A few days ago I took my five kids to the grocery store. My 20 year old had asked if she could prepare dinner that night. She picked out a recipe and made a list of the items we needed. Somewhere between home and the parking lot, something happened. It’s a pretty short drive, perhaps a mile and a quarter. At any rate it usually only takes five minutes to get from my driveway to their parking space.
What happened? A switch in Piper flipped. This is nothing new. She is eight years old. It’s been happening for approximately eight years. No joke.
When I pulled into our parking space and put the truck in park, she decided she didn’t want to be there. Not only did she not want to be there, she wanted to make everyone miserable. We needed groceries. I was determined this would not happen. She stormed off in the parking lot. I called her back. Someone looked at me sideways, like you do when you see people at the store who can’t control their kid(s). When Piper finally came back, I informed her that we would be going into the store. She would hold on to the cart the entire time and she would not misbehave.
I’ve often been called a dreamer. They may be right.
Piper responded by kicking the truck. She muttered under her breath the entire time we were in the store. I’m pretty sure she said some not so nice things about her brother. Somehow we survived, all of us intact, and we even got all the groceries we needed. This did nothing to improve her mood, she carried it all the way home and practically to bedtime.
Like I said earlier, this is not the first time. Piper is stubborn and headstrong. She thinks she can control those around her. Her mama (me) is stubborn and headstrong, but I’m old enough to know that I can’t control anyone.
I’d like for my kids to be well behaved. I want them to be the kids who shine their halos, quietly, while I grocery shop. I really want them to do everything I say when I say to do it. Dreamer!
To some, it looks like I can’t control Piper. You know what I would say to those people?
You’re right. I can’t. Not only that, I can’t control my other four kids. Not one of them. They are humans. They are their own person. They each make their own choices and they each have the ability to choose between right and wrong. Four of my kids behaving nicely and helping little old ladies across the street does not indicate that I have ANY control over them. It only shows that they are choosing to exhibit desired behaviors. No matter what I want, they still make decisions about their behavior. (even if it comes naturally to them) Their wonderful behavior does not give me an A+ in parenting. Likewise, Piper’s undesirable behavior does not give me an F in parenting.
I know that there are parents who think that we need to have total control over our children. I don’t agree, only because I know that the only person I have full control over is myself. I was a teenager when I finally realized that my parents did not have the power over me that I thought they did. I was still making choices about my life every single day.
I have friends that say I will survive Piper, as they have survived their children. There are days I doubt this… VERY MUCH! Piper is a wonderful eight year old who pushes my patience to its limits on a regular basis. She makes bad decisions. These bad decisions sometimes embarrass me. I wish she would choose to shine her halo in public. Internally, I sometimes wish I could control her, but eternally I don’t. I don’t ever want anyone to have control of her. I want her to have control over herself. This is going to take time, patience, and the realization that someday it will come.
Have you had or do you have a difficult child in your life? Care to share your story of survival with me?