Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

April 4, 2007

it’s just a phase

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 6:03 am

This might be my new mantra. It’s just a phase.

Everything is just a phase. If it’s good behaviour, it’s just a phase. If it’s bad behaviour, it’s just a phase. Really, everything, is just a phase.

With my first born, it’s hard to believe that is true. The minute he started hitting, I swore that if I didn’t nip in the bud… he’d be clocking people at school when he was 14 years old and kicked out of high school. When he started using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – I thought that I had finished my job in the manners department, and I would never need to remind him again. When he started throwing tantrums, kicking and screaming on the floor – I thought he is going to be the kid that no one wants to play with, and the teachers will be pinning notes on him every day as he leaves school. When he started refusing to eat his dinner, I thought he was going to starve to death unless I took drastic action.

All in all, every one of those behaviours and about 1000 others has come and gone within a few weeks or a few months time. There was no need to lose my cool. I didn’t need to have an ‘intervention’. And I certainly didn’t have to freak out about him doing those things when he was older. Sure, there were things I did as a parent, that helped to speed the phase along. But for the most part, staying calm and not letting him rile me up was probably the best thing I could do in each situation.

It’s funny. In the parenting books they tell you that these things are normal. Hitting, biting, tantrums, whining, throwing sand… all normal for his age. But you as the parent, don’t want your kid to be the one on the FAR side of normal. You don’t want him to be setting the lower bar. You want him to belong. If not for him, for you!

Who hasn’t seen a kid behaving badly and immediately thought ‘those parents are doing a horrible job’. I know I have. And yet, I bet their kid was just behaving his/her age, or was tired, or hungry, or sick, or just simply having a bad day. It’s hard to remember these things when it’s your kid. I don’t want to be judged by my child’s behaviour. Likewise I don’t want to under-react to something that could become a bigger problem. Or worse yet, I don’t want to over-react to something that I should have just let go. Sometimes, having full-parental-control over the situation is not the way to ‘win’ the situation. Sometimes, I just have to let it go. Ironically, I never seem to have this perspective until the phase is over & I say…. whew! it seemed like an eternity that he was doing that, but in actuality, it was only 2 weeks. (you know, when they decide fake-crying is fun… and they do it all day long, every day, after every little thing that frustrates them… 2 weeks does actually feel like 2 years)

So now, my new mantra is ‘it’s a phase’. I am hoping that it keeps me calm and reminds me that a little perspective can go a long way. And with that being said, I hope that my last post on my kid’s behaving well…. IS NOT A PHASE. Sigh. I know it is, but let me dream a little longer.

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