Three Kids and a Dog

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Changing the Way I Parent

Just last week I came across a post on Facebook titled, "My daughter is not giving me a hard time, she is having a hard time." I had read a very similar article recently and now this second article made my heart hurt for my middle child because it rang so true.

Austen had recently told me that while him and Peyton were playing downstairs she had asked him why mommy paid more attention to Hailey than she did to us? After my initial shock that she asked that, I asked Austen how he answered. He said matter of factly that he told Peyton that Hailey was little and needed more help than they did. Smart kid. However, being a middle child, I knew how she felt. You aren't the oldest that commands most of the attention with all of your activities and you aren't the youngest that needs your parents overseeing most of everything you still do.

So while we had been chalking up her outbursts, her defiance and just generally her bad behavior to her personality saying oh that's so Peyton; what we were missing - what I was missing - is that she is having a hard time. That she wanted and she needed more attention than she was getting and she didn't know how to ask for it or to get it.

It's funny because after I read the first article, I changed how I started parenting her. When she started having an outburst or started becoming defiant, I would show her love by wrapping her up in my arms and talking to her instead of shouting right along with her. Amazingly she responded differently. She calmed down quicker and I could even head off her tantrums before they even got to the point of escalating.

I also started making a point of doing things that Peyton wants to do and having just Peyton time. Whether it's taking her to the store with just me or meeting Tom for lunch with just her, we are making more time for our middle child. She may be our second child but she is definitely not second in our hearts. We love you P!


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