"Daddy, we used to play together, and now you just hit me"
I come to you all, cap in hand, seeking guidance.
Those are the heartwrenching words of my daughter last night.
It was 8:30pm. It had been a long day, and I was very much looking forward to the highlight: some bedtime stories with my girls, and then turning in.
We had returned from the park, and they wanted to play more, but it was bedtime. I asked them to get ready. Younger daughter started to change into jammies, but older daughter sat on the side of her bed, and announced with a big smirk that "I'm not going to bed", and ran away.
I chased her, and attempted to reason with her. Told her she could stay up later when she was able to get up on her own in the morning. Told her that her bedtime was passed. No dice. She continued to run away, until I cornered here, and put her in an armlock, and marched her back to her room.
Resumed conversation there, and tried to rationalize. More overt defiance. She tried to run away again, and I twister her arm behind her back and manoevered her back to her bed.
She burst into tears : " We used to play together and now you just hit me"
I was a stay at home dad for a spell, and me and her used to be quite tight. But then the girls went to school, and wife and I went back to work. I have a flexible working arrangement, but wife is a workaholic, and it puts a lot of pressure on the family. I look forward most of all to doing stories at the end of the day, and tucking my daughters in, and now this is lost to me.
I have a problem dealing with my daughter's defiance. Particularly when I'm tired. I never lose my temper, but if at a standoff, will resolve with strongarming my daughter into compliance.
Yes, it sucks.
How did I get here? I don't know. Never was that way for me at home. I guess it's just the fallback position when all else fails - As it so frequently done.
It's odd, as I've been exposed to a lot of mindful parenting practices via books Kohn, Markham, Coloroso. But still I end up in these situations... and according to my daughter, it's become the standard.
I need to find a better way to address/avoid these situations, so I don't end up reaching for the very blunt and ugly tool of violence.