Belittling and not caring

by Mary
(Melbourne, Australia)

Hi Sara

Firstly thank you so much for providing such an insightful web page. I feel I am not alone in the endeavour of being single and trying to raise 3 children (2 teens, 15 girl, 13 boy and 11 girl).

I think on some deep level I have always carried around a level of guilt for splitting up our family unit about 9 years ago, and on another level have over-compensated by being a very present mother, of doing everything and anything to make my kids lives easier and happier. I know this immediately seems like a recipe for being walked over. But what I've noticed of recent times, say last 12 months, is my kids seem to take me totally for granted, no matter how much I remind them of everything that I try to do, and worse than that, they sometimes disrespect my personal choices about anything from what food I choose to eat to what I wear! I find this insanely frustrating because they seem to be attacking me on a personal level.

Are they testing me as a disciplinarian? I am not very good as disciplining them this is true. I generally would rather pick up after them than stand my ground on punishments like revoking iphones or ipads, etc. These confrontations leave me totally upset, without energy, and the kids just wear me down till they get their way.

I think this is the hardest thing about being a single mum is that you dont have any backup to help you when they start to wear you down when imposing limitations due to bad behaviour, etc.

I am very thankful that they are pretty good kids generally, but I feel worthless and fustrated by their current attitudes to me and my youngest is now picking this up and showing me up in public with scowls and angry words.

I'm totally clueless on how to deal with this situation because I am shocked they should be questioning my own personal choices or attitudes to things....

Your help/advice greatly appreciated...


Comments for Belittling and not caring

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by: Anonymous

I'm exactly where you are with my kids. No respect and yes they take me for granted and show me up to the outer world.
Nothing g I do or say works because the 22 year old picks up her brother and takes him to their fathers where they spread lies about me.
I wish I had an answer but I can help but I'm sending you a world of hugs
we need to be stronger. ❤️

by: MK

Thanks Sara, I appreciate your reply and have been thinking about your suggestion of acting more like a 'director' than 'manager' this really resonates with me and I will seek to try this approach! Also will try to implement the expectations I have of my children better with them...thanks again 🌹

Frustrated is right!
by: Sara

Hi Mary!

So glad you have found the site to be helpful!

Kudos to you for working so hard to make a fun and enjoyable life for your kids! It is certainly not easy.

Boy have I been in your shoes!! It is indeed exhausting and frustrating! Teens are tough, and it looks your youngest is learning by example!

You are on the money in your understanding of what needs to be done. Kids just don't realize everything it takes to make life hum; and when you are really good at making it all look easy, they do indeed perceive it is all easy!

When you take the role of servant, your kids will take the role of master. I invite you to consider embracing the role of Director instead. Think about a director on a movie set. They don't really get questioned, they are in charge, they tell people where to go and what to do, and they have high performance expectations. That is your role.

Your kids need to understand what they have a say about, and what is simply not their call and none of their business. They won't know that until you tell them.

Your kids need to understand that they are part of a family. A team. They have responsibilities. When they fail to comply, they have consequences. Take the ipad and don't feel one bit bad about it. And if they whine, add a day.

It just takes practice. You will learn to stand firm. You aren't doing your kids any favors by not teaching them responsibility and consequences. If you fail to do this, you will have 3 young adults unequipped to survive in the world. This serves no one.

When they start pitching in you will feel so much less stress, and you will have more time for yourself and for them. It's its own reward. Outline for them their daily and weekly expectations, and the consequences of non-compliance; and then enforce the rules. You'll get it. :)

(And look for my new book, The Single Mom's Guide to Effective Discipline...due out early summer 2015.)

Hugs and love!

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