Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Full-Name Frenzy

As a child, I wasn’t always sure why I was in trouble, but I always knew when I had done something wrong.  My parents, especially my mother, had the habit of using our full names to call us whenever they weren’t happy with something we had done.  As soon as I heard “Amanda Rose Dollak!”, I would tremble and shake.  I would reluctantly run towards my parents’ location, frantically try to figure out what it was I could have done wrong along the way.

Who knew that 3 words could put such fear into a little girl’s heart?  And who knew my own name could conjure up the worst of feelings?

Over the years, I often wondered if perhaps this was the main reason I used to hate my own name.  Either way, I knew I abhorred the way my parents had used my full name in anger and frustration and vowed that if I ever had children of my own, I would NEVER use their names in such a manner.

Yet, here I am, years later, a mother with a 6-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter . . . who is clearly guilty of the full-name shout when my kids get too difficult and won’t listen to anything else.  I don’t resort to this tactic very often, but there are those days that could try even the most seasoned and patient parent.  Typically, those days will go something like this:

Daughter: (running up to me while I’m busy)  “Mommy, he’s being mean to me!”
Son:  (not far behind) “Nah-uh!  SHE started it!!!”
Me:  “It doesn’t matter who was mean first.  You are both fighting, and it’s not nice.  Give each other a hug  and say you’re sorry!”
Both:  (very reluctantly)  “Oooookay . . . Sorry!”  (each giving the other a poor excuse     for a hug)
Me:  “That’s a little better.  Now go play nicely.”

Not even 15 minutes later, I will hear arguing in the next room, so I go to investigate:

Me:  “Okay, what is going on in here?!”
Both:  “Nothing!”
Me:  “I know it’s not ‘nothing’ because I heard it from the other room.”
Son:  “She wasn’t listening to me and playing like I want her to!”
Me:  “You shouldn’t be bossing your sister . . .”
Daughter:  (interrupting me)  “I don’t like him anymore ANYWAY!”
Me:  “Why don’t you two go to your rooms and play separately until you can be nicer to     each other?”
Both:  “FINE!!!”  (storming off to their rooms)

Almost a half an hour I hear the little pitter patter of feet above my head and giggles as they race from one room to the next.  With a sigh of relief that the war has ended, I turn my attention back to the task at hand.  Then, from out of nowhere, shrieks and screams ruin my relieved mood.  I call up the stairs for my kids to come down and tell me what is happening.  But even after I yell at the top of my lungs, I get no answer.  The squabbling only gets louder.

Racing up the stairs in record time, I reach the ruckus, finding my son and daughter in an active tug of war with a toy.  I yell some more to get their attention, but they don’t even acknowledge my presence.  Feeling my patience waning, I knock on the door with a couple loud thuds and then throw the full-name shout out there in all its glory.

Immediately, the chaos ends, and my children both stare at me with their mouths open and eyes wide.  They don’t move a muscle or make a sound.  They know now that Mommy means business and that they had better listen up!

With my frustration vented and the situation diffused, I have them both sit down with me and talk the problem through.  A compromise is reached and a real apology is exchanged, and then my kids are back to playing as though nothing had ever happened.

As I sit for a while longer watching them play, I can’t help but feel a little guilty.  Am I a hypocrite for resorting to a tactic that I once hated?  Or is it worth the outcome?  Really, is the way I use the full-name ploy the same as my parents’?  In the end, I have to conclude that although I picked up that little habit from my parents, I have learned from their mistakes, and my kids are happier and more carefree than I ever was . . . even with the occasional frustrated use of their full names!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Doesn't every parent resort to using full names on occasion?