“They” often say it takes a village to raise a child and it does. But what happens when none of the villagers can relate to one of your children’s particular behaviors?
For example, our three-year-old is pretty rough and tumble. Sometimes, he is too rough (especially with his older brother). We have had many, many, many conversations with him about being gentle, not using his hands (or feet), etc.
I’m all about gender equality, but the truth of the matter is, some behaviors are innate. Boys and girls are different from the very beginning, well before society gets their grubby little paws on them. I know that part of it is that he is a little boy in a male dominated house. Our very best friends have little girls and I assure you that the dynamic at their house is much, much different.
I also know that in most social instances in his life thus far, he has been the youngest…he’s just trying to hang, to have his presence known, to gather all of the attention (not caring if it’s negative) that he can, to communicate his frustrations when words escape him.
Last, but not least, I also know that he is a threenager. Three was by far the worse age for our older son as well. This too shall pass.
These are my excuses, anyway. Judge me if you will. I, pretty much, spend all day every day judging myself. Telling myself that his behavior is all my fault, apologizing to other parents when he is too rough with their child, defending his behavior to friends and family.
In my heart, I know that he will be fine. He is a caring, compassionate little boy (when he’s not beating the snot out of someone). He loves to snuggle and is kind and inquisitive when he is around children that are smaller than him. Other parents often feel the need to placate me by pointing out these attributes when they know that I am at my wits end. But they always do it with a disapproving nod and a smug “poor you” look on their face.
Just when you’re about to hit rock bottom, just as you begin to tell yourself that you and your child will have to become hermits until this phase passes, you meet your person. You sigh a huge sigh of relief. They are struggling with the same dilemma as you. They, too, are embarrassed by their child’s behavior and do everything in their power to remain calm and rectify each situation with as little scrutiny as possible.
You continue to judge yourselves individually, but you do not have to worry about the other person judging you. They get it. They’re fighting the same battle. Maybe you’ll even let your little ruffians duke it out once in awhile, encourage them to make amends and hope that they both get over this phase at the same time.