I am having teenage conflicts with my daughter right now. She is not a teenager. She is not even a tweenager. She is four. She is four years old and causing me such angst that I've been lying awake at night trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong and what I can change to make her behave and if that older couple at church who thinks she's so cute might want to adopt her.
She is what the psychology books like to call "strong-willed." She is what I like to call "a brat." Up to this point in my life I thought that bratty kids were the product of too much indulgence. Wishy washy parenting. Push-overs. Never being said no to. Having ice cream for breakfast and presents whenever you stomped your feet.
I DO NOT DO ANY OF THESE THINGS.
I consider myself a good parent, and by good I mean that I make my kids eat their fruits and vegetables, I limit their TV time, I don't allow them to run through the neighborhood with no coat and shoes in January (and this is a real example from my neighborhood, I kid you not), and I actually enforce discipline. I say no way more than I say yes, and I follow through on consequences.
So what gives? Why does this method work fine on my second child while making my eldest child so horrible that her teachers at school have had to talk to me no less than five times this school year? About PRESCHOOL. She isn't mean. She isn't snotty. She isn't belligerent. She's actually very charming and cheerful. She is just very very sure that her way is the way things should be done and if you don't agree with her, she will explain it to you until you do. Or until you jump off a bridge just to end the discussion.
This tiny, willful, 32 lb package of joie de vivre is making me crazy. She's making me feel like a bad parent. She is making me shake in my boots about the day she turns 13. Because if we can't seem to get along now, what is going to happen once the REAL hormones kick in???!!!!
Normally I feel pretty confident about my parenting. I managed whole classrooms of six, seventh, eighth, and ninth graders for six years without any problem. But this child has thrown me for a loop. So if anyone has any books that they highly recommend that will instantly make my daughter into a saint, please feel free to list them now.