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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Yay! Boom! Crash!

thI’m getting tired of doing nice things for my children. Usually, it’s a joy just to bless others, no matter if the reaction is gratefulness or simply their own joy. But when it goes in the opposite direction, that’s where I draw the line.

Every time our family does something fun or special, there are certain ones who respond with happiness… followed by the inevitable boom!… and crash.

The emotional roller coaster goes into full swing with a mother-lecturing-daughterdownward motion that takes your breath away. My take on it is that this displays their inner self-loathing, that they are not good enough to merit anything of pleasure.

Today, I had it. After spending most of the day with the girls’ needs and issues, including but not limited to renewing their U.S. Passports and taking them out in horrific traffic to get haircuts an hour away, Mashenka (15) was nasty to me after the first honeymoon hour of returning home. So I let her know that this would no longer be acceptable.

I let her know three different times:

B02C11894235EC33B26E975FE3F91. Being nasty is never acceptable. (I overheard her telling her sweet, older brother to “Shut up”, which we don’t ever say anyway.) It is particularly unacceptable after you get what you’ve been whining for.

2. You have got to stop being ugly immediately after Mama does something nice for you. It happens. every. single. time. And now is the time to grow up.

3. You are worthy. Your attitudes and behaviors mother-daughter4scream volumes about anger, rage, feelings of worthlessness and rejection. Why not respect yourself enough to allow yourself to enjoy, while simultaneously communicating respect to others, as well?

But we’re stuck, playing the same scenarios and sub-plots time and again. For now, I am pointing out the problem and holding her accountable. She says she understands, while turning around and doing the same thing over and over.

One day….

Thanks, I’m glad we had this talk.


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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    You are right, really you are. It is not acceptable and she needs to hear that from you. I’m sorry it is over and over and over. But, hopefully, it will start to sink in sooner than later. You say you are holding her accountable. I hope there is something she has to do to be accountable when you call her on this behavior. Do you happen to warn her not to boom and crash while she is feeling happy but that she has permission to just enjoy without doing that? In other words forewarning her? I just want to give you some support even though I know you have go through this behavior with her repeatedly.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Sybil. Here’s the long form: I try to “warn” without becoming ominous. In other words, this time, they got their hair cut. I asked if 2″ was too much because they don’t like to go regularly, so the girls have a lot of split ends. They said that was fine. I reminded them that hair grows quickly in the summer… and we’ll be happy with the results? “Yes, Mama.” And then everything breaks loose when they get home and can “confide” in Papa about how terrible they look, and tell half of the rest of the world (brothers, etc.). It goes on and on.

      Papa tells them that they look great, as do the others. We’re working on becoming a united front. Technically, they never said anything negative to me about the hair, just mouthed off to me about everything else the rest of the day. I repeatedly stepped in, told them we’d had a lovely day, getting passports, having the hair done, and not to descend into darkness as usual. (It’s generally the older sister, but the younger picks up tips every day…)

      Last week, I took them both out to buy shoes. Generally, I buy clothes and shoes, let them try them on at home, and then return them if need be. I think that they can’t handle overstimulating situations. Benedetto thought I was not giving them a chance to get what they wanted. I reminded him that to take them out added hours onto the excursion as they pulled everything from the shelves, such as 4″ high heels. He said to tell them not to. (Gee, I never thought of that!)

      So we visited two stores, searched high and low for a pair of dress shoes, and casual, everyday shoes (almost like upgraded tennis shoes–sturdy soles, cute tops). This is because Mashenka insists on wearing her dress shoes everyday– looking ridiculous with jeans, wearing holes in them, and then looking slightly ratty with her dressier outfits. The girls also have espadrilles that go well in the summertime with skirts and capris, along with tennis shoes, water shoes, and slippers-! But the dress and the everyday shoes are the most vital.

      Naturally, I think that two pairs of shoes each and a special outing with Mama would make them happy. I make it lighthearted and reiterate our mission: one pair of dress shoes and one pair of casual shoes each. No high heels, no pulling everything from the shelves, are we agreed? “Yes, Mama…” Last year, I bought Mashenka “high heels” of 2″ or so, she loved them… and wore them about twice. That means we pretty much need flats.

      In we go to the first store, and Sashenka the younger starts pulling everything off the shelves– sandals, high wedges, everything we’re NOT seeking. I asked her to stop a couple of times, then finally instruct her to sit down and watch for now. Mashenka found okay dress shoes, not my choice, but she liked them. I helped her find casual shoes that she liked. On the way to the cash register, both girls start pulling down every shoe in sight… and I told them to keep moving.

      Second store, we help Sashenka find her 2 pairs. She needed lots of assistance since she believes in leaving shoes strewn across the floor, boxes and all, while simply waltzing on to the next try-on. But we got through it, and she didn’t pull down many inappropriate shoes this time. In the final analysis, they were both happy with their choices.

