Bringing up boys

When you have your third child you naturally assume that you have done it all, know it all, and don’t need help.

This ain’t my first rodeo! I got this.

And then, you have a child of a different gender than the first two…and you realize how different they are. My first two children, both girls, were 22 months apart. I went through many stages simultaneously. Having two brings a different dynamic to parenting as well. When my younger daughter was 8 years old, we added a little boy to the mix.

Now every child is different in their personalities, and having two girls wasn’t a totally foreign concept to me, since I have a sister, but a boy was totally different! I have four nephews, so I thought I was knowledgeable.

His personality is different, and the family dynamic is way different, since I’m remarried. Raising my little man is vastly different from when my girls were little because my life is very different.

My son is six, and has had social issues since he started daycare.  Even before daycare, when I took him to toddler story time at the library, I noticed that he did not want to interact with the other kids. He did not want to sing and dance. He stayed right by me. I thought he was just shy. When he started daycare, he had a lot of tantrums. He has improved dramatically, but we are still having constant issues. I feel like I’m ill-equipped to handle this. We talk, we discipline, we love. I just feel at a total loss for what to do.

The main issues we are dealing with is that he does not know how to handle his emotions. He gets upset about something minor, and then when he is asked to calm down, he can’t. So when the teacher threatens to call me, or indicate that he will get in trouble, he totally loses it. He has been removed from the classroom numerous times. Recently, the students have been moved to another classroom, so that he could be dealt with.

We’ve also encountered several instances of him being bullied, and lashing out at the kids, which gets him into trouble. We’ve  made it clear to him that hurting other people is the biggest no-no.

I give many kudos to his teacher, she has been a saint! Honestly, I was really happy when he got an older teacher this year. I knew that he needed a well-seasoned teacher who was more familiar with handling behavior issues. I just didn’t think that a twenty-something, fresh out of school, would be ready for my son! The principal, and the counselor, have also been involved in my conferences. The school has been really awesome with him. I can tell that they truly care about his development, both socially and academically. Lord, I pray that his next school will be just as great with him!

Academically, he is struggling. Aside from the screaming, the teacher is constantly barraged with his pleas for help…with everything. He wants her right beside him all day helping him do his work. He gets very upset when she has to help other children. I myself have a difficult time trying to teach him anything. He has never wanted me to do anything remotely related to him learning something. The only thing he lets me do is read to him, which we try to do everyday. When I try to get him to read his sight words in a book, that I know he learned months ago, he refuses. I have successfully gotten him to “read” one very short reader book! I was so excited!

What’s difficult about having issues at school, is that I feel powerless. I am not there to help him calm down. They have called me a few times, to talk to him,  and I have had to pick him up from school twice. Luckily, they don’t call me every time this happens, or I would have been fired already. The other frustrating thing is that he is not like this at home. I guess it’s because he doesn’t have other children to interact with, and he has more freedom at home.

He is such a sweet, loving boy. He tells us that he loves us multiple times a , and always wants a kiss. I love that. I soak it up, because I know that will not last! He’s very caring, and has a big heart. He wants to be a good boy. He even yells it when he’s angry.Untitled design (2) I desperately want to help him connect the dots on how to accomplish that.

As adults we do that too. You can start your day out in prayer, and feel like you are peaceful and serene, and then an hour later, walk into work and be sucked back into negativity.

Now enters my biggest problem in life: me. I want to help him. I have taken him to a behavior specialist. They diagnosed him with ADHD a little over a year ago. Okay, I really already knew that. We did not want to put him on medication because he is so young. We’ve also discussed whether or not to test him for Autism. At the time, I didn’t want to pursue any counseling with a therapist, because I didn’t realize that I chose such a crappy healthcare plan at work, and everything was out of pocket. So, all I could do was partner with the school, and try to work with him as best we could at home. Fast forward to the start of this year. New insurance plan, but did I call to make him an appointment? No. Why?

I am the biggest procrastinator ever.

After the situation with the girls, I have realized that I’m a hopeful ostrich. I tend to think that in the long run, this too shall pass. If there are no issues, I think things are getting better. And then something else happens, and my husband says we need to do something, and I agree, and then still do nothing. It’s a viscious cycle. This right here, has caused more problems in my marriage than anything else. I don’t follow through. But why?? He asks. Honestly, I don’t know the answer, but I need to find it. I’m always reminded of Paul’s verse that says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15. This one verse describes much of my personality. This problem, has rendered many of the consequences I face right now.

Romans 7:15

I did call the dr’s office again recently. I had to leave a message, and nobody ever got back to me. So, life goes on and I forget about it, until the next email from the teacher. Now that we are moving, I have to put this on hold, until after we get settled.

Following through on addressing things I need to take care of, is my biggest struggle, and I am making this my biggest prayer to overcome.

 

 

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I want to go live with Dad

Some of the most painful words a mother can hear are:

“I want to go live with Dad.”

luggage

Especially, when Dad…..lives in another state. This was not a path I ever thought I would be on. I never thought I would get divorced and remarried, and have another child, but I did. Sure, those things happen. You see it all the time. It’s normal.

But my children not living with me?

Living with someone whose level of participation was minimal? That just seemed wrong. I dug my heels in and said “no, we will go to counseling and work this out.” Well, when you take a ten and twelve year old to counseling, who don’t want to be in counseling….you get nowhere fast. Picture the crossed arms, and pre-teen angst.

I prayed long and hard about this. My husband was all for it. He was on blood pressure medication by this time. He was too young to have high blood pressure, and certainly didn’t want to follow the path of his father..who had a heart attack at a young age. It felt wrong, deep down in my heart, to let my girls live with someone else. My oldest had already spent a school year living with her grandmother, where she did go to counseling. But to go live with him?? Ugh. I prayed for years that things would get better. Now, I was praying for what was best for them. My biggest fears were how they would carry this pain into adulthood. We all know how girls can seek out love in all the wrong places. I wanted to send out strong, independent, young women into the world. Not, hurting, and broken women.

So, before school started, I let my oldest go. It was heartbreaking, but I thought it might be good. Let her get to know her Dad better. They think he walks on water. Let them know the person that I know. I thought perhaps my youngest would be happy to have her own room, for the first time. Perhaps that would alleviate some of the pressure. Wrong. She spiraled into a depression, that left her only wanting to eat and lay on the couch. She didn’t go outside with her friends much. By Christmas time, we were packing her up to go too. I kind of pushed her to go a little more than I did with her sister, but she was always a Momma’s girl, and didn’t want to admit she wanted to go.

Two years later: it’s still hard. I text often, but we speak very little. Occasionally we Skype, and I see them a few times a year. It took a long time for me to forgive myself. I spent a lot of time fearing judgment from people. Part of this is due to the fact that my own family judges me.  They accused me of “throwing my children away.” How dare a mother not raise her own children. My relationship with my parents has never been the same. That’s a whole other struggle.

I don’t throw this information around in many conversations, but when I do speak to people about it, I realize that I’m not the only one. I’ve spoken to several moms, who have gone through something similar. Sure, not everyone will understand my situation. Heck, even I don’t understand all of it!

But, I know that this is what’s right for my family.

When I pray about tough situations like this, I remember that the right way, may not be what the world thinks is right. It’s hard to listen to God above the noise of everyone else telling you what to do. And even harder, to hear above our own fear and anxiety.

Both my girls seem happier in general, and are excelling in school. I know letting them go was a good thing for them. While my husband no longer needs blood pressure medication, I’ve been barely holding it together. There is still pain, and a need for healing, but I think we are heading in that direction.

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