The scenario: It's after dinner and the kids and I are playing a round of Disney Candy Land. Everyone is happy, we're all taking turns, and even David is enjoying the action. Then Kendra picks the card that sends her back to Cinderella's Glass Slipper, which is at the beginning of the board. She throws a fit saying she's going to lose and she's quitting, and then she crawls off and hides behind the rocking chair.
My reponse: I thoroughly raise my voice and chastise her. I tell her that you don't quit just because you're losing, and the whole point is just to have fun spending time with your family. (The irony meter was inching higher at that statement.) I tell her that she's not quitting, she will come back and finish the game, and I threaten her with a loss of priveleges if she doesn't obey. Kendra returns and sullenly plays with us.
A few minutes later, Kendra asks this: "Mama, how come you're nicer to everyone else than you are to your own family?"
Thankfully, I didn't react in anger, which would have only emphasized her point. But it's true, I am nicer to my friends, to strangers, and sometimes to random solicitors on the phone than I am to my own kids and Kevin. I tried to explain to Kendra that I get frustrated because I expect my kids to obey, to treat each other kindly, etc. When you don't act the way I expect, I said, I sometimes (often) get upset and angry and shrill. I pointed out that she's often nicer to her friends than to her sister and brother, too.
The sad thing is, we were having a much better day today than the last few weeks! We laughed more, baked a batch of Easy Bake Oven cookies, played outside in the sunshine, and I didn't lose it and scream like a banshee once. There was a lot of correcting, but apparently Kendra wants me to be a whole lot nicer about it. Honestly, I'm not sure I can be a full-time nice mom and train my kids well. Something to think on/pray about.