Ms Action

My sweet oldest, Ms Action, is what one might call a “problem child”. She’s nearly eight and we’re still dealing with tantrums (she has really big emotions, and none of the strategies I’ve employed thus far have been much help). She has a hard time dealing with things changing. She’s really smart, but super hard to motivate to get her school work done. She’s incredibly sweet, but also incredibly stubborn. She can be a fantastic big sister, then turn around and, well, not be.

And lately, I’ve been feeling like a huge mothering failure with her. Between the tantrums, the arguing, the usual 8-year-old attitude, and everything else, I’ve honestly felt like the worst mother in the world.

So, when she came upstairs with a present she made for me, it surprised me.

It was a handmade card, she did all the spelling herself without coming to me for help (a first 🙂 ). In it, she told me she loves me, that I’ve been really nice to her, and that I’m her best friend.  (And all the misspellings of the 2nd-grade variety are just adorable!)

I’m crying again, right now, just thinking about it. I can’t even express how much that little hand-drawn card means to me. It’s the first thing she’s done, start to finish, with no help. And really, the sweetest thing anyone’s ever given me.

I melted. All the frustrations I’ve been feeling slipped away. All the feelings of failure, of not being good enough, the fears that she’s going to reach adulthood and nothing’s going to have changed, just left.

I think we’re going to be okay. I can look back (something I forget to do) and see how far we’ve come. How, just in the past few months, she’s gained so much more control of her emotions. In the middle of it, it’s often so hard to see. She’s not even eight. We still have time. We’ll get there.

I just need to remember – something that’s so hard to do in the heat of the moment – that children are such a blessing. Getting bogged down in the humdrum busy-ness of daily life just makes me lose sight of that.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ubi dubium
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 04:17:29

    I have one of those children too. Her tantrums weren’t really tantrums, they were full meltdowns and lasted hours. They were often provoked by a sudden change in plans, or her having to make a difficult choice, or being frustrated with herself. I found a few things that were helpful.

    First – a book “The Explosive Child”. It’s good for helping parents understand and cope with meltdowns. It was the first thing I read where I felt “yes, someone else gets it!”

    Second, I worked out strategies to avoid triggering a meltdown. Especially, it was important not to spring “stop doing that right now, we need to do this instead” on her. What worked better was more “In fifteen minutes you will need to stop that activity and do this other thing. Here’s a timer set for fifteen minutes so you will know when we are changing”.

    And finally, we did have a psychiatric evaluation for her, and they diagnosed depression, and the medication for that helped her take more control over her emotions, and pretty much ended the meltdowns. It wasn’t a cure-all, but it was helpful.

    Much success with your daughter. Hang in there!


  2. gallandria
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 13:11:56

    Those are her tantrums, exactly. Thanks so much for the book recommendation – I’ll be sure to check it out!

    Thank you so much!


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