Feel Those Feelings, Girl.

I am enjoying a parenting challenge at the moment. There is a child sobbing, screaming, sobbing. It is the sort of sobbing that begins to trail off and is re-invigorated by my presence. Hence I have taken the laptop away to another room. The sister has put a tv show on the Kindle with headphones, something that I’d normally discourage, but it seems an entirely appropriate choice at the moment. Come to think of it, where are my headphones?

In her mind, this child has been Sorely Aggrieved. The disinterested observer, were she offered a “fly-on-the-wall” view of this household, would likely judge that the parents have been quite understanding and accommodating to both their children in an effort to meet each family member’s desires about plans for this weekend. Some might judge that these parents have been too accommodating to Miss S.A. It is difficult to imagine anyone agreeing with Miss S.A. that she is an injured party. Such a conclusion seems entirely out of whack, completely without basis in fact, distorted beyond measure.

So there is no reasoning with her. In fact, I attempted to solicit opinions on how best to accommodate Miss S.A., but she was so overcome with sorrow and pain about my hostility and hatred for her that I was forced to make a strategic retreat. We’ll have to let this storm pass. I hope that it passes soon, because if I allowed myself to think about it too much, I would become infuriated with Miss S.A., and that would be unproductive. And when Cute W arrives home and I have to update him, he’s also likely to become infuriated, and that, too, would not be helpful. So our immediate goal is to not board the Pissy Train no matter how many times this daughter yells “All Aboard.”

One useful piece of advice I’ve carried with me from some parenting something-or-other is that you can’t argue with feelings. If a child has decided that she is Oppressed and Sorely Aggrieved and Hated By Everyone In This Whole House, there is no way to convince her otherwise. A well-reasoned argument won’t do it. An ice cream cone won’t do it. Documentary evidence of our Deep And Abiding Love won’t do it. Caving in to all of her demands won’t do it, because she’ll just come up with new ones.

So, here we are. She is feeling her feelings. And I am waiting for those feelings to pass so that I can tackle how we’re going to handle this weekend.

Hope your day’s going better than mine!




  1. Erin T

    Thanks for this perspective. I need to remind myself of that feelings advice. Our pre-teens girl told me through tears recently that I only do nice things for her to mask my hatred. It is comforting to know this is a phase shared by parents (I might insert that moms bear the brunt) everywhere.

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