Mother & Daughter by Willowtree
We've been doing a Q&A for quite some time now on the peaceful parenting Facebook page. It is excellent because many others are able to chime in - with their experiences and suggestions that come from around the world (literally). Often times, there are ideas and sources of information that we were previously unaware of. It is good to see parents coming together to empower each other with baby/child-friendly methods and sources of assistance and ideas.
Occasionally, however, there are pressing questions that just cannot be contained into a 120 character count status inquiry. And often times, the same general questions are repeated again and again and again by various parents who come along seeking gentle parenting help. As such, we've decided to move some of the Q&A over to this site as well, so that we might be able to fully expand on parents' questions, and log answers in an off-FB format to easily direct others to who pose similar questions.
Questions sent to us will always be anonymous (unless the question asker wishes to use his/her name) and minor changes may be made to make the question more readable or take out identifying features to ensure privacy in posting.
Today's question comes from a mom in Peru who is struggling with her 'high needs' four year old. We invite you to chime in on the conversation here, as she will be reading comments that others leave.
I feel at the end of my rope. My daughter is extremely difficult and challenging. She was a High Needs baby and now, just turning four, she is a High Needs child. I feel I have done all the things I was “supposed” to do. I am a loving mommy. I had a home birth, I cloth diaper, I breastfed until she was just over 2 years old, she sleeps in our bed after 4am, I wore her as a baby, I am consistent…and yet,
She does not listen.
We have moments (few and far between) during the day where it is nice, but for the most part it is awful. I hate to say that but it is. I am at the point where I am really starting to not like her. It is hard to consistently be loving and fun when she is so hard. We do not have fun anymore because she barely listens to the basics of what I tell her to do (getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting on shoes) everything is a fight. I have increased her preschool hours because I have a really hard time dealing with her. I feel awful saying this. She is my daughter. I want to love her. I want to have fun with her. I have all these things I would love to do…and yet they don’t happen because before we get to them she is having a fit about something.
Part of the problem is that she does not play by herself – for even 10 minutes. It drives me crazy. She constantly has to be with me and needs me to play, read, do everything with her. I am so far behind in my house, cooking, and everything because it is near impossible to do anything with her around. And that makes me resentful too.
I do have another child - a 17 month old son who is the exact opposite of her. He is a delight, he plays by himself, he sleeps, he naps, he smiles. I feel bad because I feel I don’t give him the attention he deserves because I am always dealing with her. I also feel bad because I feel I am starting to favor him – which I know is an awful thing to do.
Please, I am reaching out to other holistically minded moms for help. I am at the end of my rope with her and just don’t know what to do or where to go from here.
The book, Raising Your Spirited Child, may be of interest to parents facing similar situations. Other gentle discipline and parenting books can also be found here.