Tuesday, April 3, 2007

How to Tame the Beast.....

See this child.....I love him. I love him with my whole heart and soul. I love him so much that I don't even think I could put it into words. He's my firstborn. He was my first gift from God. I wanted him so much. With him, everything was new. I didn't know about pregnancy. I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't. I was obsessive about everything during this pregnancy. Just ask Ike how many times I made him take me to labor and delivery during this pregnancy!!

I went thru a hell pregnancy with him, spending 4 1/2 months on 85% bedrest, throwing up every single day from 2 weeks after I conceived him until I delivered him on June 13th at 10:01pm, after over 14 hours of labor!

With him, I worried about every little thing. If he was growing ok. If I didn't feel him move, I'd drink orange juice and eat sugar, to see if he would move, even though I knew I would throw it up. All I cared about was that he was ok. Little did I know then, but that was the easy part.....the hard part is now.

Nothing has changed, really. Except than instead of growing under my heart, he grows in it. I still worry every single day that he's ok. I still worry that something could happen to him. But now, I worry about so much more than just is he healthy, is he ok? I worry every single day that I (we) are screwing him up. That maybe we don't know what the heck we are doing in raising him. I'm worried that he hates me. And my fear is that my worries about this are justified.

The thing is....we are all just learning. We are learning how to parent an older child. And it's hard. And he's learning, well, to grow up. Some days I wonder if we are failing him. I mean, how do you really know HOW to parent a pre-pre-preteen? We live in a world that is go, go, go and do, do, do. But this world can be a dangerous place for a 10 year old boy with a often-moody disposition. He thinks he's much bigger, much older, much wiser than he is. So, he resents us for trying "to control" him and for being too strict. He doesn't understand that our rules are to protect him because we love him. We are trying to teach him to have self-control. And when he doesn't seem to be in control of himself and his behavior, we discipline him. Right now, he's grounded from the computer and all electronics. (because you gotta get 'em where it hurts) He's mad. Really mad. He thinks it's unfair and dumb. He's punishing us for our decision. And, we are trying to make a point.

Yes, we are strict parents. We have high expectations of our children. We know they are capable and we expect them to raise up to a high level. Is that wrong? Is it too much pressure? I don't know anymore.

What I do know is people are amazed that I can take this family of 4 children to any restaurant in town and people are hardly aware that 4 children, 10 and under, are sitting at the table next to them. My children have learned what appropriate behavior is in a restaurant. We very often receive compliments from people dining around us about the good behavior of our children, and quite often these comments come from older adults. I am proud of this. I feel this is a result of our parenting. So, we can't be doing everything wrong, can we? Or can we?

Do any of you have older children?
How did you transition from parenting a younger child to a pre-teen?
What works? What doesn't?
Do you think I'm screwing him up?
Do you have advice for me?


karen said...

Ok...first of all, I thought I had problems! Good grief...never mind Drew...don't crawl..stay a baby forever!
My folks were really strict and I see the same behavior we often exhibited in your darling babies. I don't think you are doing anything wrong. My brothers and I all resented our parents at one point or another but we all grew into successful adults. One doctor, one television news woman and one PR executive. Not too shabby.

Jamie (Savannah Scrapbooking) said...

Well, from one hard assed mom to another, keep up the good work! Ya know, kids NEED to know their boundaries, NEED to know where they stand...I mean really...they may hate it, but I think they crave it b/c it's instinct. Unfortunately they also crave to big big ol' pains in the ass sometimes too. :) I picked Elizabeth up from a slumber party this morning and the other Mom thanked me for having such a well mannered child...told me that I should be darned proud of my girly...and I AM! Woohooo, go get 'em RoboMom! :)

FlipFlop Mom said...

Well..... having a 16 and an 11 year old my best advice.. take one day at a time.. know when to say I love you and when to say I'm sorry... I think those the two biggest points!!! One of the greatest blessings to hear is that I have very well behaved children.. and my 11 year old son.. OH MY WORD.. has tons and tons of compassion.. He will make a GREAT nurse someday!!
One day at a time.. we as parents are not perfect.. so we will stumble and fall.. but I think you're doing a GREAT job.. I believe in punishment.. sadly I know to many parents who believe in being their child's friend and making excuses for them.. :( What will they really learn from that?

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