The definition of a tricky child


In a previous post I asked about whether parents resorted to smacking and one commenter (anonymous) came over here with a pair of size 12 bovver boots and stomped all over what everyone had said by pointing a finger and saying that we were being holier than thou and oh boy aren’t we just lucky to have such well behaved children.

The comment wasn’t rude or particularly outrageous so I don’t really know why the author wouldn’t leave their name, but it read like this:
Wow, lots of virtuous parents out there – good on you all for being so fabulous – maybe you could all co-contribute to a self-help book for parents with ‘tricky’ kids? Look it up if you don’t know who/what these kids are…

I sure as heck know what a tricky child is like.

As I commented, my 3-year-old daughter has taken my husband and I right to the edge of sanity and had us throwing our hands up in despair because we just didn’t know what to do with her or how to stop her being so naughty.
We try to ignore it now and tell ourselves that she’s going to be a fabulously, feisty and independent young lady.
“It’s a phase” we sigh as we clean up the devastation.

Here is how well behaved my daughter is.
In the last 48 hours she has:

  • Locked herself in the toilet at a pasta restaurant and toyed around with her ‘deposit’ with the toilet brush.
  • Decapitated two worms with her bare hands while playing in the garden then tried to store them in her bedroom ‘to look at later’.
  • Daubed sugar pink lipstick all over the walls, doors, bedroom furniture – in fact everywhere except her lips.
  • Hidden my i-Phone in the kitchen bin. Then forgot she put it there.
  • Used my white duvet cover as a sheet of paper when she wanted to write something urgently. In red Biro.
  • Called me an idiot.
  • Bitten a chunk of skin out of her brother’s back ‘to get his attention’.
  • Ate the contents of the biscuit barrel in secret and smashed said barrel in the process.
  • Discarded her squeezy strawberry yoghurt ‘pot’ by launching it across the lounge so splattering uneaten yoghurt up the walls, over the sofa and up the TV screen.
  • Hides her toothbrush in bizarre places (dad’s gym bag, under the bed, her brother’s wardrobe) so she doesn’t have to brush her teeth.
  • ‘Missed’ the toilet while going for a wee and peed on the floor because ‘it’s funny’.
  • Flat refuses to wipe after going to the toilet because ‘it’s boring’.
  • Threw the rest of her dinner on the floor, under the table, so I would think she’d eaten it.

Listen to me real good – it is HAAAAAARD work mothering this child.
But boy is she gorgeous when she throws her arms around me and says “I love you sooo much mummy”

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40 Responses to The definition of a tricky child

  1. Reasons to be Cheerf says:

    Omega 3's that's what you need. I kid you not, it works. x

  2. Maternal Tales says:

    Are you sure you're talking about your daughter here and not mine?? Her favourite pasttime is biting her sister and then saying sorry straight afterwards…Ooh hate anonymous comments which aren't particularly nice….x

  3. steenky bee says:

    I am so gagging about the whole pasta bar, public toilet incident. OMG. I totally relate, sister.

  4. Brit in Bosnia says:

    Oooo – I so know where you are coming from with this. We had a phase that lasted for about 6 months of having to phone ALL phones before taking out the rubbish to make sure that none had been put into the bin. They usually had. Do you find that the stressful job you thought you had before seems like a gentle stroll in the park compared to the stress of keeping your temper with your children? I can't believe that I haven't found your blog before. I'm really enjoying the read and will be back for more soon.

  5. Mum Gone Mad says:

    Yep, they all go through that phase… at least I'm assuming they come out the other end lol. Eldest is 13 and although it's not the same trickiness it's still tricky, but of course as you say entirely worth it 🙂

  6. Adrenalynn says:

    I just discovered that my feed reader hasn't picked up your posts in a long time! Frustrating.Amazing post- both because it was hilarious (sorry, I just love laughing at other people's expense) and because I believe it's important for us to share not only the good stuff but the bad as well. It's so easy to feel like a failure at the whole parenting thing, and to feel like you're the only one who doesn't know what you're doing! I've talked with a lot of my friends about this and as it turns out, we all feel that way.Also, great photo:)

  7. Nota Bene says:

    From well over here…I love your daughter…she very funny and mischevious and naughty. I recommend energy pills – for you not her. But I'm glad she's yours! From the father of a saintly son.

  8. Delurker Kim says:

    I remember from somewhere that often the craziest, loopiest, naughtiest little girls actually turn out to be the most fabulous young women.I apparently pulled over a whole bookcase once because I was throwing some tantrum or other, and obviously I'm a fine example of the transformation, so I don't think you have much to worry about :)Of course, it could've been my mum who told me this, but mums are allowed to be biased, especially when they're being driven up the wall xx

  9. Kat says:

    Aren't there just days when you want to throw your hands up in the air and scream "I don't get paid enough to do this shit?" Yeah me too.

