Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Imperfect Mother

Benjamin and I had a tough morning yesterday. He woke up and although he was very helpful (doing his chores from the revived job list) he was in a 'challenging' mood. Instead of doing what I asked of him right away, he would give me twelve reasons why he couldn't. He argued with me at every turn. He was flat out disrespectful. 
I am generally pretty firm. I will stand my ground and explain that he needs to do as I ask, etc., etc. But yesterday morning as I stood firm and held my ground, things were falling apart. He wouldn't cave. Arguing. More arguing. I spoke to him in a calm but firm voice. When he was explosive or disrespectful (arguing) I told him to remove himself and go to his room. But it was a mess. In spite of all of my best efforts, I failed. In the end, he flipped out and had a meltdown like he was five. Finally, we were able to talk. But it was like talking in front of a horrific car accident on the side of the road.
I love my boy. He is so talented. He has so many things to offer. He is intense. Bright-eyed. Fun. And hard to parent. What is a mother to do? Should I have backed off? Disrespectful behavior (raising your voice and sarcastic facial expressions) towards your mother seems like a dangerous thing to 'let slide' with a strong willed child on the cusp of teenagerhood. How do you guide such a child? How do you show them what won't be tolerated without allowing things to escalate?
How do you make certain you don't squash his vibrancy, but also insist that he obey and respect and take responsibility for his actions (the bad-behavior actions)?
Just look at him. He is so expressive and vivacious. 
And I love him so.


Tanya said...

What a touching post on mothering! It is so hard!!! It made me well up. You're right, Benjamin is a vibrant and bright little guy with so much potential. You are the best Mom in the world for him, and you are doing a great job. Just the fact that you are willing to stay with him and slog through those tedious situations is an example to me of good parenting. It is the behavior of a loving parent who cares enough to be involved in the details.


Amy said...

I have 2 of those "vivacious" types so I know how you feel. Haven't figured out what works yet but if and when I do I'll share my strategy!

Sandy said...

Thanks for the encouragement Tanya. xo
Amy, I am still convinced that LOVE conquers all. And you're doing a great job at that.
I am beginning to think that Benjamin and I may need some help learning how to negotiate and resolve conflict together. Too much clashing. I'm doing my best, and it's just not enough.
Good parenting is not for sissys.