Like a bat out of hell the child runs across the room, scratches the boy’s face, pulls the girl’s hair and then gives his teacher a hug. What do you do with that child? Years before I was a mother I heard parents say things like parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have. My thoughts to follow were always something about how rewarding parenting is, how could anyone be wrapped up in the difficulties of it. Even with self-help books, pediatricians, early education teachers, there is really no good way to get help with this job either. Study hall doesn’t help.
Drew has turned into the aforementioned little monster. School is calling several times a week with tales of Drew the Terror. In conjunction with the teachers, social worker and administrators we have brainstormed and worked through techniques to discipline this loving, affectionate, rambunctious, aggressive toddler with no avail. In efforts to curb this negative behavior, we are resorting to taking away privileges to be earned back. I’m getting visions of arguments with a high schooler over use of cell phones, computers and cars. How am I already at this place? Why in my two hours a day of quality time do I have to spend it arguing over privileges?
I have learned from my friends that have struggled with sleep training children, the groundwork you set at an early age sets you up for quality sleep in one’s own bed. Am I essentially learning the same thing now? The steps I take to curb this bad behavior now will set me up for success with my future teenager? Or is this just a foreshadow of what’s to come? Then of course the working mother guilt comes shining down (I will tread lightly since my new year’s resolution is to accept that I am a working mother who will do right for my children despite that situation), is he acting out to get more attention and more interaction with his parents than just a mere 2 hours a day? How does a parent effectively set the limits that a child needs, while instilling love and affection? How do I make the most of my two hours if they are spent disciplining? Or is this what is necessary to effectively raise a good person? And who is being disciplined if I’m the one who is miserable through it all?
Parents trying to potty train a child are reminded that no child goes to college in diapers. Unfortunately there are many crazy people that grew up without limits or discipline, what assurance do I have that Drew will grow up to be a well balanced, compassionate, confident person? Is there a method to insure that? And when you are on the path to success, do you know you are there? I can safely say that this is the hardest job I’ve ever had, definitely the most rewarding too but harder than I ever expected. I’m not sure if I were getting evaluated that I would get any grade higher than a C+ at best, can I get a tutor?