Hank and I have had a rough couple of months. There has been a lot of yelling. A lot of throwing. A lot of refusal, hitting, and hurtful words. John and I have tried it all. We have removed him from the situation. We have made him miss events and lose toys. He has spent many a nights baricaded in his room. But the next day is the same as the last.
I clearly am not winning this parent thing. I needed to take a step back and look at the situation. I wasn’t seeing it. So I asked my pediatrician. She said “I would probably ask you for advice, so I am not sure what to tell you. Maybe we could consult a play therapist.” Yep. I am never one to turn down help. Never. Not with my patients, my business, my wardrobe – so I am not about to turn down help for my kids. In the mean time, I started blindly emailing every resource I had to elicit advice.
I got some great advice. I was encouraged to give slight attention to negative behaviors and increased attention and praise to the positive behaviors. I was encouraged not to tell John about bad incidents in front of Hank but to gush over his good moments. I was reminded to not use empty threats (I am the queen of this – I have canceled Christmas, his birthday, and all of his friends’ birthday parties at least once – and he never missed any of these things).
But also, something horrible happened. I saw a theme. It was not good. They all said “Did these behaviors start the same time you opened Bloom?” or “Do you feel like he regressed with behaviors when you got busier with Bloom?” “Is he less compliant when you are working?” Well…shit. They were right.
So we had to stop, and then start over. No more emails until someone throws something at me. No more phone calls during dinner. No more stopping in to make sure my employees remembered to turn off the coffee pot. Hank and Gus get me when I am with Hank and Gus.
I realized that as I looked so hard at my child and why he was doing what he was doing, I was missing what I was doing. Parenting is a lot more self reflecting than I was prepared for. It is also a lot harder than I was prepared for. In general, it is more everything than I was prepared for…but it is worth it.
Photo credits to Hoover Heights Media