silly? Picnic at the airport (don't know if you're near an airport) and watch planes? Bowling?

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:02 am 
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I think you are awfully hard on yourself. Perhaps next time you can suggest getting the chips together so he can see that he can do it and that you can't mess up putting chips into a bowl. Even if they are on the floor.
Throw some down! Dance on them! Laugh!
I am obviously not a parent.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:40 am 
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pandacookie wrote:
I think you are awfully hard on yourself. Perhaps next time you can suggest getting the chips together so he can see that he can do it and that you can't mess up putting chips into a bowl. Even if they are on the floor.
Throw some down! Dance on them! Laugh!
I am obviously not a parent.


Boy, I'll say you're not! I'd have Child Protective Services on me in a heartbeat!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:59 am 
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But for real, that's basically what he and I talked about when we were making up. But actually going through the actions together is a good idea!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:49 pm 
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I feel for you. I'm feeling extremely imperfect these days as well. It's a really crappy feeling.

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