How to Have Demanding Children Who Rule the House


Things people sometimes say…


“You’re not feeding that baby again, are you?”

“If you feed your baby to sleep, she’ll never learn to go to sleep on her own. It won’t hurt her to cry.”

“You’re not giving into her again, are you?”

“If you carry your baby around all the time, she’ll never want to be put down.”

“You’re still feeding during the night? It’s time you got that child into a routine. She might cry for a few nights, but it’ll be worth it.”

“When are you going to wean that child? It’s not as if she needs your milk, you know.”

“I wouldn’t sleep with your baby, if I were you. You’ll never get your baby out of your bed.”
“You’re spoiling her!”

“You’re making a rod for your own back.”

“Show her who’s boss.”

“You’re in charge.”

“She’ll end up ruling the house, you know.”

“She’ll turn into a demanding child.”

I breastfed my babies whenever they needed it, all the way around the clock most times. I carried my children everywhere in my arms or in a sling, and later in a backpack. I slept with my little ones snuggled up next to me in bed.

Yes, there were times when I got tired of constantly seeing to the needs of my children. Some days I wanted my space back and yearned to have my arms free. Some nights I got fed up of being woken yet again by a hungry child who took up too much of the bed. I didn’t always want to find a child at my breast every time I lowered myself into a chair. Sometimes I cried and wanted to run away.

But I breastfed, carried and slept with my children anyway.

What happened? Did I end up with demanding kids who rule the house?
Yes, I did.

I slip through the back door, trying not to make a sound, but moments later my daughters appear.

“Mum! Why didn’t you tell us you were hanging the washing on the line? You’re not allowed to do it by yourself. We want to help.”

I find an onion, a chopping board and a knife. But before I have removed the onion skin, I hear a voice. “Mum! What do you think you’re doing? I’m making dinner tonight. Go and rest.”

As soon as dinner is finished, I head towards the sink and turn on the tap.

“Mum! That’s my job. Someone pour Mum a glass of wine and make her go sit down.”

“I’m not allowed to do anything,” I complain. “Who’s in charge around here?”

“We are!” my children shout with a grin.

Yes, my children rule the house.

“Mum, I need a hug,” says Gemma-Rose, as she climbs onto my lap

“Can I have a hug?” asks Imogen, opening her arms.

Callum comes home from work. “I need a hug, Mum!”

Small bodies wriggle inside the shelter of my arms. Bigger bodies enfold me inside theirs. It’s never-ending. I lose count of the number of hugs I have to give my children each day.

Yes, my children are very demanding.

So how do we have demanding kids who rule the house?

Love them. Love them some more. See to their needs. All of them, whatever it costs. Listen to them.

And ignore all those things some people might say.

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Sue, you are so wise, and one of the richest people I know! We all love your family exactly for all of the above reasons you shared. And now, when can I move in? LOL 🙂 Hugs to all of you!
    PS I really would move in, but my husband might notice I'm missing…..xoxo

    1. Reply

      Patricia,

      It's easy to be wise in retrospect! I did worry a lot with our first child. Then I gave up and went with the flow. It was easier to carry our babies around and feed them whenever they grumbled, and climb into bed with them at night. I did sometimes think enviously of those mothers who'd trained their children to sleep the night in their own beds. But somehow I never had the time to do whatever they did. I'm glad now. It all worked out fine!

      I think your husband already notices when you're missing. I seem to remember you were chatting to me online the other night and he gave up waiting for you and went to bed! Husbands are very special and understanding people!

      Hugs to you too! xx

  2. Reply

    You are so right! It might be sometimes exhausting but you know it is right. That's why we mums still do it all. I've heard exactly those things when I had my first kids. I'm breastfeeding my 6th child now and don't listen to any such comments. Infact I don't hear them anymore. Oh, could I please hire your big girls? They would be a great influence:))

    1. Reply

      Bernice,

      Oh yes! We have to do what we feel is right, regardless of how tired we are. After a baby or two we do tend to ignore the critics. I guess we look like we know what we're doing so people leave us alone. I think the things I listed are usually things people say to first time mothers.

      Who knows? One day my big girls might come for a visit. I don't think you'll need their help though as you have big girls of your own!

    • Gina
    • October 14, 2013
    Reply

    How sweet! I do have 2-3 children similar to this. I also nurse on demand and cosleep. You have such a nice family, Sue 🙂

    1. Reply

      Gina,

      We are kindred spirits! I think attachment parenting can lead naturally into unschooling…. seeing to the needs of our children, and not viewing them as demanding…. respecting them., not expecting them to fit into our lives but changing our lives so we can give to them…

      Thank you for your kind comment!

