28 October 2008

This Is Going To Hurt Me, As Much As It Hurts You...

Even before I was a parent, I told myself(and everyone else) that I would be different. I would be better. I could see where other parents had failed, and I would not make those mistakes. My child would be different.

Now I have a child. I tried to tell myself that I was fair. That I made him mind and behave. That I was teaching him respect, manners, and patients. That I was teaching him to think of not just himself but of others. That our actions have an impact on others.

I told myself that I was a little harder on my son than most parents, but it was for his benefit. My child would be different. Better.

I'm failing. I've spoiled him. I clearly have not been hard enough. I let too much slide. He thinks of no one but himself and what he wants. I can explain the same thing a dozen times in two dozen different ways and none of it is sinking in.

For the last couple of months I let things go a little easier. I tried to tell myself that he was acting out because I spent most of the summer away. I can't say that anymore. I try to let things slide because he's only four years old. I don't buy that either.

In the last few days, he and I have had the exact same conversation so many times that I've lost track. I have tried different approaches. Different tactics. I'm getting the same results. An ill mannered child that is doing everything that I thought I was teaching him not to do.

Today we had a discussion about discipline. Apparently this is a foreign concept for him. It sounds strange to say, that punishing my son hurts me more than it hurts him. I heard my parents say it to me and I never really understood. Today, it's becoming a bit clearer.

It really does hurt, to see him cry and act like I have broken his heart. I want to tell him I'm sorry, and that he can do what he wants and have his way, just don't cry or be sad. But I can't. I'm the parent. I expect and demand more from my son. I expect and demand more from myself.

There are lessons that he must learn. There are lessons that I must learn. No matter how hard.


delmer said...

I know what you mean. I've let too much slide over the years ... maybe because of the divorce, maybe because I just don't want them to be unhappy.

The good new is, as they get older they seem to get more responsible. The oldest one used to lie to me all the time, even when telling the truth would have been the easier route. The last two years or so he's turned into a whole different person and I don't doubt anything he tells me now.

I never made anybody help with housework until recently. But now they all pitch in without too much complaining ... and with only a modest amount of bribery needed at times.

Pumpkin said...

I have four kids and they are all like that. My husband and I don't spoil them or allow them to have their way. I think all kids go through this as a show of independence. Keep doing what you are doing and showing good manners and respect for others through your example. I hate when my kids cry and tell me that I am a mean Mama after I put them in their rooms for time out. However, they need that time out to grow as a person.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world but it is also the most rewarding.

eclectic said...

Fight the good fight, my friend.

Oh, and most difficult parenting lessons are best learned when followed by a glass of wine after the child goes to bed. ;)

Anonymous said...

You are doing absolutely the right thing! It's as tough as Hell most days and (as the parent of a 14 and 12 year old) it doesn't get easier. I have lost count of the days when I have laid in bed long after they are sleeping and I question every single parenting decision I have made; but then I have to believe that I am making them better people by being tough on them now. We only get one shot at this!