We have a strong-willed 7-year-old daughter and a laid back 9-year-old son. The daughter had begun to cause absolute havoc within the family. I was often in tears of frustration at the end of the day, with the over-riding thought of ‘I just don’t understand what’s going on. I think I’m a fairly balanced mum and this is not how she has been taught to behave.’ Tantrums, constant answering back and being very disrespectful to me, refusal to follow instructions and a lot of fighting with her brother. The thing that finally made me contact Katherine was the feeling that my son was fading into the background with more and more time spent in his room to escape the near-constant drama.
Katherine came to stay for 3 days and I had the usual worries that I’d have about any house guest; what will they eat, what will they want to do and first and foremost, what if my children decide to behave for 3 days?! Katherine could not have made it easier. She is a very easy guest, and she was right in her assertion that she’d see what she needed to from the children and us, as parents, to ascertain what we could do to improve things.
Over the 3 days, we worked on small changes to our parenting style which has had a big impact. My daughter is still feisty and always will be but the major (and pretty life-changing) point is that I am in control and know what I am doing. As such, I feel calm. I get to the end of the day feeling good about it. The behaviour has improved. I feel like I’ve got my daughter back. We can enjoy time together again instead of battling.
I should have called Katherine sooner.