17 September 2013

the terrible terrible twos

So I haven't talked a whole lot about Theo's behaviour on here, and especially not recently. It's one of those things though, it's hard to share the things that aren't so good and the things that are hard.

But hard it is. Since Theo turned two and a half we have just been going through a very rough patch, which has in turn made me feel anxious and stressed out a lot of the time. I've mentioned before that we have had problems with him hitting and pushing other children, and even though it does seem to go in waves, it feels as though we are right at the peak at the moment, and I really don't know how much I can cope with. I've talked before about how I had a fear of going to playgroups, visiting the park or basically going anywhere where there might be other children we don't know. It may sound silly to some that I have these fears, especially of the lovely parks near me, but I just don't seem to have the energy to cope with them, and I feel anxious just at the thought of them.

If we visit a place Theo will more than likely in the first few minutes manage to hit or hurt another child. It's usually fighting over a toy, or a space on the climbing frame etc, or sometimes just a bit random. It makes me feel embarrassed to write that, but that's the reality of it. It makes me feel embarrassed because I know that I'm trying my hardest to make him not do it, but it keeps happening, over and over, every single day. I've lost count of how many times we've had to have pep talks before we enter a place, how I have to take him to one side and explain how we don't hit, to use his words, to wait his turn, to calm down, how we share and take turns. But it doesn't seem to work. I know at his age all these concepts are big things to understand, but I just hope that it will start to go in at some point. It makes me feel defeated, deflated and tired. And I'm not enjoying being his parent right now.

I feel awful writing that, but I see or hear people say "I feel so privileged to be his parent" "I feel so blessed he is in our life" "they're just a joy to be around and spend time with..." etc etc, I know I just don't feel like that at the moment. Of course, of course, I still love him, more than anything, and that won't change, but it is getting spread pretty thin at the moment. I feel as though we're not friends very much at the moment, that we're constantly battling and fighting against each other. I miss my little companion and I miss feeling that way towards my child.

Obviously there are moments when things aren't so tough, when we play games, have proper conversations, and he does play well with his friends. These moments make me feel proud, happy and a little calmer, and it makes me feel bad that he might just be labelled as a bad child when he is acing out, or if that is all that people see of him. Theo's not a bad child, or a horrible child at all, he just perhaps needs a little more guidance and understanding. He's incredibly bright, lively, curious and affectionate too but I guess these good points just get overshadowed by the not so good.

I've noticed recently, that because he's such a confident child he will happily run off into a new situation or place without first taking the time to survey the situation and think about what he wants to play with first, or where and what the other children may be doing. I feel like he gets overwhelmed by the choices, frustrated that he may not be able to go on or play with what he wants to straight away, and the easiest way to vent that frustration or feeling overwhelmed is to hit. If we've been at a place for a while, or he knows it well then he is a lot calmer and can play well, and can be incredibly kind and sharing with other children. I also know that he is testing his boundaries constantly, and with that testing them with me. I know it's all part of learning, and that one day, hopefully soon it'll all start to sink into place and we can leave this awful phase behind.

I know for us the next step is getting him into preschool, and one that is the right place for him. I know it will be hugely beneficial for the both of us, and will hopefully be a step in the right direction for him learning how to behave and act around other children. But more to come on that later! 

6 comments :

  1. I have no words on how to make you feel better, but as a parent of a really headstrong 3 year old, I know how it feels to be hopeless especially when we know that their behaviour at a certain place or time is not their usual behaviour.

    Like you I have been through all those (maybe still going through it), talking, explaining and at times negotiating, and found out that a little tough love works for my little one. I will explain that this behaviour is not acceptable and if she does it again, we will stop playing or leave playground/area. Usually it will work with one warning but sometimes it ends up in tears (for both her and me).

    I wish you all the luck and loads of hugs and cups of tea. :)

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  2. Oh wow, this sounds tough - I can relate to it though, although I suffer more with Coco than with Henry, sometimes I go in when she is sleeping just so I can remind myself of how much I do love her when she's not awake being a bit of a brat! Breathe deep, know that it will pass. Feeling for you though. x

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  3. Oh Abi, it's hard, it really really is. Indi is scratching and spitting at the moment, and it does keep me from taking her to groups because basically I can't be arsed with all the 'expert' parents up there rolling their eyes and muttering comments. This is my third time round the block & i can honestly say that he is not the first and will not be the last, you're feelings are completely normal and it WILL (and does) pass.
    Come over for a cuppa soon (next week?) - Indi would love to see Theo again!

    Lia xx

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    1. I went a little typo mental there ;)

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  4. I've been wanting to comment on this for ages, but my phone wouldn't let me, so it's involved a special trip to the PC ; )

    The paragraph where you said "I feel as though we're not friends very much at the moment, that we're constantly battling and fighting against each other. I miss my little companion and I miss feeling that way towards my child." is basically me and Arlo at the moment.

    It's been brewing for a long while, as you said, since around 2.5 years old (he's 3 next month). He is just such a handful, and demands so much from me at the moment. I end up feeling resentful that he is holding me back from my 'work from home' work, when that just seems so messed up. I shouldn't be resentful towards a two year old, he can't help it. Ideally, I would love to remove the stress and just enjoy my time with the two of them, but I need to earn money too, and so we have this constant battle. I just want my happy, contented boy back, but I feel there's not enough of me to go around in order to achieve this.

    Not much help but just wanted to mention that I understand how awful it can be to feel that way towards your child.

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  5. Hey lovely, I've just read this post. I really feel for you, I know how frustrating it can be when your child does the exact opposite of what you want them to do. F is totally having food issues at the mo. Different to Theo but still it causes those anxiety levels to peak. I start to dread mealtime etc. Just remember it's all a phase until they're about 4 (although the closer to 3 F is, I might move that magic number to six). Catch up soon x

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