She’s leaving home.
My 7 year old daughter has formulated a new strategy in the battle to always get her own way and it is a cunningly brilliant approach.
At first glance ‘moving out’ might seem like a fairly unconfrontational strategy in this battle. It may seem like my daughter is taking some time out, removing herself from the situation so she can calm down, focus and regroup before coming back to the situation in a mature way….and for some children this might be how it works.
Unfortunately for us, Faith’s winning strategy uses the threat of public parental humiliation as her trump card..and this makes it hugely effective!
It started with the incident pictured above when, in a fit of peak (and during a substantial rainshower), she announced that ‘everyone is being mean to me, so I am moving out!’ Five minutes later, the front door banged and when I went to see what the commotion was (yes, maybe I should have responded a little earlier, but I was preoccupied thinking of new ways to torment my offspring) I discovered that Faith had found an inventive way to utilise the large box that she had found in the recycling bin (I think Pinterest might describe this as ‘upcycling’ but Faith may not be familiar with this term).
On my doorstep, half in and half out of the rain, I discovered my 7 year old daughter huddled in her ‘new home’ with her trusty sidekick ‘Sparky’. When my attempts to placate and cajole her to return to the bosom of her loving family failed (and yes, quite possibly around the time I started to get a little damp from the continuing rainfall) I gave up, closed the door (leaving it off the latch: I am not a monster!) and went back to what I was doing.
Peace returned and I admit, I may have momentarily forgotten that she was out there, but 20 minutes later, my husband went to put out the recycling and found our nomadic child on the doorstep (a rather large, rather grumpy foundling, if you will). Convinced he could persuade her in from the cold, he set about using his finely-honed negotiation skills to talk her round, but as the situation escalated and the screams of ‘I am never coming back there!’ wafted through from the hallway, I couldn’t help but stifle my giggles. When she was finally dragged kicking and screaming out of the rain, I thought that would be the end of it: just another amusing tale to add to the collection.
My amusement was short-lived however, when only a few short days later, after an altercation over whose turn it was to feed the
(damn) guinea pigs ( wish we had never got them; they are more trouble than they are worth, but didn’t I always know that would be the case) Faith once again decided it was time to up sticks and leave home. This time, there was no husband around to give the dirty job to and I was the one forced to prowl our street attempting to circle my prey and head her back to my waiting jaws (or the front door, in this instance). Now I started to see the brilliance of her strategy, for what self-respecting parent would NOT want to keep their family laundry firmly within the confines of their home? What self-respecting parent would NOT seek to avoid yet another embarrassing spectacle in the street? What self-respecting parent would NOT attempt to circumvent potential crises and protect their neighbours from their 7 year old’s screaming tantrums?
Whether by accident or design, Faith had stumbled upon a strategy that would force her parents to listen to her concerns. No longer could we employ the formerly effective (and – let’s face it – reasonably effortless) strategy of ‘ignore her ’til she calms down’. Now SHE had wrested control of the situation. SHE was He-man in this new world and SHE had the power!