I am certainly not mom of the year and I certainly do not feel like it lately. I know I have let my son down and I refuse to let myself continue on this destructive path.
His pouty behavior during a couple of soccer games has angered me and I punished him for the behavior after the games. I do not know why I got so angry about it. He gets so frustrated with himself because he is not winning or the kids take the ball away from him and it doesn’t give him the chance to win. I have never told him he has to win, I only want him to try his hardest and I want him to have fun. But also, no where in there did I say, stand in the middle of the field and pout.
I have encouraged him throughout each game, told him how awesome he was doing, even if he didn’t touch the ball. He was obviously having fun. He has done well most of the time, even if he is just running in circles…at least he is trying. This weekend was my biggest fail as a mom. I knew he was having a hard time and I just could not figure it out.
When the game ended, he got a treat and a fruit punch. He was so excited by the package of Oreos he got and came to me and said “Mom, look.” I quickly snatched the treat away and put them in his bag. I told myself at the moment it was the right thing to do because he didn’t earn it.
I did not punish him further and I wasn’t really mad at him. I felt sorry for him. I decided to do some research on why he is like this. Why he has this self-defeating attitude when it comes to pretty much anything. I am not like that. I am competitive and I feel like I can do just about anything. If I can’t, at least I try. I came across a great article in Nashville Parent called “Yes I Can! Coaching Your Child to Counter Self-Defeating Thinking.” What a great article. I learned a lot about my child and what I have been doing wrong. It is a lot to take in. I examined every bit of what I say to my son and how I handle his
I woke up in a cold sweat at 4:00am last night, horrified at what I had done. The little bit of joy my son got out of the game on Saturday, I snatched it away. Those Oreos were the only thing that made him happy and I just meanly snatched it from him, along with his joy. This is a moment in time I wish I could take back.
My boy. I am so sorry I have been a bad example for you. I cannot believe I have done this to you. As the article points out, my boy has learned this self-defeating behavior from me. Not only in the way I speak about little mishaps that he get’s upset about, but all of the moments that I have been impatient with him. Last night, I took a shot at changing the way I address his frustration and way of thinking and I had two such occasions.
First, he was trying to stack some small parking cones we have so he could bowl in the living room. They were not staying stacked and he was unable to knock them down with his soccer ball. The end result, he was frustrated and throwing the cones. I stopped him gently and told him to come sit in my lap. I explained to him that the cones are really built for stacking and they are difficult to knock down. How about we figure out a solution together instead of getting frustrated? If you ever get frustrated and you cannot think of a solution on your own, come and ask me and we will figure it out together. I think we have some plastic cups in the pantry that would work so much better. They stack and they are good for knocking down.
Later that night, getting ready for bed, my boy was his usual rambunctious self and refused to settle. He kept putting his butt in my face which I find amusing the first few times, but then told him to calm down so we could read his book. Well, he didn’t and he ended up falling on me and elbowing me in the ribs. “OUCH!” I did not get angry, but told him to be more careful. This threw him into a fit. He get’s so angry when he accidentally hurts me. It usually comes after I have told him to calm down numerous times. Sometimes I get frustrated with him when he ends up knocking a glass of water over or hurting me because he cannot seem to calm down at night. Sometimes, I lose my cool over it…but most of the time I do not. Those times I do lose it, well, it damages him. He becomes upset with himself and with me for getting angry.
But not last night. I did not lose it, but instead pulled him close and spoke to him about what happened. I walked him through the chain of events and asked him what had happened. I asked him if mommy was angry. I asked him about a solution instead of getting frustrated. We came up with a solution together.
Since before I can remember, I get very amused when someone get’s hurt (but not gravely hurt), just tripping or clumsy mishaps. It strikes my funny bone. So, I told him to laugh at me when I get hurt. I am not sure if this is the right way to go, but we agreed and we moved on and he didn’t stay mad. It is usually pretty difficult to get him out of these funks of frustration he gets in.
But at 4:00am, I could not help but think that I have been a bad example to my son. I am not the nicest person in the world. I try to be kind when driving or in the grocery store or wherever I might go. But I do not go out of my way to be kind. I do not help whether asked or needed. Sometimes I do, but I do not put myself out. I am selfish. I am also very self-deprecating. I always tell my son that something is my fault if I see him beating himself up about something. But now, I am going to be solution oriented.
I am going to take my son out and practice soccer more during the week to build his confidence in his skills. I am going to engage him in figuring out solutions to hypothetical problems that occur when he’s playing a game. I am going to stop taking control of situations when he is doing something.
I am going to figure this whole mother thing out little by little. I want to raise a confident boy. And up until now, I thought he was confident. He is so very social and makes lots of friends. But he is confident in himself when it comes to kids liking him. He is not confident in his skills.
This article provides me lots of tools to use with my boy. Also some tools to use on myself in making sure I do not speak negatively to myself, others, and most importantly, HIM!
I got this. I can change the outcome. I do it for this face!