      Then we get home, the girls try on the shoes for everyone. Their audience cheers and tells them what great picks these are. Then Mashenka starts to go downhill in attitude, not about the shoes, but just everything in general. I tell her to stop several times and each time she does… only to start up again. I show her how happy times always seem to be linked to later crashing and burning, and that she’s got to think of herself as worthy.

      In other, everyday situations, Papa may take away electronics, or I may make someone write an essay when they misbehave. In situations that are supposed to be happy (birthdays, outings, holidays, purchases), there have been only the consequences of being confronted, and often the embarrassment of it happening in front of others (if that’s where she started to flip out).

      Do you think we should make additional consequences? (I’d be all for it, but their father, probably not.)

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    No, I don’t think additional consequences are the answer after hearing what is going on in detail. I don’t think (nor do therapists) believe that children know why they misbehave. So asking them why is just getting them to say something. I might have them write why it is rude to leave shoes strewn across the floor in the store. In other words, how their action affects the store employees and other shoppers. Also perhaps they can understand better if you asked if they had some random children in the house and the children got to come in their rooms and touch and pull everything out and leave it. Knowing me, I probably would also say that if they were acting like little girls who didn’t know right from wrong, they would have to hold Mama’s hand the whole time just like a 2 year old would have to. And I would make that happen. Sometimes a child doesn’t have to totally understand what is behind what you want from them, they just have to do it. That is not because you don’t want them to understand, but more that somethings they just can’t put the actions and the reactions together.
    I was also thinking of the crash and burn part after a nice time….I wonder if a totally different approach would break that up, such as if they are miserable they have to tell a joke (clean of course) to the family until at least one person laughs. There are lots of knock, knock stuff and things they could come up with from either joke books or the internet. Just something that they have to do that is a sort of silly, happy thing is the point.

    • avatar admin says:

      I like the joke idea, Sybil. Not that they know any jokes, even when we try to tell them something funny, they rarely get it. But something to change up the whole mood would be great.

      Also the imagining someone coming into their room and messing everything up, or the holding their hand in the store sounds good. Petya and I just heard a story about a junior in high school who kept skipping the first period of school. When the mother found out about it, she marched to the school, found the son in the lobby, took his hand, dismissed his friends and walked him to his first class-! Then she sat there the whole period. Afterwards, he asked how long she would be doing that. She said as long as you’re acting like a 5-year-old and can’t find your class, I’ll be there to help you. He was cured very quickly, lol.

      Thank you for your wonderful suggestions, we really appreciate them. 🙂

  3. avatar Karen says:

    Feeling chatty today. Excellent conversation. Alexandra, your writings lead me to believe that you are a thoughtful and conservative person. Sybil is on target that these (happy gone wrong) cases may not need heavy handedness. (Not that you are doing that.) Making her stop in her tracks and think is a good approach. Does your daughter ever apologize?

    • avatar admin says:

      Yes, she does apologize, and so I see glimmers of hope. Occasionally, her father spurs her to say she’s sorry, and she gets to argue the case that I’m a wicked witch, and then comes to “apologize”. So I’m having to “grow” in a number of ways, too-! But more and more, I believe she may be apologizing on her own. And that’s progress, too.

  4. avatar Sarah says:

    Oh Alexandra, I have just and two of “those days”. With my littlest. We have been having a great summer holiday back in the US the past three weeks but, ugh something has snapped and the RAD and whatever else she picked up in the Sankt P Dom has reared it’s ugly head and I am realing. It was to the point today that I actually videoed on her own iPad one of the many many horrific fits. How one little girl can be so mean and nasty and have such primal screeches is way beyond me and just leaves me afraid for the future. How do you not lose it too when they are particularly “off”. I scares me for the future. She is only 4.

    I also have another question….our agency is barely functioning (iag) and our local social service agency is closed. What about post placements? There is no one to translate, appositile etc. any thoughts? All the best,


    • avatar admin says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry, Sarah. The trigger for your daughter could be anything from a change of schedule to… solar flares? I’m wondering if those storms emanating from the sun, occasionally shutting down internet, gas stations’ abilities to accept credit cards, etc., have some sort of electromagnetic impact on our already-fragile kids?

      Call or e-mail your local Russian Embassy or Consulate. With four Russian kids, we’ve been through the agency shut-downs, etc., and the Embassy was quite helpful. They generally want a licensed social worker, a certified Russian translator, a page of photos with the report, some notarizations and apostilles, and then send it all off to the regional Min. of Science & Education office. To find the region, go to the usynovite.ru site and click on any child in your child’s former region. This “further info” button will lead to the regional address, phone, and fax of their office.

      If your agency is open at all, check in with them. If it’s totally closed, just do it yourself by using the steps above. Hope this works!

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