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Friday, April 23, 2010

Help, I'm Raising a Broccoli-Eating Brat!

So I'm working on making piece with my family's eating habits (hard right now since Little A has decided she pretty much won't eat anything except watermelon and rice cakes now!)and trying to appreciate the fact that Big A will generally eat her veggies. Unfortunately, I feel like, aside from modelling a fairly healthy lifestyle, I'm failing her as a parent. In fact, I'm thinking when I finally have my counselling practice, I should put a disclaimer on my business cards and website stating that I help people having difficulties bringing a child into the world but that I can't help with difficulties of raising that child once he or she is here, because I have NO expertise in that area.

With Little A turning one yesterday, Big A's jealousy has become overwhelming. And while I suppose that, as well as her resultant petulance, is normal 3 year old behaviour, the truth is, she has been an incredibly difficult child since she was 18 months old. But only for Adam and I (and sometimes her grandparents). Big A is an angel at daycare. Since she was a toddler, her teachers have been shocked by her two-sided personality (sweet and cooperative until I come to pick her up and she becomes obnoxious, disrespectful and defiant)and made comments about how I need to be tougher with her. This week her teacher warned me that I better nip this in the bud before it gets out-of-hand. Well I'd say it's BEEN out-of-hand for a long time and I don't know what to do! She walks all over me no matter what I do. Punishments, bribery, positive reinforcement...I've tried it all. She clearly doesn't respect me at all. When I tell her to do something or not to do something, she completely ignores me.

I once asked one of the pediatrician's that works with Big A's doctor for advice. He said her behaviour is normal and I should be grateful that she misbehaves for me and not for others. While I admit that would be worse, it doesn't make raising this child any easier.

In one of my courses, we looked at how human development is shaped by both social/environmental and biological factors. I realize that Big A may be genetically programmed to be the way she is to some degree, but there is no doubt that parenting styles have a significant impact on a child's development. Clearly I am not doing something right. I've tried reading books and talking to my friends and I've gotten some great ideas. Some have helped and some have not. But ultimately, not much has changed. There are parenting experts in Toronto who offer counselling but I consulted one a few months ago and it is way too expensive. So I really don't know where to turn for help anymore. If anyone has any ideas, please lets me know!

Stay tuned for a new recipe I'm trying out tonight. If it's good, I'll post it tomorrow.