I tried very hard to impose time-outs in her room with strong-willed Anne. But she invariably spent the time trying to kick the door down, and we would both get angrier, than than calmer. I decided a better approach would be to impose a time out on myself. I gave myself excellent advice, but I have had to learn this lessons hundreds of times for the past 30 years, at work, with my aging parents, with my husbands. I go beyond my limits again and again.
When I can’t stand it, I should go to my room rather than compel Anne to stay in hers. That’s probably the most effective way to deal with endless whining about totally unreasonable demands. I do the girls no favor by permissively allowing them to behave in a manner I ultimately find intolerable and then getting angry at them. Far too often I lhave et them do things I don’t want them to do, only to get disproportionately angry when inevitable mess occurred.
I have to learn to pace myself, to protect myself, to know when to retreat to the bedroom or the bathroom when I am losing it. It is no use pretending they live with a perfect mommy who could tolerate anything. Some strictness is better than ager. In general, I am very easygoing and relaxed about what they can do around the house, allowing them great freedom to explore and create. If I find myself getting intensely angry or irritated, they are probably out of bounds and should be stopped. I should trust my emotions more. I rarely get angry at them without any reason. If I am angry at Anne because I am really angry at John (my husband), I’m fully aware of it. That almost never happens when I’m alone with them.