Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Parenting the Hard Stuff-Part 2

In addition to HB#2's issues we've been dealing with some growing pains for HB#1. As you may already know, he is nine. Who knew that a nine year old boy would try my patience- and his fathers!- like this?

HB#1 is one of the most kind and smart kids I know, and I'm honestly not being just his mom on this one. He has always been one to give a hug or try to help someone out if they were struggling. He loves learning, has one of if not the highest reading level in his class this year, and is well behaved in school. He is the child that wanted to go help the Little League Challenger Division this weekend (a full 2 1/2 hours before the report time for his own game,) and made his mama so proud. To others he may seem like a model child, and in many ways he is, but right now he is struggling, and as his mom I get the brunt of things.

For 3 years now he has loved being in baseball. He loves it mostly for the social aspects of it-riding his scooter during his brother's games with the other siblings, trading pokemon cards while he was sitting on the bench, snacks after the game. This year he had to move up a level because of his age and we are really feeling the stress. These boys are now really into baseball. They want to practice and get better. They want their teammates to be good. This is where it gets hard.

As his mom I want to encourage him to just try his hardest, play fair, and be encouraging to others, but I weep inside when that is not all that the "world" expects of him. He is starting to notice that he is not the best player on the team and that the other kids are getting more playing time. He is imagining that the coaches are "giving him dirty looks," and maybe the kids too. Although I know, without a doubt, that the coaches are being 100% fair with all of the boys, I can't be so sure about the other boys. Kids can be so cruel. This might be easier if he actually wanted help from us, or wanted to at least go out back and play catch, but most of the time he would rather do a myriad of other things than practice with HD or I. He doesn't take instruction from us AT ALL, although he will from other people. He is starting to get that he won't get better unless he practices more, but we haven't seen any results yet.


This is especially hard for HD. He was the gifted-in-any-sport kid, loved them all, and practiced (sometimes alone) until he had to go inside in the evenings. I loved playing sports as a kid. He and I both want our kids to love sports-more for the love of exercise and the life lessons that they teach than for the competitive-spotry-ness of it all. We don't force HB#1 into any of this-sports are his decision. We even reminded him that it would be harder this year.

*double sigh*

And, on top of all of this he is developing quite the mouth. Like teen-age-girl-sassy-mouth. The kind that you want to smack right off of their face. (I wouldn't actually do this, but I can't tell you that it doesn't cross my mind.) He has been talking ugly to HD and I-like really disrespectful. When we try to correct that he plays the ultimate martyr.

And the whining is hitting ultimate proportions.

Not kidding.

The kid whines more than I wine.

(Which I know is ultimately my fault for letting it go this far.) For every step forward there is a step back and we just can't seem to get ahead. Although it's been difficult I have been much better at keeping my cool lately; finding the better, if not perfect, balance between being firm and not getting angry. Allowing his feelings with out letting him take them out on me or his dad, guiding his release without allowing inappropriate rage. (Yes, I said rage. Welcome to my afternoons.)

It's like walking on broken glass...putting your foot down gently, evening out the pressure, but one wrong move and there is blood everywhere.

Headless Mom


Carmen said...

With the sports, that's the point that my oldest dropped out. I just couldn't take it anymore, but he was so desperately unhappy and it wasn't working for any of us.

I feel your pain on the mouth. Seriously.

kyooty said...

He sounds very much like my 9going on 10yrold. It's a phase, it will pass, and you have show the consistency that is important to keep it all working. I saw my own parents get through 5 kids. I am though in the 9 zone so I understand.

There was a point at 7 when we would talk to him and he'd say something and you could swear in your head you heard "stupid" at the end of each sentence. You are not alone.

Sam said...

I like the walking on broken glass analogy. I'm sorry he's making it hard on himself.

Anonymous said...

Ahh Sweetie....hang in there. I think it must be so much harder at this age with boys because they don't know how to deal with emotions as it is.

You know I understand that whole "social standing" issue. This is definitely the hard part.

Maybe if you just try to keep your wine ahead of his whine...you'll be okay? JK :)

Cap'n Sam said...

"And this too shall pass" !!!(Bible)?
Don't know where this phrase came from, but it is very fitting. All parents go through these trying times.Just ask your mother !!
Just "Keep the Faith"" !!

Anonymous said...

We are dealing with something similar at my house. It has been my observation that first children usually end up with the perfectionist gene. Frequently what they are dealing with is a struggle with their own inadiquacy and it is really hard, especially because it is created in their own minds.
My advise, and it sounds like you are doing just that, is love him for who he is and make sure he knows you love him no matter what. Good Luck to you, and it WILL pass.

Cap'n Sam said...


bernthis said...

I kid you not and I am not trying to be funny here but a few weeks ago Phoebe became a literal monster. MONSTER. It scared me and she only five.

As far as the sports thing, that is the way of the world. Number one or who gives a damn about you. There is no fun in any of these sports anymore. It's so sad