Warning: this post contains absolute honesty about my child, and moments where I acknowledge that he is not perfect. Heaven forbid! Someone being honest about their kid on social media…
Today has been a hard day. For no particular reason. My hormones are everywhere (thanks PCOS- I really appreciate this) and I just wanted to spend the day crying. But what’s making things harder is my beautiful and intelligent little boy. I’m at a loss.
My little man is kind, caring, funny, witty and affectionate. On a good day. But he has a very bad temper and doesn’t interact very well with other children, and I just don’t know what to do. My husband and I do our very best by him; he has a lovely home, loads of family who love him, and we will do anything for him. We both have good jobs (people expect a lot from teachers when it comes to bringing up children), and are usually level headed and calm in our approach. Our little man is well cared for and well loved. What can be wrong?
Since he was about 15 months old, however, he’s had a terribly aggressive streak. It started with biting, to which we got “he’ll grow out of it” or “he’s just experimenting”. But here we are, and he’s almost three, and he still has these (dare I say it) violent outbursts. If he isn’t getting his own way, or if someone pushes him or takes a toy off him- or if someone does something that’s not to his pleasing- then he reacts. Badly. The biting isn’t as frequent, but he’s replaced this “habit” with scratching, pushing, hair pulling. It can be alarming and it upsets other children so much. When he is having a “moment” he doesn’t even feel bad about it. Once he calms down, he is very sorry and gets very upset, but when the red mist descends, it’s his way or the highway.
His new trick is warning you that he’s going to do it. Last week he regularly told me that he’s “going to hit [me] just now” or that he wanted to scratch me. We discipline him. He does not get away with this behaviour. I think we handle the situation appropriately. But it doesn’t seem effective. He still does it.
I worry about taking him to playgroups or letting him spend time with other kids. I don’t relax at all- which I’m sure he picks up on too. How much of this is me putting my own anxieties onto him? Is it a nasty part of the terrible twos, or is there something more worrying going on? I really don’t know. I have no answers. I have always controlled every aspect of my own life, and this is something that’s impossible for me to fix. I’m finding that very difficult.
I’m really concerned and terrified about him starting school in January. I don’t want him to be stigmatised as a naughty kid- because he isn’t. He does naughty things when his temper is not playing nice. Will school think I’m overreacting? I just want my little boy to have the best life and to love school and make lots of friends and be happy. Is that too much? As I sit here, crying my eyes out again, I wonder what it is I’ve done wrong to make my son have such a quick temper. I blame myself. I blame his dad. I blame the fact that I have to work. Guilt. It’s all I feel. Logic kicks in, and I know I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t help feeling that somewhere along his little life I’ve failed him.
His outbursts are short lived. Once he has been taken out of the situation and calmed down, he’ll be his wonderful, charming self for the rest of the day. And my god, is he a cool kid? He is so loving, and very intelligent. My little man lights up my life, and he’s the kind of character that people never forget. I’ll pass people who I don’t know and they’ll say hello to him, because they know him from playgroup. He is an amazing boy and we’re very proud of him. His memory is unreal and he wants to please people so much. He simply cannot express strong emotions appropriately, be them positive or negative. I think the way that everyone brags on social media gives me this false impression, almost like I’m the only one with a bad tempered child. Everyone else has perfect children, don’t they?! I’m know we’ll come out of this in one piece. He won’t act in this way forever, and he will grow out of it. It’s just so damned difficult at the minute. Maybe me being brutally honest about his behaviours will help someone else going through this. I just want to know that we’re not alone, as sometimes it feels like everyone else has an easy time. And if anyone has any magic tips, then please share them!
I’m meeting with a health visitor for some unbiased advice later in the week. That should set my mind at ease.
I’m not really sure why I’ve written this blog. I had a worry and find writing helpful. I am honest and hope that even if just one other parent who is struggling in some way reads this and thinks “thank god, I’m not alone”. People are so willing to tell you how wonderful parenting is (which it is, I agree), but rarely do they share when things are tough. Perhaps if we were all more willing to embrace the bad as well as the good, then less parents would feel like I do right now.
Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but the rewards outweigh everything else. I just need to remember that when we’ve had a tough day with our wee lad. I may feel out of my depth most of the time, but all I need to do is sneak into his room, give him a kiss, tell him I love him (creepily stare at him for ten minutes) and all my worries will melt away. After all, he is the love of my life.