Fighting with my children.


My children fight me a lot.
We have long drawn-out battles over such things as teeth cleaning and washing hands and whether my jewellery should be communal property.
We have skirmishes over buying ice-creams and leaving parks.
We have massive blow-outs over little things, often little plastic things.
But, one thing stands out for me throughout every one of these battles: I simply cannot win.
It doesn’t matter whether they brush their teeth in the end, I still haven’t won. Because the moment we are standing toe-to-toe, I have lost my previous connection to my children.
I have often been advised to keep things calm, use routines and step in at early stages, don’t let things get to the point of explosion. I do try, I really do. But, sometimes we seem to get here anyway.
Of course I want them to be clean and safe and I want them to be pleasant to others and to take care of things. There are non-negotiables in our house. There are boundaries that I have to maintain. But, more than any of that (much, much more than any of that), I want to be on the same side.
I want them to trust that I care about them. I want them to believe that I am protecting them. I want my children to know that all these rules they hate are designed to help them. I don’t want to fight.
And this, I think, is their biggest advantage. I never want to fight, they are more than happy to! I want a connection, they still believe that they can win. I never want to hurt my children, they rather like hurting me.
So we end up here, with the boys storming off and me utterly demoralised.
Whoever wins this, however this latest battle gets resolved (and it will get resolved, of course; once I’ve had a cup of tea and the boys are calmer, we will overcome this latest problem), I’ve already lost.


10 thoughts on “Fighting with my children.

  1. This sounds really hard to deal with, I’m not looking forward to this stage in the parenting journey! But just remember that every time you have a fight and you’re still there afterwards showing them that you love them, you are proving that your connection can’t be broken by these skirmishes. You’re showing them that you’ll stick around no matter how angry they get and no matter how much they try to hurt you. You’re showing them that you are dependable. So, ultimately, you all win. I know it must be hard to believe that at times, but it’s true. You are doing an amazing job!

    • Thank you. I’m sure you’ll know what to do when your little one is older.
      The secure foundation you’re building now is sure to pay huge dividends!

  2. I know this feeling and often feel with you that we are or have been in the same place. I find it really helps to remember that your child is struggling (usually, in our case, with the lack of control) before you answer. Deep breaths and then ‘I can see that you are really struggling with that’ before you or they say anything else. When they respond, whatever they say, smile gently. You might then find you are in a better place to avoid a conflict. As always easier said than done but hopefully worth a try.

    • Thank you!
      I completely agree that often I can help the boys regulate just by keeping myself regulated. Tricky, but an important part of parenting!

      • Soooo tricky. Just read back my comment which looks very self-righteous. I am sure you know all that stuff already! Apologies for any unintended patronizing.

  3. I agree that while at the time it feels like you’ve lost, overall you all win … Because you build and repair and keep on going building and repairing and showing what commitment you have. I hope you know that too and (mostly) manage to keep it in mind at the bleaker moments as well as the easier ones.

  4. I agree with what has been said already – great blog. Great honesty. You are obviously very committed to your children. I hope that when they are older they will read this and other blogs of yours and see the love and commitment you have for them. Striving to do better all the time. Keeping the calm and patience is the hardest part of parenting for me too. Testing times! But you go girl!

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