Am I not doing it right?

I can’t sleep because this feels like a brain-mite, slowly eating me up.

I have never been the parent who blames another child for how my daughter reacts or responds. It has always been “It’s my daughter. She could have been more … or perhaps done things differently’ But recently, I find myself leaning towards noticing my daughter mirror the negative behaviour traits of her friends. I tried so hard to ignore but it seems to be getting worse by the weeks.

For the past 3 weeks, my husband and I have been noticing my daughter imitate the tantrums, screams and whines of her friend. My daughter is 4 years old. Her friend is 5. He has the tendency to frequently scream, whines and gets his way within 5 minutes, throw toys and even slam the door while his parents are trying to reason with him. Thus far, I have seen my daughter mimic the screams and whines. Exact same posture, tone and even length of scream to test how long we, as parents would tolerate it. She has noticed her friend’s parents throw in the white flag within minutes. Perhaps she thought it would be the same for her. BUT.SHE.THOUGHT.WRONG.

My husband and I never gave in. But we noticed that she has been having random tantrums, tries to scream to prove her point, keeps using ‘But I want…”. She seems to have no respect for her teachers in the enrichment classes. She goes for Art and Swimming lessons, outside of her usual school days. She seems to only care about putting on a perfect image for her school teachers. She does not seem to care about discipline with her enrichment teachers.

Just today, we gave her a prep talk before her swimming lesson. ‘Put your swim board on the deck, listen to coach and safety first’. To which, she said ‘Ok Mama.’ And when she reached the pool, she started jumping on her swim board (she has never done that before), refused to enter the pool safely and was reprimanded by coach.

I felt embarrassed. I didn’t say anything. That was coach’s turf and she was good with disciplining the kids. So I let her deal with my daughter. But I felt very troubled. I keep asking ‘What’s happening to my 4 year old?’ I am trying to reflect and connect the dots. But there seems to be a missing link. I am totally at a lost. I do not know what caused this sudden shift in her behaviour. Is it me? Am I not doing it right? Is she trying to prove something?

A friend recommended a few books to read, on parenting calmly and dealing with the tantrums of a 4 year old. I sincerely hope that book helps. I really need a different perspective. We have tried to scold, punish, take away rewards and TV times. We even tried reasoning and and trying to meet in the middle. We are trying so hard, or at least I feel we are trying. I keep thinking, ‘We did not behave as such when we were young, what is happening to the kids these days??’

Everyone has different parenting styles and we should not judge. I need to know what works for us as a family. There is so much trial and error. ‘Lets try this. Lets try that’ It is either a hit or a miss. It used to be a hit, now we can’t seem to get it right.

I do not want to feel like a lousy parent. I want to know I have tried. I just need to know if I am doing it right.