I would like...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Writing from an airport in Madrid - very swish, a computer in the bedroom - en route for Marrakesh tomorrow. We just had a nice few days staying with a sister of my ex husband who lives in Spain, someone I have stayed friendly with and visit fairly often. J was in his element, playing with his cousins and their friends, outside in the street. More village life! But no difficult child here - J is just one of the crowd, playing happily and uncriticised among the other children. His mood seemed generally happier, better, as if he really needs and wants to be living like this, surrounded by noise, happy commotion, late nights, freedom - the Moroccan way of life for kids. He was SO sweet this morning, helping my ex sister in law, unasked, to tidy up the house. And he did a really good job too, sweeping up our bedroom floor, making the bed. He was sad to go, of course, wanted to stay.
    Finding the way to the hotel was uber stressful - found the basic neighbourhood in Madrid and then spent an hour or more driving round, hopelessly lost, with no Spanish and few people who speak English or French... I was all frazzled up at the end of it and stressy with J, even though he was being basically so good, trying to help, making such funny and sweet (at any other time) suggestions. And then I really lost it when he wouldnt cooperate going to bed, refusing to brush his teeth, clenching them, spitting out the toothpaste, etc. I shouted at him and was quite nasty... He said afterwards "I dont like you when youre cross, Mummy. I only like you when youŕe happy. Be happy, dont be stressed!" And J honestly is so adorable much of the time, so sweet and bright and funny and I feel like a real heel and a wretch when I just cant deal with his difficultness which I still dont really "understand"... I just cant (cant find the apostrophe!) get it into my head sometimes that he cant help being difficult - I react like he is doing it on purpose. I feel I have a low threshold for stress which isnt a good recipe with a difficult child... And Im scared about veering into abusiveness sometimes when he is just so damned awkward for no apparent reason.
    Does this ring bells with anyone???
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm still learning the patience myself. Kiddo and I do have some inside jokes that we can say to each other that sometimes helps defuse a situation. Often they're just funny lines from a movie or stand-up comedy routine that we enjoyed together.

    Have a safe and happy trip!
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think we've all been there.

    My Wee has developed a habit of spitting. Constantly. Walking everywhere. spit spit spit spit. Non stop. Purses up his lips and tongue and forces it through his front teeth. DRIVES.ME.BATTY.

    I am pretty sure it is some form of a stimulant for him. But it is by far the worst one for me. It grates on my very last nerve.

    I feel much the same way when I have to spend an entire weekend with my walking sprinkler system.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. I guess my point with this post was that sometimes J is really not so bad and I over-react with him (the difficult child parent) because of my own "stuff". He spat out the toothpaste but not at me, into the sink and it missed... And then other times he really is incredibly annoying and difficult for no apparent reason and I dont react so badly...
    Its like I said. I actually do feel like my J is a gift from god, quite unsarcastically, but he really is so demanding and difficult a child at times, as we all know about, and sometimes I feel I dont make the grade. And, as far as Im concerned, its no good saying its all him because I often witness the fact that it isnt and that how I interact with and deal with him does make a big difference to his behaviour.
    As another poster said in reply to another thread, these children get such a lot of negative feedback all the time and its so inevitable because their behaviour is sometimes so challenging, disruptive, all the rest... and then I see how J, for one, just shines and opens and wants to please when I praise and encourage him... so itś much more than just a foregone conclusion all the time that he is just going to screw up and make a mess of things. He has a lot of potential but requires so much special understanding somehow.
    God give me the strength and the forebearance and the basic love to do this task of parenting...
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Are you able to apologise to him afterwards? It is an important lesson for kids, to realise their parents are fallible and also to learn, by seeing a parental example, how to apologise themselves.

    "I'm sorry I was cross with you, I was tired and you seemed to be trying to be difficult. I know now you were not, I just misunderstood."

    It's also good to praise him for being good. Tell him you are very glad he was seeming to be so relaxed, was so helpful and you really enjoyed his company.

    Making praise unconditional is important. Too often we try to insert a lesson in there, and it greatly undermines and devalues any benefit. You should never say, "I am so happy to see you playing well with your cousins. Why can't you be like that all the time?"

    Sometimes the best lessons are the simplest ones. "I love you. I love your good behaviour."

    Enjoy your break. I find it interesting that he is so much happier, even in an environment that is obviously challenging in its lack of predictability. So he can handle change, and new things. I wonder why?

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    been there done that. I understand how you feel and totally agree that it is important to take the opportunity to apologize for being human. Once I punished the wrong kid......boy, did I feel guilty! But, the later apology was accepted. Hugs. DDD
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD...I have done that before...along with calling the kid the dogs name....lmao!
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I apologised afterwards, explaining that I was "stressed" - which provoked his comment (rather perceptive in my opinion) that he liked me when I was happy... I think it was important to him that I said that, relieved him and made my outburst less scary and incoherent.
    As to his being able to deal with change, Marg, I dont know that its really change for him. He was born in Morocco, lived there until he was three (albeit with six months in the UK after I left my husband), and then... itś in his genes, his character, his mannerisms, I dont know... you only have to see him with other Moroccan kids. He is in the right place. I have a French friend who talks about how he will just adapt to and become like the environment where he grows up. I dont actually think this is right. It forms part of my dilemma (oh yes, another one :) ) about whether we should go back to Morocco or not, where I KNOW he will be happier (but me not really).
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Shari if it's any consolation I recall a number of boys Wee's age doing the same thing. I think a lot of kids do it for a while when they first really get the hang of it (Kiddo started doing it after watching Mulan when she was about 3). Boys also do it as one of those macho man things.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's been a while since he was in Morocco, but as you said - it's in his blood somehow. That was, I guess, the point I was trying to make - usually change is a problem , but this time he seems to be thriving on the experiences. I find that interesting and probably highly relevant. I am less focussing on nature here, but environment. What is it about the environment in Morocco that is working for him, that is not present in his French environment? It could be as simple as the other kids being on the same wavelength, or playing according to rules he understands and can accept. Or it could be that in France there is a level of prejudice and social difficulty that is absent in Morocco. Identifying why is important in helping in understanding what works for him, what doesn't and why this is the case.

