Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear Mama of a Rough Little Boy,

Dear Mama of a Rough Little Boy,

It was a long day.

What did he do today?

Let me make a few guesses -- pull down the curtains, push down every child in sight, figure out how to unlatch and unlock the front door, throw all the fruit from the refrigerator out the doggy door, insist on reading the same dumb book over and over again, break a window on purpose, play in the dirt pile immediately after you swept, chase the dog, chase the cat, chase the chickens, chase the sister, break your favorite lamp even though you told him to get off the bookshelf 135 times, or did he bite you so hard you almost slapped his sweet little face?

None of those?

Then this letter isn't for you.

But, if you know all about being that mom who has the kid who pushes, kicks, bites and just generally plays too rough every moment of the day....please keep reading.

I know what it is like.  From the days when you leave the park on the first kick, to the days when you let the kicks slide because you need to be at the park so you don't have to be in the confined quarters of your house with your crazy child.

Trust me.  I understand.

So, from one mama of a rough little boy to another mama of a rough little boy, this is my (unsought) advice:

1. Drop the time-out.  Instead give him a 'time-in'.  When your instinct orders him into his room, take a step back and do something you will both enjoy.  Are you rewarding him for bad behavior?  No.  You are loving your child and modeling the proper way to deal with strong emotions.  When he is calm, then you can discuss the poor decisions made earlier.

2. Stay outside as much as possible.  This is a no-brainer but very important.  Drizzle, snow, heat.  It won't stop these boys.

3. Keep your expectations low.  Low.

4. Learn about toddler brain research and how brain development affects our toddlers' decisions.

5. Read lots of positive parenting blogs.  This is a great starter post.  

So tomorrow after you have told your rough little boy to keep his grimy little hands off baby sister for the 724th time, think about me.

And, I'll think about you.

Laura OMML


Kristi said...

Surely you think of me! Right?! As I think about how nothing is working with Oliver, I think about how I am talking to him. Positive reinforcement is key, I have to repeat this several times a day! I feel like we go through cycles of good/bad behavior. My attitude is directly reflected in them most days. UGH!

LauraOMML said...

Yeah.....Henry was at his craziest when he was Ollie's age.  And, I totally agree that his attitude mirrors me which isn't always a good thing.  

Jessica said...

Aww, Laura, thanks for writing me this letter ;)  Outside is a must, sometimes the park is definitly more for me, and that instinct when he 'strikes again' is just plain hard to control (especially when you're controlling it 95% of the day!) I'm just glad I'm not alone, glad others understand, and glad for the reminder to have a time in, figure out what it is he obviously needs, and take a deep.breath!

LauraOMML said...

You and Kristi were both on my mind :)  Personally, I kind of like it when I see another crazy little boy because it makes me feel better about my own....and I feel like I need to point out that Liza is now my crazy one but her rough just isn't the same as that little boy roughness.  

Jessica said...

:) I know what you mean. Sometimes you just have to take a sigh of relief when you hear others going through the same thing.  And Quinn is pretty crazy too, so I get you on that...but it's a different kind of rough for sure. So many times during the day I look at things she does and say to myself "oh, that is so your brother!"

The Quinns said...

Love it! Now how about 'Dear Mama of a Bossy Little Girl' next?? Got one of those yet? I sure do! Have NO idea where she gets it from...

Farmer Julie said...

At first I thought this post was not for me.
Then I got to the line "...break a window on purpose,"
(Didn't Liddow Dan put his head through our porch window?  Yes.  Yes, he did.)
Thank you, and have faith - as I do - that rough little boys will grow into sensitive, confident and aware young men. 

LauraOMML said...

Ha!  I do have faith.....most days.  Maybe not the day of the purposely broken window though.  That wasn't the best day.

Becky said...

As mother of a boy who can be rough, I understand the struggle.  I understand the days when mommy needs the break, or when it seems like the same struggles are happening day in and day out.  I get it.

I agree that time in is very important.  Kids need to know that we are involved with them, love them and support them. However, I do believe that it is necessary to model for them the appropriate ways to function channel their physical tendencies - whether it be climbing in the house or being physically aggressive toward others.  I believe that we need to take time to explain and model for our children how to navigate life as a child who can function in a family/group/public setting, while still allowing them to run, jump, crash and what-have-you.

I think striking the balance of time invested in showing them how to channel their physical behaviors appropriately and still be the themselves is key.  I think that is how we can avoid being "that mom" with "that kid".

LauraOMML said...

Definitely agree.  And, I think your term of "physically intense" applies here.  

Kinseypowell said...

Needed this today! :)