  10. Nicola says:

    My 3 year old sounds just like your 3 year old. He is my remorseless sociopath. But he has a barrel full of cheek and charm to get away with it. It's costing me a fortune in hairdressing fees to keep the grey hairs at bay. Yes, the joys of dealing with a 'tricky' child who's sole purpose right now seems to be to destroy every single skill I thought I had honed raising the 5 year old!

  11. It sounds quite like a day in our household – especially the throwing of yoghurts and peeing on the floor. I haven't experienced the smearing of the sugar pink lipstick, but then I have two boys who would rather pull the TV off the wall, rip pages out of their books and throw Lego in my face. But it's all worth it when they cuddle up to me in bed in the morning and drink their milk.

  12. Tara says:

    @Reasons to be Cheerful: I'm going to try it. She'll eat pretty much anything I put infront of her anyway, so may as well give it a go!@ Maternal Tales: Sorry to revel in your misfortune, but it's sure good to know it's not just me! @ Steenky bee: Not as much as I was gagging believe you me.@ Adrenalynn: You laugh away. If I can bring a little joy into your life at my expense . . . !You are absolutely right that it's important to share the bad stuff that happens to us all. It's easy for us to sit here fretting that we're the world's worst parent and everyone else is getting it right, when that just isn't the case and if my misfortunes can help, then it's been worth reliving it for a simple post! @ Brit in Bosnia: Welcome welcome, it's great to have you here. I keep praying that this is all simply a 'phase'. Praying to all that is holy. Every night. And oh yes, my stressful job on a busy newspaper newsdesk was a walk in the park compared to this! @ Delurker Kim: (loving the name – and thanks for delurking!) "I remember from somewhere that often the craziest, loopiest, naughtiest little girls actually turn out to be the most fabulous young women" – I am going to hold on to that thought and let it give me hope. @ Mum Gone Mad: Don't tell me there is more trickiness! I need you to say 'they all go through that phase… and it's entirely worth it'. End of quote!@ Nota Bene: I am the mother of a saintly son too, so I know how easy it is to get all smug!That smug look was wiped off my face the minute she came on the scene. Hmm those energy pills sound like a mightly fine idea right now!@ Kat: Yes yes yes@ Nappy Valley Girl: It's just hilarious how we suffer all these daily punishments and then say "but it's all worth it when they cuddle up to me" – I'm glad it's not just me sounding as mad as a mad thing!@ Nicola: Nail. On. The. Head!They get away with everything because they're so cute and charming and no one believes you when you say they're so naughty."The joys of dealing with a 'tricky' child who's sole purpose right now seems to be to destroy every single skill I thought I had honed raising the 5 year old!" – have you been reading my mind Nicola!

  13. Single Parent Dad says:

    Blimey, that's some quality parent stretching right there.I witnessed a granddad today, spank a child, because he went up a slide the wrong way, once. If you gave him that 48 charge sheet, I am unsure as to what sort of discipline would have been dealt out.

  14. Tara says:

    @Single Parent Dad: Maybe I should loan my girl out to show people they really don't know when they've got it good!However, my mum has taken both children out for the day today and just phoned to say how golden they've both been and how they haven't been the slightest bit of trouble.How?@Working Mum: You're right no one has the answers. So many different children, so many different answers!

  15. Working mum says:

    Yikes! And I thought I had problems with passive agressive, defiant daughter!I guess that's why there are so many books about parenting……no one has come up with the answers!

  16. Hit 40 says:

    Gosh – I would have ignored the anonymous comment. Good for you!! Parenthood is tough! Cute kid pics!!!

  17. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    Rosemary is being quite good at the moment (touch wood!), but much of that is very familiar. Her cousin, who is 7 months younger than her, just sits calmly and reads. He doesn't run about, or try to climb absolutely everything remotely (un)climable, he doesn't shout at the top of his voice or let out high-pitched screams at the top of his voice. I know this may be still to come for him, but I have a feeling he's just a calm kid. I said today to my aunt 'It would be nice to have one who just sits down quietly and calmly.' but I thought about it later and particulary just now, on reading this, I realise that I wouldn't want Rosemary to be that calm. She might be very challenging and incredibly tiring, but boy does she have a personality. I have no worries about her abilities to socialise, or stand up for herself, and she adds to her boisterous a sensitivity and gentleness that temper it. While a peaceful, calm one for Number 2 might be easier and less tiring, I don't think it would be as much fun or ever-new. (Mind you, you have one of each, so maybe you'll disagree and I should be wishing for a calm one.)

