My Child and Anger

There comes a time as a parent when we begin to recognize that the choices we make have a lasting effect on our children. For some it is not until they are adults, others are teenagers, but mine…my oldest…he is an old soul and the evidence is there.

The boy I call Kid

By old soul I mean he has always had this look of age about him. Even though he was 8 weeks premature we called him our old man the day he was born. He is a born thinker. He knows things. He notices changes in attitudes and relationships.

He is just like me.

But he is also just like his dad.

He is moody. He lashes out instead of exhibiting a bit of self-control. He loves music. He is a born musician. He loves karate.

He is angry.

This hit me at 10:30 this morning after a call from his teacher.

He was in reading circle this morning and supposedly without provocation just hauled off and hit a girl this morning. He not only knows he is going to get in trouble at school. He knows that he is going to get in trouble at home. So, when I get the call from his teacher I am – for a moment – floored by his behavior.

I ask the basics.

“Was he provoked?” “No”

“Was he having any other sort of outburst?” “No.”

I speak…or should I say try to speak to Elijah. He offers nothing but a whimper.

He knows that what he did was wrong and he knows that it is not a good day. He will not be meeting his goal of getting a green for his behavior today. He’s in kindergarten and they grade behavior is a color based system. His goal everyday is to be green.

Since changing sitters to an old friend of the family, his behavior has been amazing. He has gotten green almost every day. The last week though…it’s like a different child is there.

I am wracking my brain after I hang up with the teacher…what is changed? What is different?

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

He is angry with life.

For starters the safety of the home we had built in New York. He was three when we moved there and was five when we left. He loved it there. He loved his school, his friends, and his life in the snow.

We move here and his dad leaves us. Or do we leave his dad?

We move, then have to move again, then we settle in and that’s when the losses begin. Last year we lost Troy and Nanny. My other losses he doesn’t know, so they don’t hit him the same way. But for a while Troy was like a father to him and Nanny…Nanny was the grandmother he had seen almost every day since birth. Except for the months we spent in NY.

The thing about his dad’s leaving is that I don’t want him to have this man he knows to be his father somewhere, but whom he never sees. I know the pain of that. My parents split when I was young and the knowledge always in the back of your head that he is somewhere…it hurts. Every time you think about it is like a knife to the heart. You can’t help but blame yourself for them leaving. You always wonder if you were perfect if they would come back.

He is his mother’s child. So much.

He acts out now the same way I acted out as a child. It is hard for the friends that grew up with me in Burnet to understand, but most of elementary school I spent in detention. I repeated fifth grade. I had behavioral issues because of the life that existed around me. At that point I decided to be absolutely perfect. Always doing what I was told. Always behaving.

I knew I was smarter than the behavior. I had to prove it to myself. I was 10 years old.

Elijah is only 5. I don’t want him to have to wait that long to know that nothing is his fault.

His behavior is completely removed from what is happening in life. He has a right to his feelings. He has a right to be upset. He needs to talk to me or to a counselor.

He is so perfect. So amazing. So wonderful. I don’t want him to think anything other than about the wonders of life.

I want him to be happy.

I know that I realistically have no control over his emotions, but I can help him understand them. I can help him recognize them.

I spoke to his counselor. I spoke to his teacher. I will be picking him up in a little while and we are going to spend a little time talking. I think a trip to the beach is in order as long as the rain holds. We love the beach. We feel happy and safe there. Listening to the constant roar of the waves on the sand. Steady, dependable, you can count on them to be there every time you see them.

Parents are human. They are less dependable. They are your parents forever, but they are flawed. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t recognize what they’re doing until the children are lashing out.

I’m kicking myself for the things that could have been different…but I can’t change them. I can simply teach my son that I’m flawed. His dad is flawed. But it doesn’t matter because we love him.

Whatever else is going on we both love him. Will always love him.

I will always be there for him.

I will not let anything keep him from finding his happiness.

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5 thoughts on “My Child and Anger

  1. Tricia says:

    Kids are resilient. I hope it is just a phase he can break through.any stress in a famil can be internalized by kids and you guys hav had your fair share….the beach sounds great!

  2. amya0717 says:

    Hardest job in the world, but is very rewarding too, although it pays nothing,many moments of feeling rich, also dissappointent, worry and heartbreak: MOTHERHOOD. I’ve been there done that and still going, although mine are a little older now. As far as father is concerned, we don’t need to say much or go into detail…they figure it out in time. Zach has figured out his dad. Too bad he moved in with him and had to be around his influence. But that’s what prayers are for. He even has said in his darkest hours of depression, it is knowing how much I love him that he keeps from suicide. Love is poweful. Parenting is hard. Anytime you need to talk, I’m here.

  3. That one girl says:

    This is hard. You are able to see where your sons behaviour (yea, I just threw in the unnecessary “u” because I’m cultured) problems likely stem from… however, he has absolutely no idea. All he can feel is that life isn’t what he wants and he doesn’t know what he wants it to be or even how to get there. He has no control. He should talk about how he’s feeling – but don’t expect a light bulb to go off and him come to a realization as to where his behavioural (<– such a snob) issues are coming from. He's mind isn't mature enough to grasp that. For the first 5 years of his life you, as a good parent, have made the decisions for his life that you thought best. I'd recommend now however giving him some say in the choices that involve him. Ask his opinion, talk to him about it, explain the different consequences for each choice and work with him in helping him feel that his life is his own. Even the illusion of some control might make a world of difference in how he behaves.

  4. Tori Nelson says:

    I hope you know what a brilliant mother you are. The first clue is in the fact that you care so deeply about your kids and their happiness. I wouldn’t let the divorce be a constant source of guilt. It was a painful experience, a bump in the road, but what your kids will remember most (at least what I took away from being raised by divorced parents) is that they are so fiercely loved.

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