Bad Parenting

I kicked my daughter out of the house today.  I told her that she could no longer live in our house and needed to find a new place to live.

Yeah, she's four.  I know

You see, she hit her brother, yesterday.  And then lied to me about it.  I explained to her then that we don't permit that behaviour in our house and that if she needed to behave that way, she needed to leave.

And then they were playing on the couch today, and she hit him.  She called my bluff.  What the hell else was I supposed to do?

So, I invited her to take what she needed from her room (she took nothing), walked her to the back gate (while she sobbed), helped her out onto the driveway (the sobbing became hysterical), told her I loved her and would miss her very much (while she wailed and clung to me).  And then I closed the gate, walked back to the house, stood at an angle to the screen door so she could not see me.  And prayed to all the gods, goddesses, devas, buddhas, idols and angels in Heaven that she would please stay right there until I could think our way out of this.

She called to me.  I went out and asked her where she was going to live, now.

Danica (sobbing): "I don't know."

Me: "Would you like to speak with Daddy or with Grandma on the phone?  If you're leaving, you really should say good-bye to them before you go."

Danica: (several deep breaths): "Okay."

So, we went inside.  I sat her down on the door mat, and then dialed the numbers for her.  Each time she was crying too hard to speak, and each time I took the phone from her and said I would call back later.

I said, "What is your solution, Danica?  What are you going to do now?"

She sobbed, "I'm not going to hit, anymore."

I said, "But you told me that, yesterday, and then you did it again, anyway.  How can I believe you?"

She sobbed, "I don't know."

So, I put her out on the deck and told her that she was welcome back into our home as soon as she could come up with a solution.  I told her that we already missed her so much.  And then I went inside, closed the screen door, and prayed some more.

I watched my fierce, brave little girl collect herself, square her shoulders and turn to face me.  I watched her think through her intended words, and I watched the anxiety fade when she convinced herself that her solution would work.  I saw how much I had frightened her (us) and wanted to just hold her close to me - my baby - and make it all better.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I heard her say, calmly, quietly:

"Mum, I won't hit my brother anymore, ever again.  If I hit him again, you can take all of my books and toys out of my room and keep them forever.  Okay?"

I said, "Okay."  I held her hand, and led her inside and said, "Welcome home, sweetheart."  Pride is just not a big enough word.  My brave, fierce, strong, brilliant little girl.  I am so proud of her.

She went downstairs to couch with her blanket, and I took a minute to sip some coffee and work on not vomiting.

Holy fuck.  I hope I never have to do that again.


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