Thursday, November 8, 2007


My son Jacob. My eldest, my most challenging child.

I wonder, is it possible to love your child, but not like him very much?
I ask because, lately Jacob and I have been butting heads about everything and anything, from less serious things like the clothes he wears to more serious problems such as his disrespect and attitude toward the members of his family recently.

He is a wonderful boy and I cherish his existence, but I am wondering if he and I will survive his preteen years, let alone the teenage years! During these past couple weeks, Jacob has been mouthy, rude, too aggressive with his brother (that begs another whole post - why MUST boys wrestle?), and attempting to emulate the 'bad crowd'. Yes, there is most certainly a bad crowd already in the fourth grade - especially in public schools. Heck I think Kindergarten has it's rising issues in that area, as children these days place significant importance on clothing, shoes, who has which video games/Ipods/cell phones, but that also needs it's own post.

If I say one thing, my son says the opposite. No matter what. No matter if he knows he is right, it is simply to contradict me and I see it. I have tried taking privileges away, grounding him, and sitting him away from anything and everyone in an effort to take all stimulation away (a form of behavior therapy that worked with him for years). But gosh, now the child is simply unpleasant to be around and I feel myself brace when he comes in the door because I just know it isn't going to end well - whatever it is.

Those of you with boys, or girls, who have been dealing with issues such as these, or of course any of you readers that may have expertise in this area of parenting, I beg you to please offer up some new ideas. Parenting mags just don't cut it anymore. I am tired already and we have barely begun the journey.


Family Adventure said...

THANK YOU! Christopher is in grade 5, but I kid you not, I was asking myself the same thing - 'is it possible to not like your child very much?'. It's terrible. The guilt.
But I think now, that it must be an age thing, and that this, too, shall pass. I mean, you and I are both experiencing it, and other people seem to be, too, with boys the same age. The attitude, the back talk, cheekiness, bullying the younger sibling. It's all there.

It is the same thing with their homework. Patterns are repeated everywhere.

This must mean there's hope, right? They can't all be bad kids, right? Right?


Chaotic Joy said...

We often joke that if we said to Brandon, my eldest, that the sky was blue, he would argue that it was green, just for the sake of being contrary. He also likes to respond "I know" to everything we say no matter how often we tell him this is rude, and he does, in fact, NOT know everything. He has also always been a follower and tends to gravitate toward the wrong kind of kids.

I have to say that now that he is a softmore in HS he has actually matured out of some of these things. And so really my only advice is to pick your battles but to stand firm on the things that really matter. Disrespect was the absolute deal breaker here. Each and every time he talked back to me he would have a consequence, even it if seemed he was writing sentences or whatever all week long.

Eventually when he realized I wasn't budging in that area he would bite his tongue (even if he was glaring at me). :) But it has been my observations that if you let the disrespect slide it will escalate. I am seeing that already happening with my daughter (in sixth grade) and I am having to go back and try to reclaim some ground.

I know it's hard, when it feels like all you do is fight with them. I really do. It makes you long for the days when they were younger and thought you hung the moon in the sky. Hang in there. Just keep doing what you know is right, even when it doesn't feel like you are making a difference.

You are.

Chaotic Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Y said...

I think it's Ok to not like our kids all the time... I wish I had more insight to add but mine are still young and are barely barely starting these things. I think you probably just need to keep on showing him the line and letting him know the consequences of crossing it. It might just be a phase you have to get through... It's such a tough thing being a parent and I know it only gets harder until finally they are able to fly on their own... Good luck. I think as long as your heart's in the right place and you are trying your best, you'll all turn out Ok in the end!

slouching mom said...

I think Joy really hit it.

And we are starting to see these kinds of things in Ben. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

My oldest is in 7th grade now, and while he has his moments, it's way better than it was in 4th and 5th grade. I think they have to figure out what works for them. When they see that that's not working, they'll try something else. Be patient. Like they say, this too, shall pass.

painted maypole said...

no advice, just hear to say it's OK, and you can vent to us. And yes, it is true that sometimes you don't like the people you love very much. ;)

Victoria said...

At least your "child I don't like" is older...there have been many times I didn't like my Girl, and she's just four. Sigh. PM got it right - can't always like those you love. Just keep being a constant, loving, positive force for him. Good luck!

Emily said...

First, as a teacher, let me tell you he'll become human again in about six or seven years.

Second, when you write that post about the In-crowd, send it to me please right away. Takes me awhile to catch up on blogs, and I am currently linking to posts on that very topic.

blooming desertpea said...

At a certain stage I found that fighting and shouting didn't really get us anywhere, so I took him into a separate room and talked to him face to face in a quiet tone and explained to him what worries me or what I find intolerable and why - and on the next next breath I added a few rules and the consequences if he were to break them.

I'm not sure, you might already be doing this. So, other than that I don't know what other advise to give except for what has been said about to try and concentrate on the important things and close your eyes to the petty stuff, that way you won't have to repremand him too much.


Christine said...

i wish i knew some answers, friend. .but i see that this road ahead will l be bumpy for us, too. my daughter is only six and my son 3 but already he head butting is so so hard.