This week, I have been struggling with the behaviour, temperament and overall “being” of my eldest son. He has always been a “spirited” child with impulsivity, high emotional reactions and at times huge lack of empathy. He is aggressive and physical. My whole parenting life with him, I have always had gut wrenching feelings when it comes to his behaviours. Thoughts of the fights he will cause or partake in at school come to mind, talking back, inappropriate comments being made etc are all fears and concerns of mine. It is crazy to me how quickly one’s teaching strategies, practice etc change when you all of a sudden find yourself with a less than perfect child. And yes, I realize that no child is perfect and everyone has faults but when it is consistently your child hurting others and causing problems, you cannot help but wonder why God gave you this gift. One friend of mine pointed out that I was made to teach boys. Meaning that as a middle years teacher, I showed kindness, patience and love to the boys who typically cause the most issues in and out of the classroom. Therefore, in her mind, God knew that I would be a great mom to my boys. While this is an amazing compliment, it still remains a really tough pill to swallow when he is punching his brother, kicking the one year-old girl at daycare and having complete meltdowns when told no. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when this boy is amazingly gentle, kind and sweet and most likely, these are the days that get me through the rough patches.
Anyway, yesterday we had our school-wide Thanksgiving liturgy. At the very front of the room, I saw the kindergarten teacher take a little boy by the hand and ask him to sit beside her. I started to get anxious and panic, knowing that this will be my son. No parent wants their child to struggle and as a teacher, I don’t want him to be a trouble-maker or problematic at school at all. I know the potential he has and I want him to meet it. So, after work, I tweeted my concerns out their to twitterland to see what others thought. Many people responded with suggestions of things I have already done; observe him with others, take to the pediatrician, use time-outs, relax etc. I know as an educator that he is not a typical four year-old and that there is something “wrong.” So through the knowledge of twitterland, I have had some great suggestions. What was maybe most valuable to me were the comments encouraging me to accept this about my child,to accept my child as he is and to go ahead with the next steps. Another suggestion was to talk to someone I know in a similar situation. So I did! I had a great chat with a co-worker today who has a son like mine. She gave me some great advice, patience, love and support. I am feeling much better from the tweets I read and the support I received. Thanks to twitter, I now have some steps in place to help ease my anxiety but most importantly ease the stress in my son’s life. And, I learned the power of this twitter community- people who don’t even know me, asking people they know for help, posting questions for me, and easing my concerns. Thanks so much to all my new friends.