What did I do wrong?

17 Mar

I was awake staring at the clock at 4am dreading the day before me.

My Cameron was every mother’s dream for the first two years of his life. He listened, followed directions, did what was asked of him and hardly ever had a temper tantrum. For the first 18 months of his life he even ate his vegetables BEFORE he ate his meat (now he refuses to even have a vegetable on his plate). Like I said, every mother’s dream.

Then along came Logan.

It was gradual after Logan was born, Cameron didn’t turn into a terror overnight. It was more day by day, little by little. He we are now, 47 days from his 5th birthday, and I really can’t take it anymore. There are days when I understand why some women are driven to use Duck Tape or hot sauce as a means of discipline. Before you get all fired up and come to lynch me, know that I would never, EVER do that to my children.

I’ve read the Supernanny books. I’ve read 1-2-3 Magic. I can’t seem to get that kid in line. I will not accept the old adage, that “Boys will be boys.”!

Everyday in my house is a struggle. Every task an argument.

I know that I’m giving him exactly what he wants, a fight, but I can’t help myself. Cameron is the master of button pushing. I ask him to do something and he either screams “NO” or he stands there and shakes his head like he’s possessed. The rules of this house, which aren’t anything too extreme, are well known yet he continues to disobey them. He constantly is antagonizing his little brother, and has gone as far as to take his frustrations out on him physically.

I try to compromise with him, you know, a little give and take to try and get him to do what he needs to but nothing works. Nothing is motivation enough for him to do what is asked of him. Most days are spent with me yelling at him and A LOT of time outs. I can’t even get him to take a time out without screaming at him to do it. Sure, in most cases he’ll go to the step, but then he continues to make noise when he knows he should be silent. Or he’ll kick his feet against the wall or steps. Or he’ll just get up without being told he can and disappear. ┬áThere are days when I feel like he turns me into the worst version of myself and it really does break my heart.

I can see the bad boy behavior starting to rub off on Logan now. Logan says, “No!” to me in the same way. He follows his brother right into trouble. He fights back when Cameron tries to push him around, which is going to be bad for Cameron very soon since Logan is my little scrapper. My house could be a case study on monkey see monkey do. My biggest fear is having two bad boys on my hands…AAHHHHHHH!

On the rare day that Cameron is behaving, following the rules, and listening to directions he always says, “This is much more fun than getting yelled at.” Why can’t he seem to remember those moments when he’s misbehaving? I have so much fun with that kid when he’s being good. We laugh. We joke. We play. We hug. It’s just fun. It’s everything I thought being a mother would be every day.

I knew this mother gig wasn’t going to be all hearts and sunshine, but I never imagined I would be THAT mother. You know, the one who can’t control her son without a spectacle. I love my children dearly and I don’t want them to look back on their childhood and resent their mother who yelled all the time. I cherish the fun days and want to see them more often, I wish they were the rule and not just the exception to the rule.

Whatcha got for me? Give me your best parenting advice. What do I do to get my bad boy back in line?

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3 comments
Aunt Laurie
Aunt Laurie

Take a deep breath...I think this scenario is far more the norm than the exception. Knowing who I am, you'll pardon a biblical reference - God rescued the Israelites from 400 years of slavery in Egypt by plague, death, and a trip on dry land across the sea (then drowning their enemies) and the first thing they do is complain and turn away! Reading through the Old Testament, this is the pattern every time - God does amazing things because he loves his people, they praise him for 2 minutes and then start rebelling and disobeying again. He punishes, they repent, he restores their good fortune, they turn away again! Bottom line, this is not so much "boys will be boys" as "humans sin." It's monumentally difficult, and I've failed many more times than succeeded, but while you can't control his behavior, the only thing you CAN control is your response. Keep setting appropriate boundaries (as I know you are), keep being consistent with consequences and time-outs, and as much as you can help it, stay calm because it's very scary for a kid when mom is out of control. I know this because I've been out of control plenty of times and my kids have suffered plenty because of it (and then I suffer with the guilt). The good news - there is forgiveness, there is newness of life in each moment, and chances are excellent that in the end, they will be fine! And if you're afraid not, do what I heard a caller to a radio show do - she saved some money and when her kid turned 18, she gave him enough money for a year of therapy. She told him ahead of time, "I know you feel I've messed you up - when you're 18 I'll give you money for a year of therapy. After that, you're on your own! And if by some chance you don't need therapy, you can use it for a car or college or whatever else. It's a win-win!" I admire you for being a stay-home mom. It's not easy. It never was, but there's less support now than in the past, and it's easy to feel you're all alone. Pray. Trust that God brought those beautiful kids into your life (and into the world!) for a reason, and ask him for strength to get through the days. I heard someone say about parenting "the days are long, but the years are short." It's true! (and if you want to read another great book, try "raising your spirited child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka - Carrie is right, these kids turn into the lawyers of the world!) Hang in there!

Carrie
Carrie

I just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog and your sweet comments about my little miracle baby! As for your son, I have to say... he reminds me SO MUCH of my sister. My younger sister, who is now a successful lawyer. She was tough as a child because she was super smart, and I still remember my mom's friend-- a psychologist-- saying to her, "she wants some limits. You need to set more limits." Once she started enacting some rules and limits my sister got a little better. It was that stubborn streak in her, though, that got her through law school! I don't have advice, my kids are too little and it sounds like you've read the right books. As a former teacher, I'd say at this point you might want to talk to a pediatrician or a counselor, since they will be able to see if there is a medical concern or if it's truly behavioral. I wish you all the luck in the world, it sounds like you are doing everything right and I can only imagine how difficult it all is. You are a great mom, don't forget that!

admin
admin

Thank you so much for stopping by! I think that Cameron is probably a lot like your sister, he's very intelligent and I think he's craving more boundaries. I just want him to use his intelligence for good instead of evil. The kid is stubborn like an ox, and I hope it helps him to do something challenging when he's older. One day at a time right?