  18. b says:

    At least you are doing something right, when they go out with others and behave, that is what keeps me going, everybody always comments on how good the kids are when they are with them, and usually get a shock when they see them misbehave at home. My eldest is nearly 17 and takes tricky to a new level everyday!

  19. Tara says:

    @ Hit 40: "Parenthood is tough!" easily wins the award for Understatement of the Year! Welcome over, it's great to have you here and many thanks for commenting. @ b: My mum is all 'well she's not like that with me'. No, I bet she's not. She came home with a twittering penguin and a bag of sweets today, so she knows exactly which side her bread is buttered. @ Coding Mamma: You are so right Tasha, and now I feel bad for moaning about her.She too is really outgoing and independent and has such a big personality. I had the 'calm one' first time around so I guess I should be grateful for that! @ Home Mum of 2: My son was that angelic child and yes, I was lulled into an false sense of security."Welcome stress with a capital S" – Amen to that!

  20. Home Mum of 2 (3 if says:

    Perhaps the only thing worse than a tricky child is to have an angelic child first. That way you are lulled into an utterly false sense of security and think this parenting lark is such a doddle, what's all the fuss about, tra la la.Just as you are about to float off on Cloud 9 with your blissful bambino, Little Brother turns up. And cute as he undeniably is. Ohhhh boyyyyyyyyyyyy! So this is what they meant. Welcome stress with a capital S.My Tricky-Dicky is 21 months old and has already started the Terrible Twos with full blown, Oscar-worthy paddies in the street, supermarket, wherever. I'm so used to it I can let them wash over me but it makes me shudder for what's to come. Watch this space!!

  21. notSupermum says:

    Whoa! She's gonna be a feisty teenager! My eldest daughter aka The Teenager-in-waiting is also known as The High Maintenance Child. She has been a 'tricky' child since the day she popped into the world. I salute you Tara. I feel your pain, I really do. And no, I'm not going to make you feel better by saying it's only a phase 🙁

  22. zooarchaeologist says:

    oh my god! I honestly thought boys were worse, now ive got one of each and im worried about the next 5 years ;)Funnily enough we had a squuzy youghurt incident yesterday and today I was stopped inteh street by someone pointin gout that my little boy was holding his beaker of drink upside down in his buggy deliberately making himself and it wet. I reckon if I ever have to do one of those job applcations where they ask about dealing with tricky situtations and teamwork im going to have lots of material to use….Stay sane, and if you cant, just stock up on chocolate and wine (hiding it in the deepest darkest corner of the shed)

  23. Potty Mummy says:

    You're a saint. No two ways about it (and that is a genuine, attributable, from the heart comment).

  24. PrettySprinkles says:

    I'll write the guidebook. Children aren't inherently evil. They need guidance to learn about the world. As a parent, that's my primary responsibility. Do I want to teach them that if someone does something I don't like I should slap them? Spank someone who makes me angry? No way. Show them a good example, how a grown adult can deal with their anger and discuss events rationally. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy…

  25. DM09 says:

    I believe I am going to have similar "challenges" with Oscar my 9 month old. Can I come back to you for tips when I feel like handing him over to the gypsys??x

  26. nixdminx says:

    goodness, she'll be first in the queue when they're handing out toddler ASBOs, she sounds very inventive though, I like her ;-))

  27. More than Just a Mot says:

    You have an award over at mine, to make up for the mean anonymous commentator 😉

  28. Jonny's Mommy says:

    Omega 3's huh? Maybe I'll get those in preparation for my toddler who I have a feeling may be really bad when he hits that age. I am going to tone down on his sugar, big time. that really affects him and while I try to limit it, some days it is hard. My mom told me once that my brother was a terror at 3, but the day he turned 4 he was an angel. Let's hope that happens for you too.

  29. Iota says:

    I used to think that the aim was to produce well-behaved children (that was before I had any). I realise now that the aim is to produce well-adjusted adults. A bit of good or bad behaviour along the way seems rather incidental if you think of it like that.I loved this post, Tara.

  30. Vodka Mom says:

    I still remember the day I DRUG Bitchy to the bathroom (by her hair) and SHOVED soap in her mouth. That was the FIRST time she called me a bitch. good times.

  31. Vodka Mom says:

    I am sorry- but I must confess i laughed my ASS off at your list. Yeah, i have been there. Yeah, I smacked. So sue me.

