One day our daughter’s first grade teacher pulled David and me aside and said,
” Cherie needs more structure. She is very uncomfortable when the rules aren’t clear. You need to create safety for her by making tighter boundaries, especially for bedtime.”
Uh oh. We were not great at structure, and bedtime was our Waterloo. As we considered Ms. Carrothers’ comments she added:
“There is something else you need to know. It’s the child’s job to test your limits and she’s used to their being negotiable. When you tighten your boundaries, she will raise Holy Hell. It will probably feel like the world is coming to an end. But if you stick to what you’ve decided, she will calm down. Everything will be easier for all of you. And Cherie will feel a lot safer in the world.”
David and I discussed our struggle with bedtime, what routines might be manageable and what time to make the final “lights out.” We didn’t know what would be best, but Ms. Carrothers had emphasized that we needed to make things easier for ourselves. We shouldn’t try to make Cherie happy about it, because that was impossible. She would never want the final, “It’s time to go to sleep now.”
We did make some decisions, but I don’t remember the specifics. (I wish I could include more details, but I honestly don’t remember them!) I do know that we set a time for lights out. And Holy Hell did break out. It was horrendous. Without Ms. Carrothers’ warning we would have waffled. But, knowing what to expect, we were able to remain firm. And after a few nights of refusing to budge on the time for lights out, bedtime did become easier. With each night of consistency, Cherie became calmer. Ms. Carrothers was right.
Copyright 2016 Carolyn Kahlke. All Rights Reserved.