Just starting to feel confident about mothering my big spirited, energetic little boy after a great week with a new discipline technique and lots of success and then you have a night like tonight!
My heart is breaking for my little boy. For the first time ever I saw and heard him get so upset because his friends were being mean to him, telling him they didn’t want to play with him. How as a parent can you stand by and watch kids try to negotiate this part of social life? I wanted to hug my boy so close and tell him he could stay with me, that I wouldn’t let people speak to him like that and if he wanted, he never ever had to see them again.
But….if I am being honest, (which I am trying to be), if I were one of his friends I probably wouldn’t have wanted to play with him either! We can’t expect 4 and 5 year olds to eloquently make an excuse to quickly and deliberately leave the scene, instead they just say what they feel! Adley is a very energetic, excitable kid. He LOVES his friends and when they come by, he gets excited. Mix that in with a touch of tiredness and an immature ability to understand personal space (coupled with his daddy’s loud voice, sorry babe but it is true), you end up with a kid who is gorgeous, sweet, friendly, confident and a little annoying. The funny thing is…this doesn’t happen in all situations. There are some kids that Adley always plays with nicely, where he doesn’t get too over the top or go silly….and then there are other times that he just seems to lose control! Today I just felt terrible for him. Once he had gotten into trouble once, and one child had uttered that sentence just once then that was it! How does a 4 year old pull himself up from that? From there anytime someone calls out ‘Adley’ he gets himself ready for another attack of ‘what did you do?’ or ‘you shouldn’t do this’. As an adult this is hard to take and of course, no wonder after another child comes out crying and I go to find the ‘culprit’, my sweet little boy looks at me and just says, “I am fed up with you!” (He actually hasn’t heard me say this…it is from a library book we are reading)
Just to be clear. The friends we had over are wonderful kids. We all love them, including Adley. There parents are ones we look up to and take much advice from in all parts of our lives…I guess that makes it hard for me on a personal/superficial/pride level to feel like an utter failure in my parenting strategies. Yes, the kids needed to be kinder, but it doesn’t at all give Adley an excuse to hurt his friends through his high energy and frustration.
But what do I do? This week we have been practicing the 1 2 3 Magic system for stop behaviour and it has been great! The first few days we made it to 3 and then a time out a huge number of times but by the end of the week we were just getting to 1 and rarely having time outs. He and Nevaeh have been getting along great, we have been able to spend lots of one on one time together and I have changed the nightly routine to make sure Adley isn’t overtired at bedtime….but how do I stop, or deter, or refocus the social excitement that Adley has?
I love my boy. He is priceless and I wouldn’t change him. He has the best of both Rick and I….and he has the ‘not so good’ of both of us too. I don’t want Adley to feel that he isn’t accepted for being him. I don’t want him to become the scapegoat in the playground because he is the loudest one out there and I don’t want him to think that every time I call his name, I am going to tell him how he can better behave. I would be fed up too!