Firstly, Jackie I wanted to say that I am really sorry to read about the stillbirth of your son, that is a huge thing to deal with, it's not just the loss of the little boy that your son would be now, it's all the expectations you had of how life would be once he was here that were never or will never be fulfilled, and that life can change from happy and exciting, to traumatic and painful, so quickly, without and real warning - it is understandable that you would be anxious, on edge, scared that things will unexpectedly go wrong.
I don't know if you have had help and support in dealing with such a life-impacting loss? Here in the UK we have Sands (http://www.uk-sands.org/support/overview.html), I don't know if you have anything similar where you are? But more than anything just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you x
In respose to both Jackie and Tracy, I wanted to say that my girls are roughly a year behind yours at 11 and almost 5, although my 11 year old is well and truly in the throes of puberty and has the accompanying moods, attitude, need to start asserting herself more etc, so I do get how frustrating it can be at times.
Something I find helpful though, is to try to keep in mind what my role as a parent is about. Personally, I perceive that my role is to nurture and prepare my children to function successfully as individuals in the adult world. And that is not always as easy as it sounds! For example, if I raise my children to always obey orders, to do whatever it takes to please their parents because life is easier and stress-free for everyone that way - then I might be influencing them to go out into the adult world and be submissive, people-pleaser types, who do not feel able to question, argue, reason, who are open to people taking advantage of them etc, which isn't the way I'd like to send them out into the adult world. Or if I threaten severe punishments like "do this, or else...." then I could potentially showing them that it's okay to bully people etc.
And I find in order to try to keep my focus on preparing them for the adulthood, I have to ask myself sometimes "who am I doing this for?" "is that fulfilling their needs or is it fulfilling something of mine?"
So strangely enough I do welcome the arguments, the challenges to my authority, the differences of opinion etc, the things that make me question my motives, and what I'm trying to achieve, as I think it's really healthy, but that doesn't mean I find them easy to deal with, or that they don't frustrate me and push me to my limit ...because sometimes they do, and sometimes I do find myself thinking "if this is 11, what on earth will it be like when she's 14, how will I cope?"
But I'm proud really!
None of us will ever be the perfect parents, but I believe that if we can accept that and be prepared that sometime in the future (possibly when they are adults), we may have to sit with our children and say "yes, you're right, I didn't handle that very well", or "I did what I thought was best and I'm sorry if it was wrong and that it hurt you or impacted upon you in that way" - that if we can accept the things we didn't do too well, and we are able to be genuinely sorry to our children for that, then there is hope that we can maintain a good relationship with them.