5 mins read

Coping: You vs Your Child's Bad Habit

As a mother, we often tell others how wonderful our children are and brag about their amazing qualities; talents; their good grades; or their inability to let anything hold them down. A child’s resolve is, after all, much too be admired. You rarely hear a parent say something along the lines of those things that might otherwise be intimidating or embarassing to tell others about. We don’t want anyone to believe that our perfect child has (insert deep breath here & whispers)… faults. *gasp*

However, as a mother, we often need to look at the honest side of things. Our children go through stages (i.e. picking nose stage) and they are stages that we must take with the good. It gives us the opportunity to teach & guide; “C’mere baby, Mommy needs to talk to you. You know how you enjoy picking your nose? Welllll, it’s a very bad habit. What we’re suppose to do is blow our nose into a tissue because picking noses is kind of yucky. Do you understand? You do? Okay, good!” & she smiles warmly. Five minutes later she walks into the child’s room only to discover that not only is he or she picking his nose, but is now eating the treasure of which he has dug persistently for since he had that discussion with you.

We’ve all gone through something similar to this, but we often don’t discuss it as openingly as we do those amazing qualities that we beam with pride over. Yet, we all know they exist and we all know that a mass majority of mother’s have had to deal with it.

But, what about those slightly more taboo bad habits, obsessions, etc. that are perhaps a bit rare, unheard of, etc.? Let me give you an example:

Once upon a time my daughter used the bathroom to go number two and she used a lot of toilet paper. (We all know where this is heading; right?) Next thing you know, the toilet is overflowing all over the bathroom floor, my daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs, “Mommyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!!?!? It’s running out!!!!” as she breaks down in sobs on the living room floor (she’s very dramatic for the record). I quickly drop what I am doing and run down the hall to the bathroom. In the back of mind I hope this is just another exaggeration compiled by my daughter, but alas… it was not. It was definitely running out and somehow I could see a marquee flashing in my mind’s eye that read, “Mommy Vs. Running Toilet”.

After a few minutes I managed to unclog the toilet, flush it a few times to make certain that all was well, and sat down on the edge of the bathtub. I caught myself staring at this toilet for a minute and thinking to myself, “Self, this really sucks”. Albeit, I didn’t want my daughter to feel as if she had upset me so I kept the cool exterior firmly in place as I began to clean-up the war zone.

What has transpired from all of this is, well, obsessive compulsive behavior or a literal fear of flushing toilets. You see, my daughter will rarely flush a toilet; anywhere. She hasn’t flushed a toilet (without assistance or a reminder) for over a year. Yeah, you did read that correctly… a year. This is one of those long stages that I am fighting tooth & nail in preventing it from becoming an even bigger issue.

That’s the fear; is it not? That if we, as mothers, don’t correct the bad habit that it will soon transpire into something more complex. A pick-up the phone, call the nearest psychiatrist to schedule an appointment to help me stop this obsessive-compulsive behavior before it is too late kind of fear. Alright now we know where my daughter gets her exaggerating from, but nonetheless it is something that is in the forefront of my mind and it will be corrected – in time. No pressure; just guidance and lots of patience.

However, a support group would be nice to discuss situations like this with other mom’s. A place to admit that our amazing children have these quirky little things about them that sometimes leave us with the desire to pull our own hair out, but love them for each unique thing about them.

Fact of the matter is I’d flush the toilet for her, ten times a day, for the rest of her life as long as she’s here for me to love & cherish.

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