  32. melissa says:

    this is my first time here…i LOVE this post. i love it because everywhere i go, people are talking about how angelic their kids are and how wonderful. and i think those posts are fabulous. and i'm jealous. because my life…it resembles THIS post!! i'm so relieved to know that i'm not alone!! yay!

  33. Robert says:

    You've got standard 2nd child syndrome. The child that fights to take parents' attention away from his/her older sibling.I've got a 3 year old similar to yours.They will change in due course, if shown love & understanding.I once smacked my oldest daughter (now 34). She cried. I realised that I had smacked her out of frustration & anger, and NOT as a sane way of changing her behaviour. I cried. I have never smacked a child since. All my (5) grown up children are pretty well behaved & polite. Smacking is not necessary,

  34. Jaci says:

    Wow. While your daughter sounds like a handful, it also sounds like she's EXTREMELY bright and one of those lucky, creative, and curious people who think outside the box. (I know that's probably not very comforting in the midst of disaster!)Anonymous comments can suck, but I actually think confrontational comments with a name and a link are worse. Anonymous can be shrugged off–but a fellow blogger or a long time reader? Ouch.

  35. Kim Baise says:

    OH My!!! I just discovered your blog and completely identify with you. i have a 6 year old boy and 2.5 year old daughter who also loves to smear yogurt everywhere, pee on the floor and destroy everything! I have never read a blog with soooo many great mom comments! I am not alone. My New favorite blog!Kim Baise

  36. Tracy says:

    Ha! Three you say? Well my 20 month old can do all those things (well except make the deposit personally). I think he must be advanced because I read to him a lot. Heh.It's wrong that I laughed and laughed at this:Flat refuses to wipe after going to the toilet because 'it's boring'.She sounds like somebody I'd love to talk to!I mean this in a kindly way, but I assume your anonymous commenter is just so wrapped up in his/her own difficulties that they aren't really able to see what it's like for anyone else. That's how it goes sometimes and I'm glad you took their comment in good humor.

  37. Tricia says:

    Your daughter sounds like a ton of fun, albeit exhausting, frustrating fun. I couldn't help by laugh through you list, sorry, but the peeing on the floor reminded me of catching my son peeing in the trash bin for the fun of it.

  38. Tara says:

    Sorry for not responding sooner – I've been enjoying a long Easter weekend.@ notSupermum: Gah, I was relying on you to come over here and be all 'things will be just fine in teendom. Difficult toddler, angelic teen'. No? @ zooarchaeologist: In my experience, boys are angelic in comparison."I reckon if I ever have to do one of those job applcations where they ask about dealing with tricky situtations and teamwork im going to have lots of material to use" – we're like the most prepared people on the planet, by my reckoning!@ Potty Mummy: Really, really appreciate it. I don't feel it when I'm sat holding my hand in my hands and desparing because she's just run my all up the stair carpet (this weekend's fun activity). @ PrettySprinkles: "Show them a good example, how a grown adult can deal with their anger and discuss events rationally" I totally totally agree. And no it is most definitely not easy. But it's right in my book. @ DM09: You come back any time. Can't promise you tips but I can give you a thousand and 1 stories which will certainly make you feel better!@ Nixdminx: She is adorable. A bloody pain in the backside, but adorable nonetheless. @ More than Just a Mother: Thank you so much for the award. And yes, it really does give me the boost I need. @ Jonny's Mommy: I'm hanging on to that thought, believe you me! @ Iota: "I realise now that the aim is to produce well-adjusted adults" that is a brilliant way of looking at it. I'm going to chant that to myself the next time she's attacking something with the scissors. @ Vodka Mom: Yikes! Teendom does not sound much fun. @ Melissa: Hey there. Really glad you stopped by and commented. Rest assured you will never get a sugar coated version of family life at this blog! You are so not alone my dear x@ Robert: Bang on. 2nd child syndrome has got us good and proper! @ Jaci: I guess you're right about the comment being anonymous. I wasn't really that bothered about it, I was more bothered that they thought we were 'better' than anyone when that was never how I wanted it to come across. @ Kim Baise: Welcome Kim. Really great to have you here and many thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm so pleased you picked up on the comments – you're right, very often the comments section are my favourite section of the blogs I read as there are some fabulous discussions and advice going on. @ Tracy: Yes it is wrong that you laughed at my expense. And if you weren't such a supermum with so many kids to defend you, I'd be coming over there to slap your legs. @ Tricia: "The peeing on the floor reminded me of catching my son peeing in the trash bin for the fun of it" – what?!

  39. Kool Aid says:

    Wow. That's it, just wow.

  40. All sounds completely normal to me.Didn't the commenter have the guts to leave his/her name? I'd ignore it.

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