Every Kid Has Their One "Thing"by Sarah Dyer
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was relaying the struggles that she's had with her daughter and potty training. After a more detailed explanation of everything under the sun that she has tried, she said ‘You know I get that this is just her ‘thing’, every kid has something that is a challenge and this is hers.” I’ve thought about that a lot recently, and while I haven’t polled every mom I know, I would venture to say that it's probably fairly accurate. Every child goes through something that is difficult to get past and can stress out the parents and the kids as well.
My two kids are each going through their own ‘things’ right now and I know I’m totally stressed out about it - which is either an indication that I need to chill out, get a job, or drink more. Unfortunately the "drinking more" option is out because I’m preggers, which could also be adding to my underlying stress. A job is also out right now because of the aforementioned situation. So I guess that leaves me to just figure out how to chill out about it all. The tough thing about parenting is that you don’t know with certainty, what the long term ramifications of your actions are going to be, so its tough to know what line to take.
I’ll give you an example. For the past six months my 4-year-old son has refused to participate in classes that he has asked me to sign him up for. We signed up for baseball with a good friend of his, and every week we would go to class and he couldn’t get himself to join in. I tried everything, I tried getting mad, I tried telling him I was disappointed, I tried bribing him and finally I just let him sit and watch and go at his own pace. He wasn’t allowed to sit with me, he had to sit across the gym near where they were playing and I thought it would make him more likely to join. The coaches were great, they’d come over and make him laugh but he still just wouldn’t play. Moving on to summer, and he asked if he could take swimming lessons with his friend. My son already knows how to do everything in both Level 1 and Level 2 of the swimming classes that were available. So I intentionally put him in Level 1 to try and help build up his confidence. Again, no dice. He won’t participate. So I’m left wondering if my kid is going to be the only 14-year-old with floaties or will be the one in the hoodie, jeans and sneakers flopped beside the pool in 100 degree weather.
Without getting too dramatic about the whole thing, my husband and I don’t want to teach our children that its ok not to participate. We’re both active and my son is too, but its difficult getting him past the anxiety of joining in on something that can seem intimidating to him. I also don’t want to force him to do things that could in the long run make him never want to do them again. So I’m stuck trying to balance between the two, and its not working out well for either one of us right now.
At the end of the day, we’re very lucky that this is all I’m concerned about and I know we’re fortunate to be happy and healthy. My kids’ pediatrician keeps reminding me that “this too shall pass” is applicable to nearly all things parenting. So for now I’ll just pour myself another fruit punch in my wine glass and wait until this too, comes to pass.