Maydays, Mexican standoffs and Mario coins

I can see the signs that my daughter, having been recently collected from Kindergarten is struggling. A crash is on the horizon. My son says ‘mayday mayday’ and cues the music- Elton John: Bennie and the jets!

Do you ever feel your child is 800% better behaved for everyone else except you?

I hear about all the beautiful qualities of my daughter, such as she is kind, thoughtful, caring and so quiet. I also see a kind, thoughtful and caring girl but one that is a LOUD, strong willed and a high spirited negotiator that could be an future lawyer or politician! One who organises our household, sings Frozen at the top of her lungs at 5am and makes a mean frog in the pond. I am sure many outside of my family wouldn’t believe me if I said that she stomps her feet and insists on chocolates and ice cream for tea! And when she gets served spaghetti bolognaise there will be an exchange for half an hour about how when she is a mother she will let her children eat anything they want (from a 4 year old).

I notice like a switch her behaviour changes for me compared when she is with her father, brother, grandparents and close friends. Within a short space of time I find the two of us in a Mexican standoff or an explosion of emotions of hurtful words, spiting, hitting, scratching, throwing and self destruction. I find myself scratching my head, firstly how things got so out of control so quickly even when I use every tool I have in the therapeutic parenting toolbelt and why is she behaving like this to one of the people who love her with every ounce of their being.

This can make me feel puzzled, upset and worried that I am not doing a good job as a parent.

I tell her constantly that she is my world and if only she fully understood the series of ‘miracles’ that brought us together as a family and that the middle name we gave her means ‘complete’. She completes our family beautifully.

And then if I am away from her for half an hour during exercise, she clings like a hawk.

I can’t even shower without her needing to hold my hand!

Rest assured – our child’s misbehaviour in front of us is not a bad sign. It is simply a sign that you have created a safe space for your child, where they feel comfortable and can express their natural emotions or needs.

The very fact that your child feels free to express himself in front of you is a sign that you’re doing something right. Keep up the communication channel between you and your child, so they can always be assured of your support and unconditional love.

When your child throws a particularly bad wobbly moment in front of you, see this as an opportunity to add to what my son calls the ‘Mario bank’.

A huge fan of Super Mario brothers, anytime you respond with warmth, compassion and send a message of ‘I am seeing you, and if this is your worst I still love you unconditionally’ adds to the bank of coins in your childs self confidence. However, if you send a different message then all those coins you have built up can bounce around and spread out in front of you.

Do you ever feel your child is 800% better behaved for everyone else except you? How does that make you feel?