Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pre-Adolescent Pains

Once upon a time he wore white canvas sneakers with frogs and lizards and carried a bear made from drapery samples and mismatched buttons. Then he followed me anywhere, trusted my every word and told me in no uncertain terms where it hurt.

Now he's eight and I hardly remember that little boy.

He's moody, emotional and I struggle to maintain a connection. I can't find the balance between giving him liberty to be his own person and drawing those lines intended to protect him. I can't communicate truth to him. He doesn't believe me.

It was he and I against the world, my firstborn. At six months old he lay next to me, head on my shoulder, smiling as if there were no happier place for a boy than right there with his mom reading Paddington Bear and Stop That Ball. And then in that moment I knew I could do it right. I never dreamed there would come a day when we would spend so much time in conflict and I would feel so completely out of control.

He comes to me when I reach for him. He falls into my embrace, even wondering aloud sometimes why I can't carry him anymore, though he knows good and well. But I wonder often why I have failed to give him more security and if he will grow up to be honest, kind and happy. Or is he destined to always be angry and obstinate?

Is it every parent's dream to raise a child perfectly primed to fit into society's nice little niche? Does anyone else worry they're raising a misfit?

Can I turn him?

Should I?

9 comments:

dcrmom said...

Oh, Supermom. I feel your pain. Mine is 7.5, and I was feeling that way last year while he was in school. Now that he's at home for the summer, it's better. I am wondering what will happen when he goes back to school. I never knew it could be this hard. I just always assumed it would work out right b/c I love him so much. But you just never know, do you? (((Hugs)))

Heather said...

My kids aren't this age yet but there are days when I wonder if my son (only 2.5) will forever be so tempermental that people will tiptoe around him so as not to upset him. The things that are left out of parenting books are the different personalities and quirks of different kids that just make everything different! This too shall pass and there will be a day when you sit down with your son and think, "Now this is what I was hoping to get to!" RIght? Please tell me it's true? :)

Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

I wonder if it might be the age. My 8-year-old daughter used to be a sweet, awesome little girl and now she's petulant and whining. I seem to remember her older sisters going through that too, but I don't remember the age. They seem to have gotten over it. In the meantime, we try to realize her limitations (she's Aspie and has incredible hearing and so even eating crunchy stuff near her drives her nuts) but go on with our lives.

And who says that anyone is a misfit? We're raising originals

Tara Sloan said...

As mom of five girls (15 months-14 yrs) I can tell you that this stage indeed sneaks up on you! My 9yo has always been so mellow, cuddly and helpful- but lately she's just popped into this other little girl that is moody and dramatic- and then she steps back into her sweet little self!
Fortunately this stage does end- however, when 12 hits it is the emotional stage followed by the "know it all" teen years)! Prayer will get us all through girls! Oh Lord please help us!

Mama of 2 said...

I too feel your pain. Little Man is just about to turn 10 (this Friday in fact) and he struggles with being my little boy and being a budding adolescent.
I feel too that we are always in conflict and worry if I am doing the best for him or if I am damaging him beyond repair.
But I guess the best we can do is love them and hope that that's good enough.

Sheen' of Diaper Harlem said...

Hi HI HI! I am sooo glad to see you back! I missed you and I am back too but in a new place in blogland. I used to be cheeriobutt but I got bored with that and figured that if I am going to be in my 30's I better get a little more sophisticated! Ha! Anyways, I wanted to say that each of my kids have seemed to enter a phase like your son's in, off and on as they grow and it's not pleasant or easy, but one thing that really works and helps a family through the hard parts is to make sure to give a lot of affection and if you can't do it physically then do it in notes or in some way that you are expressing your love and something positive to them everyday. It is important for all of us to know we are valuable and still loved despite our actions and our not always being pleasant. If you tell him how good and loved he is everyday in some way or another then eventually he's gonna believe it and when someone knows they are important and loved they tend to act a lot better, and even if they don't, there is still a bond kept between you. Now I must go and take my own advice! Good luck to us all!!!!

Heth said...

Seven through eleven was rough for my oldest. He's twelve now and it's been a better year but 13 is coming. As long as he knows you love him, he'll make it through.

mwjlnb said...

I'm going through this with my 5 year old. Sometimes I wonder if I'll survive but then I remember what I was like as a teenager to my stepdad and HE survived so this should be a piece of cake.
Piece of cake.... maybe that will help. (me not him).....

lisa h. said...

very sweet.

makes me feel i need to be a little closer to my 4 yr old and enjoy my time with him as he craves my attention at this point in life.

yeah i think it's a battle until they leave for college and if you keep battling until then you will have raised a wonderful gentleman. just don't give in for the next 10 years!