    I'm glad he is doing better for you there, though. Breathe. You're doing great.

  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Ha, ha, Marg. What is different in Moroccan culture for kids compared to France?
    No, or few, rules
    Great freedom for kids who are left alone to play under the "supervision" of older kids much of the time
    Lots of laughter and talk
    Community and sociability - no-one is ever alone
    Probably most children would prefer it :)
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Support. Choice. Supervision (hence controlled play, directed, not too anarchic). Positive, happy attitudes. Nobody hitting him over the head for not sitting still or giving a wrong answer...

    Yes, I can see why that would work. More interestingly, it is the opposite that does not work as well for him, where other kids can tolerate it better.

  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    What's different about that?
    Really, that's how I grew up - in a predominantly white, blue-collar working-man neighborhood.
    In the summer, we left the house after breakfast and didn't show up until lunch time.
    Kids ranged in age from 2 to about 14 (by 15, they were doing "cooler" things like working)
    We all looked out for each other. Parents were not necessary.
    Even on school days - we often left after supper and showed up when parents started opening front doors looking for kids (10pm or so).
    They knew where we were - they could hear us. The whole neighborhood could. It was just an unwritten rule that things needed to settle down by 10 if there was school tomorrow, 11 otherwise.

    It sounds like it isn't just Morocco... that Spain is similar, too.
    I'm wondering if part of why Spain went well, was that YOU were more relaxed too... and if part of that was not being "alone" - sounds like family there and you get along great, and so you could relax and let other eyes and ears help.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    How we grew up is no longer how our kids grow up, even in the same regions. The more traditional a lifestyle, the fewer changes, and the more chance of things being unchanged form generation to generation. My own upbringing was very different to my kids'. I think it's the same for husband. I remember being very bored as a kid, but if I went home and said I was bored, my mother would give me chores. And I would be bored, AND sore from all the work. What I craved was intellectual stimulation. These days our kids have a lot more scope for stimulation, but I think we have swung too far and there is an overdose of stimulation and kids don't know how to stimulate their own minds.

    I'm thinking that possibly in Spain the play was more structured, perhaps more than it seemed (such as a game of soccer being played, however informally) and with someone more senior (even an older kid) exerting some level of supervision/control. That is enough to make a huge difference.

  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I grew up like that too, Insane, though in my memory it was small groups of roughly same age children who used to disappear into the countryside without adults... I guess my point was that France is not like that but I really have got paranoid because of the not-good experiences in the village....
    Generalisations are doubtless dangerous.
    Well, we are now in Morocco and J is with his dad and various relatives at the family house in the mountains. This feels very strange and of course I am feeling a mixture of strangeness/guilt/worry, as though something is missing from me... I miss my little difficult child. I spoke to one of my ex sisters in law earlier and she said J and her son had been happily playing all day. Last night I spoke to him, his first night away, and he was in floods of tears saying he wanted me. He is little to be doing this. I only hope he will start to "forget" and re-adapt to the routine there.
    J's difficulties reveal themselves even in Morocco (of course?) We spent the first night with friends who have a little boy of 7, who used to know J, and they got on okay most of the time but there were squabbles. J gets very heated and intense, turns quickly to quarrelling and disputes over toys, etc. Though of course he does also play normally and happily some of the time. Then we went to another ex sister in law, who has two kids to whom J is and was close - but even there there were "incidents" with him hitting them through over-exuberant play with a piece of plastic tube and a real championship crying whine he had over somthing that I could see shocked my ex sister in law and her husband somewhat. Spending time with little H, J's four year old cousin, I really see the difference between a difficult child and a easy child - he's so amenable and easy, you just have to ask him to do something and he immediately does it without protest, when he does cry it is brief and very soon over, he's totally laid back about sharing toys, etc. A whole different ball game. Had an interesting chat with my ex sister in law in which she said that in Morocco people didn't know about these conditions and never saw things in these terms - they just saw children who were naughty and turbulent or whatever... So what is new :)
    On the other hand, just to balance things out, J was really SO good and responsible on the travelling about we did in Morocco, in hot, uncomfortable buses. Listening to me, wanting to help, etc. And with such a ready charm and smiles for strangers, engaging with them in a way Moroccans find delightful... It's always going to be this way, I think, a strange blend of easy child and difficult child...
    It's going to be a long five weeks...
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That strange blend of easy child and difficult child is what you get in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and anything related. They WANT to be good, they WANT to please you but when it gets too difficult they just (for a time) give up and fall apart. Also, they will dish back to others the same aggression shown to them. And there is a lag effect - difficult child 3 was transferred to a school where bullying was strictly prohibited but he was still very reactive to anything that could be considered the beginnings of bullying. Then when we transferred him to correspondence, difficult child 3 was still reactive for the next two years. I also have seen this in other classmates in the correspondence school - when the kids meet (about twice a term) you can see how some of them respond aggressively and inappropriately, often because they're still reactive after years of bullying and having to fight their way through (as they see it). One of difficult child 3's good friends in school (now) was in a special behaviour school because he was beating up other kids. Initially he was verbally aggressive with difficult child 3, but his mother explained to him about autism and that difficult child 3 was no threat, and the next time they met, he saw difficult child 3 in a different light - difficult child 3 clearly having his own problems. The guy now looks out for difficult child 3, takes care of him like a big brother.