8 Oct 2015

Why won't they listen?

There have been changes aplenty since Becky started school. But one of the most noticeable ones is her sudden lack of ability to listen. At all. It's a marked departure from her usually predominantly good behaviour, and it’s really starting to grind on me!

Of course it’s a given that kids don’t have any sense of urgency and that as a parent you often have to repeat yourself several times before it registers with your little ones. But right now, every day, I sound like a broken record! From the moment she gets up and I have to remind her multiple times to come down for breakfast through having to nag her again and again to get dressed, put her cardigan on, her shoes, her coat through trying to manoeuvre her out of the door and into the car to getting ready at bedtime and having to tell her over and over again to brush her teeth, get changed, put her toys away … You get the picture. It’s tedious and time consuming and really frustrating, actually.

It’s as if she has suddenly gone partially deaf or worse still, as if she’s turned into a teenager prematurely. And I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet! 

I’m aware that I’m probably not handling it very well, namely losing my patience and shouting at her after the 100th time I’ve had to tell her something over and over. Or giving out threats like “no iPad”, “Barbies going in the bin” (which they have indeed a few times now, only for me to fish them out later! I’m an example of resolve!), “no bedtime story” etc. And when I do put my foot down and carry those threats out, we have major meltdowns and tears, which further delays everything and doesn’t help the overall situation.

Whereas before I would just have to say something like “where have you left your listening ears? Switch them on, please!”, at which point she would laugh and obey, now I just get a cheeky: “I’ve left them in the toy box, mummy!”. Aaaarrrrgh!

I’m turning into the Mum I don’t want to be. Her behaviour is turning me into the Mum I don’t want to be.

Shouty Mum.

Grumpy Mum.

Impatient Mum.

And I’m not quite sure what to do about it. The threats aren’t working. Would rewards for good behaviour work instead? It’s something I’m currently contemplating long and hard. The other thing I’m going to introduce - one of John’s ideas - is to buy her a nice clock and explain to her where she needs to be and what she needs to have done by a particular time (she is already quite good with clocks and times, and hopefully strengthening this will be another positive side effect), whether that’s dressed in the mornings or her teeth brushed in the evenings, so if she faffs, she can tangibly see that she is running out of time and that in turn there will be consequences she doesn’t like. Hopefully this will give her some sense of independence and understanding. We’ll see. It’s just an attempt to get some kind of handle and control back over the situation.

At least she doesn’t seem to be the only one doing this right now. I was talking to a couple of my mummy friends at the school gates this morning, and they all said that their little ones are exactly the same and that they have all also turned into shouty mums *thank goodness for mummy friends and mummy solidarity, ey?*. 

My friend Hannah has the theory that they listen so much at school all day every day now that they literally lose the ability and concentration to focus or listen to anything else. She might be onto something.

I just hope it won’t last. Because I’m getting pretty bored of saying the same thing over and over!


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