  3. Reply

    So true! Thanks for writing this. I ended up nursing on demand and co-sleeping, but I worried about how they would turn out. It seemed the only right way for my family, so I did it anyway. And I have had similar results!

    Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell myself, "Don't worry, just keep loving." Not bad advice for myself now, either! 🙂 Although I don't worry much now, I guess. We are in God's loving hands.

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      It's so lovely to find we have yet another thing in common!

      "Don't worry, just keep loving." Oh yes! We learn so much as we parent. It would be nice to go back and be more relaxed with our first children, but at least we did what we thought was right regardless of the worry!

    • Eva
    • October 15, 2013
    Reply

    I did exactly the same thing. I went through quite a few baby carriers, my little Flora still sleeps with us, and I nursed them all, for a looong time. I heard so many negative comments from well-meaning relatives, especially German ones. It was a blessing for me to be able to have my children in the U.S. and learn about "attachment parenting" through people like Dr. Sears. I'm so glad I did what I did. It simply felt right and natural. I could have not done it another way.

    Lovely what your big girls are doing now. It reminded me of the book "Mitten Strings for God." Do you know that one?

    1. Reply

      Eva,

      I loved snuggling up to a little body in bed. Enjoy your little Flora!

      I read all of Dr Sear' books… the older doctor Sears! They made so much sense… fulfil the needs of a child and they will grow up secure and happy. Yes, attachment parenting feels right and natural.

      I haven't heard of Mitten Strings for God but I shall go and find out more!

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      • Eva
      • October 18, 2013
      Reply

      You are welcome. I really liked "Mitten Strings for God," it was an easy and satisfying read (although it is not christian).

    2. Reply

      Eva,

      I found the book on Book Depository. I'm adding it to my wish list!

    • amy
    • October 18, 2013
    Reply

    So good! I have lives this, am living this and these encouraging words hit home. Just last night I slipped into bed beside my 21 month old at 1030. Just as I got comfortable, she woke and hit my chest, whispering "eat, eat!" So she latched on while I tried to fall asleep. But she wouldn't fall back to sleep and wouldn't stop nursing and I was just so uncomfortable. This continued until 1230. I was so exhausted. Finally she fell back to sleep, wrapped in my arms and I fell asleep myself. But oh! Coming here, reading these words, what a perfect reminder that it is all worth it. Thank you!

    1. Reply

      Amy,

      I remember that feeling of exhaustion. I'm so sorry you're not getting much sleep. It was at times like that I began to doubt myself. Perhaps everyone else was right after all. But they weren't… at least not for my children. Perhaps when our children's needs are fulfilled, they learn not to be self centred, but instead they learn to look beyond themselves and be sensitive to the needs of others. What do you think?

      I think I read a beautiful article on your blog some months ago where you were talking about fulfilling the needs of one of your children. Could it have had something to do with pushing your daughter on the swing despite knowing you would be criticised for getting up and leaving the adult conversation? I will have to visit your blog and check!

      Thank you so much for sharing my post. I'm glad we made a connection because of it.

    2. Reply

      Amy,

      Thank you so much for returning and leaving a link to the post I mentioned. It was as beautiful as I remembered. I also remember how I yearned to be able to express myself like you.

      It's funny how we wrote on similar topics but I didn't realise this until afterwards. I guess we have some experiences in common!

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope we can share more another time.

      • amy
      • October 19, 2013
      Reply

      It's so easy to doubt when its hard but there's always something to remind and encourage, like this beautiful post coming at just the right time! Thank you for your kind words, here's the post you were talking about : http://www.amylearningtolove.com/2013/07/to-care-aka-how-to-raise-manipulative.html?m=0. Anyway, thank you again, you are such a blessing.

  4. Reply

    Excellent post, Sue, and much appreciated as I nurse the baby yet again, and still know that the bigger kids will care for themselves and each other and that they can sit close by, cuddle, and be patient when they do need me, knowing that I gave them the same care as babies. I love your blog!

    1. Reply

      Amy,

      'they can sit close by, cuddle, and be patient when they do need me, knowing that I gave them the same care as babies.' Oh yes! I always think children must know how much they are loved when they see their mothers care for a baby. That baby used to be them! Amy, your children must feel very loved indeed for them to be so generous and patient while you see to the needs of your baby. I can just imagine your beautiful family. What a special time in your lives!

      Amy, thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!

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