… from the bungalow

12 days that amaze, Day 10: Know when to walk away

3 Comments

This is the tenth of 12 “amazing” installments of “12 days that amaze.” I am pushing myself to write 12 posts about things that amaze me leading up to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser in Chicago that Karin, Deb and I are participating in. In doing so, I must also be open to the everyday amazing things that happen around me.


We had a bit of a rough night here at the bungalow. I’ve come to dread bedtime. I mean, I need and love the time that I get once they’re all in bed and asleep, but the whole “bedtime routine” is generally a fiasco. I shared my frustration on the Facebook page:

Can’t do it tonight, folks. I just can’t bring myself to write anything inspiring. I had really hoped to write about something amazing for 12 straight days, so I won’t say I’m not disappointed. But that’s life, I guess.

It seems like bedtime is a gorram fiasco more often than not, and tonight is one of those nights. I’ve spent all the energy I had on my child, and about 45 minutes of my time. I had to wash my hands of it and walk away. Some days it’s just too much, you know?

Dadgummit, blah.

Well dang it if I’m not going to write a post anyway. Some of you commented with great words of encouragement like this: “I take inspiration from good parents knowing when to walk away.” (Thanks for that, Shannon.) Nicole suggested it’s amazing I didn’t defenestrate the little bugger. This, too, pretty much sums it up.

We’re learning about Parenting with Love and Logic, and most days we do a pretty good job of letting empathy and natural consequence provide the lessons, but sometimes we lose our patience. There’s a big adjustment period, and the kids will pull out the big guns if they see we’re not engaging with them.

What kills me the most about my middle son is his stubbornness and apparent inability to take personal responsibility for his feelings and actions. But he’s only 6 going on 7, and he’s had to handle a lot for a little kid. They all have.

At any rate, he insisted on cutting me off, arguing everything I said, and blaming me and Karin for his behavior. After about 45 minutes I got pretty fed up. I cussed a couple of times, but apologized later for it. When I had given him almost an hour of my evening time and much of my energy, I told him sincerely, “The sooner you accept that you’re not having any more water–yes, this was all over not drinking enough water before getting into bed–the happier you’ll be. It’s silly that we’re still having this conversation over water.” He told me to “just leave,” so I did. I said goodnight and left it at that.

Now, I know some of you will wonder why I put up with a demanding, whining, arguing kid for the better part of an hour over a drink of water. But this happens on a regular basis. It’s not really about the water. We’ve established a clear agreement wherein he is allowed to drink as much water as he needs before actually climbing into bed. Once he’s in bed, drinks are no longer an option. He uses it to delay bedtime and exert his will over ours, so we came up with our agreement. There’s no waffling on an agreed upon arrangement. Sorry.

We’re trying very hard to teach him personal responsibility over his actions and emotions. It can be pretty frustrating.

So, could I have handled things better? Absolutely. Did I do the best I could in that moment? I think so. Even when it feels like all you can do is to cut your losses, knowing when to walk away can be pretty empowering, and that’s an amazing thing.

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Author: Chris

A dad with a self-evaluation complex. Also a music therapist, college enrollment administrator, and hippie-nerd.

3 thoughts on “12 days that amaze, Day 10: Know when to walk away

  1. I just read this, Chris…I’ve been sicker than sick with a cold that just won’t leave me alone-been almost two weeks. Anyhow, I’m just thrilled to read a post about THIS. Meaning, a post about the frustration some times that we deal with over things that to us are just ridiculous. I have arguing matches with my girl usually once a week or once every other week that go beyond the depths of tolerance. She most definitely exerts her will over me, pushes, and pushes, because she knows I will take a lot. Then, when I’ve finally had enough and lose my temper and yell, it only escalates the issue. I end up having to take a “mommy time out”. She gets this now, and she also knows this means she’s gone too far. These tantrums typically happen at night, when I’m pooped (and she is, too), just before her bedtime. At eight years old, she is finally learning to apologize on her own for her behavior and calm herself down, but it’s been and is still a long haul. I went through much, much more of this from ages 4-7 after we had some major change happen in our lives. As things stabilized, so has she. Anyhow, I’m rambling, but I get it, I commend you for writing about it honestly, and your little guy-he’ll get it as long as you stay the course, which I can tell you and your wife will. Here’s to a good sleep tonight-it’s almost shavin’ time! 🙂 Hugs-SWM.

  2. If it’s any consolation, I have always found the age of 5-6-7 to be an extremely argumentative age for most kids. It’s that unfortunate stage (lol) where they really start to solidify ideas and opinions, and realize they have a right to express them. Harrison will try to argue with me over anything and everything right now. (Like, “hey harrison, the sky is blue!” – “oh no, you stupid silly adult, it’s obviously purple!”) And I think the most often spoken phrase in that household right now is “THAT”S NOT FAIR!”. We’ve been love and logic-ing both the kids for years and we still have instances (in fact just yesterday had one) where the kids become frustrated and (sometimes literally, like yesterday) run screaming from the room! I love Love and Logic, though, really and it sounds like you and Karin are doing a great job!

  3. That’s not fair, is something my husband and I hear everyday. and my kids are 8-6-5-n 3 and the older three are the ones that argue over everything. I love hearing what other parents are going thru to know that we aren’t the only ones dealing with arguements over nothing and and the TALKING BACK!!!! ugh. The world we live in now makes it so hard to be a parent sometimes.

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