Lately, I’ve been having issues with Z, and they seem to be growing daily. Z turned 9 years old this summer, but in my head I didn’t think I’d have these issues ever, let alone at 9. Z and I are completely different. That fact doesn’t make me not love or even like her, it just makes it more difficult for me to understand her, or instinctively know what would be best to do in each situation. If I was having issues that I’m familiar with, like I did whale I was growing up, maybe I’d know where she was coming from, and therefore how to deal with either disciplining her, or helping her come out the other side having learned a lesson, or many cases, both.
Don’t get me wrong, I love her. I just have zero clue why she is the way she is. And yeah all people are different etc, but Little E is VERY similar to myself behaviour wise, and I guess after one kid being like me, I just assumed that’s how it works.
Z is a performer. She likes (and it feels like she needs) attention. 24/7. She’s loud, makes big movements and is constantly singing, dancing or out with friends. She’s probably currently has more friends than I’ve had in my entire life combined. And that’s not an issue. I’m SOOO glad she has an active social life, and that she can be out playing and loving life instead of holed up in the house with us. Saved me from constantly having to be her audience.
But, when a 9 year old has so many friends, MANY who live within walking distance from us in the park, it feels like it consumes them. She is having sooo much fun while playing with her friends, everything else becomes secondary (if it even crosses her mind).
About a month ago, I found poop on her bedroom floor. Gross right? She 9 and has had proper bowel control since she was like 2. So I discussed it with her super calmly and the issue was just that she didn’t get home in time from her friends to go to the bathroom. We had a discussion about how our body and our hygiene comes before playing and fun. Like the moment you feel you need to use the bathroom, then use the bathroom. Oh speaking of bathroom, she doesn’t wash her hands every time she goes. Then recently I noticed she doesn’t even wipe each time. She just runs in, goes, and runs back out because her friends are waiting. So I’ve had to have a few talks with her about this. When the poop pants came to my attention last month, I really had to go over things like hygiene. Cleanliness. Personal responsibility. All that. I was calm and explained it well, without her getting in trouble. I also reinforced that if she does have something like that happen, instead of trying to hide it, to ask for help. She had poop smeared all over the floor from her attempt to clean it, and the underwear and pants were hidden in her laundry basket.
Fine, we got through that one. But then this weekend she had another situation. Little E went into the bathroom and came to tell me how there’s shit everywhere. The toilet seat, the bathroom mat, the toilet paper roll had poop fingerprints, the shower curtain. THE SHOWER CURTAIN!!! And the garbage can was filled with poopy toilet paper. It’s disgusting. This time, I’m mad. We JUST had this conversation a few weeks ago, about using the toilet when needed, and not pushing it off like it’s unimportant. So this time I made her come home immediately and I made her deal with it. I found out that she hid the dirty pants and underwear in the kitchen garbage (that’s what the smell was) and just put on new clothes and headed back out. She did explain that she had tried to go at her friends, but the dad was in the shower. That, still wasn’t enough for me. Her friends house is less than two minutes away. Once she realized that the dad was in the shower, she should’ve come straight home. So I made her get the pants and underwear out of the garbage and wash them (I can’t afford to get her new clothes every time this happens). Then she cleaned the bathroom and emptied all the garbages. Then finally showered. To discipline her, she was grounded from playing out with her friends for the week after school.
Ok fine. She’s been home since Sunday. Fine. Hopefully we move forward from this right?
Yesterday morning after she went to catch the bus I get a text from a grandma in the park saying her granddaughter has been bullied by Z.
This, this is not tolerated. I was texting the grandma a bit and I have a feeling that either she or what the girl said were dramatized, but rooted in truth. Either way, the situation is happening and it bothered me. I ended up driving to school to pick up Z before the school even started for the day.
I honestly googled different ways to handle if your kid is a bully, to attempt dealing with this in a healthy way. Ie, not losing my shit on her.
I had a long conversation with her… made that long by the fact she didn’t feel she was doing anything wrong at the beginning. I had to constantly bring it back to how the other girl must feel. After a while, she started to come around. She made a letter for the other girl, apologizing and asking to be friends again, which is very important to Z. I took her back to school at lunch so she was able to talk with the other girl.
How she’s been behaving lately makes me as a parent feel like a failure. Like, I should’ve taught her these basic lessons way before the become an issue. And looking back, I have. But I guess I haven’t done it in a way that she absorbs. Tbh I assumed it was enough, because it worked for Little E. But for Z… nothing sticks the way I’d have liked, thought, expected it to. So now, it’s like I’m having to backtrack regarding simple situations and how to navigate through them.
It’s frustrating. And to be completely honest and transparent here, it makes me feel some kinda way about her. Please don’t get me wrong. I love Z. And the things I’ve just described are not the only moments we’ve had to deal with recently. But it becomes a real challenge to strive to feel the same way about a person in general when they are moving in a direction you’ve warned is wrong. Or taught is bad. It’s like they don’t give two fucks about your knowledge and choose to go their own way.
Yes, I 100% want my kids to be their own individuals. With independent thoughts and actions. But I also selfishly want their independent opinions to be exactly what mine are. And Z is fiercely independent with a strong attitude and it’s draining. Like I’m nearing the end of fighting her, but still want to teach her the basics I feel she should know.
It’s a definite catch 22, and I KNOW as the parent it’s my responsibility to keep pushing forward with the right attitude and keep it a healthy relationship. But frankly between you and I, I’m tired. I just want my kids to be perfect without having o deal with these stupid ‘life lessons’ moments. Yes, she’s only 9, but I’ve been her only parent since she was six months. I hoped and prayed that I would be enough. But obviously she’s choosing her own interpretation of what’s right, and I can’t be with her 24/7 to confirm or deny that her choices are good. Most her life I’ve been the only influence and to she the result of my influence create who she is…… makes me feel like a failure.
Im just tryna figure out where to go from here.
Daughter – Pearl Jam