Ok world be advised — my son is not giving me a hard time, he is having a hard time. Let me say that again. My son is not giving me a hard time, he is having a hard time. This applies to anytime he has any kind of negative and/or inappropriate behavior. I am NOT in any way excusing his inappropriate behavior, just trying to remind everyone out there, particularly those of you that are not parents, that children are little humans. Saying that they are smaller versions of us is not a joke and it is not because it is cute of fun to say, but because it is true. Children of all ages are just as much an individual personality and just as emotionally complex person as we adults are. The major difference is that they do not have the knowledge and experience base to be able to appropriately express those emotions like we as adults are (supposed to be) able to do. They have good days, bad days, tough days and down right hellish days like we do and while most adults may not realize and/or won’t admit to is that we are quite often part of the problem and making things more difficult for them. We expect them to have the emotional maturity that we do with not even a fraction of the experience that we have. (Something else that most adults don’t realize and/or won’t admit to is that the majority of adults out there who are a lot less emotionally mature than most of the kids they know. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the general world of politics.)
Like I said, I do not condone or excuse any of my son’s inappropriate behavior, but I am not one of those parents that will immediately implement a punishment or consequence as soon as my son starts to have inappropriate behavior. I will actually give him a chance or two to try and turn his behavior around because I firmly believe that the ability to regain control of your emotions and behavior and therefore regain control of how a situation is unfolding. If he can not (because let’s be honest we all occasionally get so worked up about something that there is no coming back from it) or does not regain control then I certainly will implement consequences, most commonly starting off with a Time Out. After a certain period of time I will go and talk to my son to discuss what happened for him to end up in Time Out and determine whether or not he can get out of his designated Time Out spot.
Now, here is something else that I would like to tell you (if you don’t already know this) — My life is not what I wanted or expected it to be. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean is that when I was pregnant if you had asked me what I thought my life was going to be like when my son got to be this age the last things that I would have expected to tell you would be that my son was still an only child and that I am a single mom. My ex is (for better or worse) still involved in my son’s life, but as far as he (my ex) is concerned I am the enemy and even just the idea of trying to work with me as a person, alone the other parent is completely unthinkable. No matter what I do to try and take the personal out of this so that we can do what is best for our son my ex is constantly trying to bring all the things that have nothing to do with our son back into the mix just because he wants to torture me as much as he possibly can. What does this most recent piece of knowledge have to do with this entry? Essentially it is this — I am still learning how to be a parent. I have never been a parent before and I am essentially learning how to be a single parent at the same time. My son was less than half the age he is now when his father decided that he was going to force me through a divorce so the majority of his life I have been struggling with major and mostly unwanted life changes and I have been having to come to terms with all of them by myself.
Everything above has lead to this final point of thought — the next time you see a child (or even children) with his/her/their parent(s) and the little one(s) are having the kind of behavior that makes you think “If that was my child…” or give the parent(s) a judgmental glare STOP YOURSELF because you don’t know them. You have NO idea what they have been through, what they are going through or why they are behaving and handling things the way they are. You could be that parent’s best friend in the world and have all kinds of insider knowledge about their life experiences, but you are still not that parent and you have not had to live through their life and there is no one in this universe who has the right to judge the interactions between a parent and their child/children. I can promise you that the struggling parent needs your encouragement support more than they will ever need your opinions and judgement.