Mums, Dads, Behavioural Specialists, HELP!

I’ve got to ask if anyone can help me make sense of my boys current behaviour, because I am honestly at my wits end. The current challenge being faced is the art of listening and doing as they are told before I turn into a screaming harpy. The problem is, the screaming harpy level seems to be the only language they understand and I just can’t live my life like that! I grew up in a shouting house and I DO NOT want my boys to experience the same. But how can it be any different if it’s the only time they listen… and that doesn’t even always work?

I’ll give you a day in the life. I think it was Wednesday and I was with the boys all day. We started with them joining me for my morning swim and the pool man was working. There was a pot of chemicals and I said to Lex, as he looked over with interest, don’t go near that. Don’t go near that. DO NOT GO NEAR THAT and he went near it and smelled chlorine from a centimetre away. Have you ever smelt chlorine up close? It sends your brain into a spasm! So I asked Lex: Why did you do that? It smells like water he said. Grrrrr. Then both boys grabbed my kick board and were stepping off the side of the pool onto the board. This is not a new activity – it’s been happening for some time now. Guys please stop. If you fall and hit your head on the side of the pool you’re going to get a VERY big ouchie. So they did it again and again and again until I screamed and put them on time out at the edge of the pool for the rest of my swim. Please guys, the whole day is yours, just give me this 30 minutes to do something for myself – PLEASE.

We live in an apartment so when they are not at school, we’ve got to go out and do something. Steve and I work hard at coming up with new and creative ways to spend time with them. This day I took them to a Buddhist temple. Don’t touch anything, keep your voices low and no you can’t have any of the candies that are at the front of every single temple throughout the whole bloody complex. They couldn’t resist the candies – it’s an obsession – plus an old uncle working at the Temple gave them each a fist full – grrrr – and of course, they couldn’t open them, so nagged me to open the bloody candies I didn’t want them to have anyway! They also couldn’t resist hitting the mega drum that has a sign saying DO NOT TOUCH. They couldn’t resist running in the worship halls. It was a glorious, beautiful place, but I had to give up in the end and march them out of the Temple. Naturally I was left wondering why I bother doing things like this with them. So we went to the Air Force Museum. As a general rule, they could be free, as there weren’t too many rules. But they found buttons to push – at the museum and within me. No you can’t climb over the fence onto that ledge three stories high with no railing Jax. Boys, please sit still in your seats and watch the 10 minute video. Lex please don’t run. Jax please don’t touch that. Please don’t, please don’t, please don’t, stop, stop, Stop, STOP!!!

It’s so bloody intense at the moment and I’m hearing my own voice and hating it. I’m also not liking them for making me feel this way, and that is a VERY big surprise to me – I never thought I would be a parent who didn’t like my kids. The thing is, I give them so much freedom. I take them to amazing places. I think I’m a pretty good Mum overall – definitely not perfect, and often frustrated by them, by life, by wanting my achievements to be different to what they are at the moment, etc… – all of which doesn’t help my state of mind when I’m with them, because often times I would rather be doing something else. I understand how my mindset is impacting things as well.

But getting back to my belligerent, conveniently deaf little turds who seem to take great pleasure from ignoring me – why do they do it? Why are they so single minded and happy to ignore me until they make me sad or angry? Are they just seeing how far they can push me? I mean it’s not like they enjoy having an unhappy Mum, so why don’t they learn? Is it a test of strength so they understand where they fit within the family mix? Do I just have two strong willed boys which is ultimately a good thing, but it makes these years a little more testing for Steve and I? Am I being too lenient? Am I being too strict? Do I give them too much of my time and attention, because I know I am not guilty of giving them too little? Is this just how it is and I’ve got to learn how to manage myself, keep them in-line, while teaching them societies’ rules so they can fit in to an extent?

On a logical level, this stage just doesn’t make any sense to me, because they are pushing me every single day (and their Dad), and we are scratching our heads wondering what the hell we’ve got to do to have a calm home?
The thing I always seem to come back to is I’m not enjoying time with the boys right now – not always, but a large part of our full days together. I want to enjoy time with them, but I’m not. I have a right to enjoy this time don’t I? I mean parenting isn’t always supposed to be a chore is it? It certainly feels that way at the moment I must say. Maybe I’m just one of those parents who’s going to enjoy the teen and older years? I certainly don’t feel equipped for this illogical, chaotic, messy time that’s for sure. So maybe it’s got nothing to do with them and everything to do with me?

Anyways, perhaps I’m trying to apply logic to a situation that cannot be explained with logic, and just wondering if anyone has any insight I can bring to mind to help me get through these times in a positive way – please? I love my boys’ spirits – it’s a wonderful quality that is going to set them up well in life, and let’s face a very real truth – I was never going to have docile kids!

However bloody kids – you love the hell out of them, but sometimes….

Yours, without the bollocks

5 thoughts on “Mums, Dads, Behavioural Specialists, HELP!”

  1. I so hear you, but don't worry – it's a stage and will pass! About 6 months ago, Ben went through a stage that was an unhealthy and very irritating combination of being selectively deaf, whinging and complaining about everything, being lazy and incredibly rude. It seemed to last forever, but in hindsight it was probably no more than 1 or 2 months. I too hated the sound of my own voice, was not enjoying his company at all, and thought I was going insane. I just didn't give up the fight. I made the boundaries consistent, I went into every battle, parental sword blazing, and eventually it just petered out. Stick to your guns!! xxx

  2. Now I have read the whole post I still say make them stop and look into your eyes so you know you have their full attention before speaking to them if you know they can hear you but are choosing to not listen. I also find a deep breath and count to ten Helps, tho I'm sure my neighbours must hear me screaming at Adam sometimes lol! It is quite common especially for boys to be constantly testing the boundaries at their age. Don't loose faith in you being a good mum Andrea it's not an easy job. Miss you guys Lee xxxx

  3. Willie thanks so much babe – you have no idea how much I needed to hear your words. I always say that everything comes in stages, but sometimes when you're in one you forget that this too shall pass. It doesn't matter how much experience you have as a parent, the change in character kids suddenly go through is so abrupt you can't help but be knocked on your arse! And Lee, I promise promise promise I'll try harder to stop, look them in the eye and count to 10 if I need to as well. Big kisses for you babe and miss you too xxxxxxxx

  4. I know I am not a mum but I have heard this from every mum I know. Especially the single ones who are playing both Mum and Dad, aka good cop, bad cop.
    Yet they're also sick of the sound of their own voice and feel they're only ever yelling at their kids to "stop" or "behave yourself!" When do they get to play good cop?
    But without these guidelines, set early, how are they ever going to learn, especially when mum is serious?
    So I suppose I just want to say is, your doing a great job, they need your guidance and I agree with keeping consistency. I always have but I've also seen what happens without it!

  5. Jen I often wonder how the sinlge Mum's cope and everyday I take my hat off to them! It's such an intense job and of course, I ain't got peaceful lads, because how could I? I want them to be strong, but at this stage, that strength is driving me insane. They're great though and I do adore them. Big kisses for your vote of confidence xxxxxxx

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