21 May 2009

Lily my Lily

Today my three-year-old went with my parents on a road trip and she won't be home for over a week. We have been rubbing each other the wrong way all week. As the adult, it is probably all my fault. I think there are two factors at work here. I went searching on the internet with an agenda to defend myself: Lily acts out with me because she knows I love her and she can do it with me. (She is a totally different child with my parents.) See said defense:

Q: I have noticed, that as soon as I leave, he is polite, quiet, and happy. THE SECOND I come back, he is whining, angry, etc. What am I doing wrong?

A: The issue is different behavior her son exhibits with her as opposed to with other people. This is a very common one. Some kids choose to test the boundaries of the parent who they are with more than the boundaries of others. I believe this is because they naturally trust their parent more. Even as adults, we have a tendency to take our frustrations out on the people we love the most. I think kids do the same thing. The trust we have with our loved ones causes us to … well … to not be as kind as we should. (credit)

Then, I found a huge amount of information that essentially said "your child acts out because they need attention." Then I thought about the timing of my conflict with Lily-- right after I had been gone for three days-- and how she is so great for my parents-- when she has so much focused attention-- and I started to feel bad. Parent Guilt. (article)

BACK AND FORTH: My Lily was sick for 10 days when she was first born and had a different first week than my other children. She was a baby during the time of heaviest conflict and separation in my marriage. (Back)I always wonder about how these things have affected her. (Forth)Then I read about the 'strong-willed child' and about parents who have a few compliant kids and are floored by a different kind of kid for their third(that would be me)... and I think, no its just the way she is. (Back)Then I read about neediness in children appearing as misbehavior. I think about how I act towards my husband when I want attention- demanding, immature, loud and whiny-- and maybe its not so unusual.

So I have sent my neediest child off for a break from her demanding ways. No, I have sent my neediest child off for some quality, personalized two-on-one time with her grandparents... So instead of feeling relieved of a sometimes heavy burden, I feel bad, which I know is pretty normal for parenthood. {sigh}

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