Our First Major Parenting Blunder

23 09 2006

No parents are perfect, and I think so far we have done a pretty good job. Our kids are happy, friendly, well mannered, courtious and have a lot of fun with us. While we have certainly made minor mistakes in dealing with the kids, I think so far, none of them have the potential to do as much harm as this first major blunder.

The last couple of weeks, and especially the last couple of days, my wife and I have been completely swamped with things to do. Since we decided to sell the house and get it ready for the market, there are now a lot of home chores that need to be done.  My wife has also been getting many jobs, so she hasn’t had as much time to spend with our kids as she would like.

The last few days, as mentioned, have been especially tough for us and the amount of time we had for the kids was extremely limited. We tried to let them play, but they keep coming up to us, and inturrupting our work. Looking back, this seems to be an obvious cry for parental attention. At the time, however, we were more short with Eliana that we should have been. My wife has a very short fuse, and Eliana knows exactly how to light it. There are many times when Eliana gets bored with me and goes to visit my wife upstairs. Only a couple moments later, I hear loud screaming followed by some crying. It’s like a child warzone.

I was pretty short with Eliana as well because lately she has been missing her bed time. Normally, she would get ready for bed, and be in bed (if not asleep) by 9pm. We usually try to start getting her ready (change clothes, brushing teeth, etc) at 8pm. Since we were short on time, we also missed our preparation time, and caused her to go to bed later (that, and our recent trip to Portland wasn’t helpful for her bed time habits either). So, when Eliana didn’t go to bed, I became upset that she seemed to me to be trying to stay up longer.

Eliana is also having some problems doing her business in the bathroom. Most of the time, she doesn’t make it when the solids want to come out. Most the the time, and this is what lights our fuses, is that she doesn’t want to go. We hate cleaning up her poopy underwear, and out comes more screaming (that is mostly from my wife).

The recent screaming and incorrect reactions had an effect on Eliana, and we were told about this by her school teacher. Yesterday when we picked her up from school, on our way to Tucson, and her teacher mentioned that she has been quiet the last couple of days, and that she hasn’t told the teacher when she needed to go to the bathroom. She was a lot less talkative than usual. We instantly knew what we had done wrong. But, if we didn’t have a teacher there (a third party who knows our childs typical moods as well as us), we probably wouldn’t have known about it until it became a real problem.

On the drive to Tucson, we tried to talk and play with Eliana, but she was indeed, not very talkative. We let her watch her video for a while, and she became a little more relaxed as time when by. We made an effort in the car to talk, and ask her questions about the video she was watching. By the time we dropped her off at my parent’s house, she was talking and acting like normal.

This whole experience has shown me and my wife that we need to give Eliana attention when she needs it. Luckily this was a short term experience for her, and we are able to quickly resolve it with some quick actions.  I am hopeful we can avoid this kind of experience in the future, and I’m completely hopeful that this does not turn into a long term trauma for Eliana.




One response

23 09 2006

Saul, Children are very resilient. Eliana will bounce back. You and your wife keep up the good work.

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