Sunday, May 06, 2012

When my kid hits your kid

I am embarrassed.  I hate to admit this, but yes, right away when it's happening that's where my heart and mind are.  I'm embarrassed.  I hate having to discipline my child in front of you.  I wonder if you think I'm doing it wrong. Should I have made more of an effort to console your child, instead of immediately removing mine from the situation?  Was I insensitive to your child's needs in that moment?  I worry about what you think of me, but much more, I worry about what you think of my son.

I am angry.  NO!  Stop that!  What is wrong with you?  Are you listening to me?  How many times do I have to say it?!  How many times do we need to have this conversation?  Why are you doing this to me?!   Why can't you be normal?

I am disappointed, but not with my kid... with myself.  Because he's not doing this to me.  This isn't about me, and I'm not being fair to him by making it about me.  

I'm confused.  When he and I talk about what just happened, and he avoids my eye contact and fidgets and acts nervous, I can tell that he knows what he did was wrong.  I tell him to look at me, and he does, with his big blue eyes, stating solemnly, "be nice to friends, no hitting!"  But then five minutes later we're having the exact same conversation again after he hits your kid again.

I am frustrated.  Not again!  ARRGH!  I go over and over the incident in my head until I feel like I'm going crazy.  What was the trigger?  What could I have done to have prevented it?  WHY IS HE DOING THIS?! 

I am stressed out.  When our kids are together I feel like I can't let my guard down for a second.  I have a pit in my stomach, I'm queasy with nerves.  When they are near each other, my heart is pounding, my feet ready and light, I'm ready to pounce at the slightest move.    

I am insecure, I'm questioning my parenting decisions.  Yeah, that's right, you're not the only one.  Is there some deep-rooted reason why he's acting out like this?  Is he trying to tell us something and we're just not getting it?  Am I not being insensitive to his needs in some way?  What am I doing wrong? Clearly there is something I'm doing wrong.  He's feeling powerless in life somehow, and this is how he has chosen to assert his power.  Am I stifling him in some way to bring out all this aggression and anger?

I am exhausted, exasperated.  How much more of this will we all have to endure?  Will it always be like this?  Another day at school, another family get-together, where I'm going home guilt-ridden.  Tired.  Sad. 

Most of all, I am sad.  Honestly, when I take my son to another room for a time-out and "talk", I feel like I'm going to cry.  Sometimes I do.  I don't want your kid to be hurt.  I don't want my child to be the "bully".  He's really, truly a wonderful, sweet little boy.  Please don't think terrible things about him.  Please don't let this dictate how you feel about him.  I swear to God, this is not him.  He has so much love in him.


val said...

It IS frustrating, and no it won't always be like this.

He's growing every day. He's only two.

Sometimes I feel like he's looking for a connection, like how Tim and Joe egg each other on, like he's trying to engage or tease.

Other times, it's just baffling.

He's communicating something, but WHAT?

I'm not questioning your parenting decisions AT ALL. Nada. You guys parent no differently from else I know. You're doing everything right--every thing that's responsible and kind and encouraging, and setting limits when you must.

He's lucky having you while he goes through this tiring stage.

And I don't think there's some deep seated problem either. I think when his communication skills catch up with the rest of him, it'll all be history.

I totally get the emotional component of dealing with this in the moment though, and you say it, "Stressed out and sad." Awww, honey. You are the best mom Gus could ever have, 100%.

love you guys so much, Mom

Berbs33 said...

This made me sad just reading it! I do not judge you or him. You and Dan are amazing parents and Gus is such a little sweatheart. He is two, it will not always be like this. Sorry you are dealing with this stage but it will pass (and hopefully soon)! Hang in there and if you even need someone to talk to I am always available! Maybe we need to get him and Colton together... maybe playing with someone bigger will make him think twice about hitting? Hang in there, you are doing everything right so don't doubt yourself anymore!

Baby Mama said...

Sometimes my kid has been the hitter and sometimes the hittee. Right now, she's been good, no hitting. Last year, she was the hitter. I think every kid goes through stages. Honestly, I don't judge other parents for when their kid hits, only how they react to it. And although there's no one right way, there are definitely wrong ways. When parents laugh and brush it off, I judge them. When parents don't take the time to at least attempt to let their child know what a big deal it is, I judge them. But beyond that, who knows? It sounds like you're doing what you can and you should continue to do what you can, but also try not to beat yourself up.

He's had a lot of changes lately. He may just not know how to process them, and just reacts in ways he doesn't understand. Unrelated, but my daughter always wants to eat a bunch when she's really tired. I think she can't separate her needs, and gets confused by them. I think that at this age it all gets tangled up in their brain and the way they react may be unrelated to their feelings. This too shall pass, best of luck....

Lisa said...

Oh buddy, I'm sorry you're feeling all these things. No one should have to feel that way, especially not you, an amazing mother that I can only hope to be like someday (and I'm not just saying that). But I get it. It stinks. I imagine I'd feel the same way.

Just keep remembering that it is just a phase that will pass. I've certainly witnessed the hitting stage with family members and other kids I've babysat, and they grow out of it as quickly as they started it. I was a hitter myself when I was little, and I'm sure my parents felt a lot like you do.

Gus is a sweatheart, and I can't imagine anyone who actually knows him would judge him (or you) or think anything but positively towards him. His energy, spirit, charm, sweetness...he's just right. And hopefully this hitting phase will be behind him before you know it. Hang in there!

Erin said...

Aw man, this sucks. I remember when my mom & baby group had our gathering around when the babies turned 1, one of the boys was just biting everyone, constantly - the mom just burst into tears eventually - I remember her saying something like "I just wonder what's WRONG with him, is he going to be a sociopath or something?" If only we could just have a view into the future to see that this ENDS and that they all turn into relatively normal people...

Annie so far has always been the victim of this (perhaps even from "Baby Mama" aka Allison's daughter ;) and like her, I almost never judge the kid, especially if they are showing some sort of remorse or if it seems good natured. I know it has to be SO hard to know what to do in those situations - our neighbor's daughter hits Annie nearly every time we hang out (which is several times a week) - and they always give her a time out and talk to her about it - it's been going on for almost a year now with no signs of stopping. Just a phase... a long one, and a hard one to deal with on both sides, but... a phase. It sucks though.

Freckles said...

1. You are a wonderful, AMAZING mom.

2. My theory is that once he is able to fully communicate what he's feeling, this hitting will stop. In my experience working with children who have physical behaviors, the children who tend to 'hit' more or show physical aggression just have a difficult time articulating how they feel. He is only 2 1/2, and is still learning about the world, his surroundings, and his peers. When Kellen gets frustrated because he can't communicate something, he just screams or cries. With Gus, he is just acting out in a different way...he isn't the first 2 1/2 year old to hit, and won't be the last ;)

3. From the perspective of a teacher, I think you are responding exactly the way you should. Immediate response, logical consequence. Distract and redirect. That's all you can do.


Betsy said...

Oh buddy, that would be so frustrating. But you and Dan are awesome's totally not you! I agree with everything Suzi said :) Isla hasn't hit anyone (aside from me) so I don't have any experience with it, but it really sounds like you are doing everything right! It will pass. Isla has been hit by a boy before, and I never once thought the mom was a bad parent or had any judgement about her. Kids will be don't worry what people think!

Julia said...

What a brave post, so honest and raw. Hang in there---I think we've all been there at one time or another!