Boys. Boys are like martians to me. I have a three year old little girl named Jo, I got used to how gentle and sensitive little girls are. I have always been the primary care giver for her, and she was an only child up until a couple months ago. So, admittedly, I am new to parenting. I’m new to parenting a 3 1/2 year old, considering I have never had a child. I am VERY new to parenting a 5 (boy, L.J.) and 8 (girl, Jenna) year old since I have only been living with them for a few months. Jenna is very well behaved. She is sweet and inquisitive, and it can be extremely exhausting. L.J…. has his moments. He can be sweet, loving, happy, helpful, silly, playful and fun! He can also be difficult, defiant, rude, mean and unmanageable. A few months ago when I came along, he would not listen to anyone. I took him to the park one day and he refused to come back. He threw a fit and I practically dragged him home. After that I refused to take him anywhere without his dad. I would get anxiety when we were out because he would run out into the street, and had no respect for anyone that told him no. I watched as he got his way over and over again because he would throw a fit, or misbehave to the point where he got his way because everyone was so irritated they just did not want to deal with him, or in his dad’s case, I think he felt guilty that he can’t be around more because he has to work, and has always had to work.
Since their mom is not around, the kids have been essentially raised by their grandparents… A HUGE pet peeve of mine. I know sometimes there is no other option, in this case, there was none, as with my situation growing up. I spent weeks at a time at my grandmothers house because my dad worked the graveyard shift. My dad had to work to provide, and my mom was gone, so my southern, spirited, man-hating grandmother (and by man-hating, I mean she has had 5 husbands, and refers to each one by either their first initial, or the city they live in… I’m not kidding.) raised my sister and I until my dad was able to get regular hours. My grandmother especially disliked my mom (because she left) and my grandpa (for being an abusive and unfaithful husband), and she has no verbal filter (which I may have inherited.), so I heard all sorts of negative things about two of the most important people in my life. Don’t get me wrong, my grandmother is an amazing woman, she potty trained me, taught me manners, took me to museums and musicals, and gave me my fiery… sometimes explosive character. However, I still feel a loss from not being able to be raised by my parents.
So, long story short, the kids were raised by their grandparents, and I come along and take over because I have stepped into the “mommy” roll, and the grandparents do not like it. Parenting is different than grandparenting. So here I am trying to train L.J. to follow directions, and it’s not fun, and the grandparents are pissed. The only punishments I have are time outs, and taking privileges. Some days it’s like constant time outs, and I feel like he is never going to be allowed to do anything fun for the rest of is life. Grandparents think I am too hard on him, but I am confident that consistency is key. I have learned from my daughter who used to throw fits that make The Exorcist look tame. How did we nip this one in the bud? Time outs, every time, no matter what. To this day, if she even starts, I remind her that if she would like to throw a fit, she can sit in time out until she is done. Sometimes she walks her little butt straight to the time out area and throws a fit. More often then not, she sucks it up, and uses her words instead. Does she still have an attitude? Yup. Is it obnoxious? Yup. Is it phasing out? Yup. With a 5 year old, time out does not always do the trick, so sadly, we have been making deals with him, if he behaves throughout the week he can go to football with his cousins, and on Friday he can go to one of his grandparents house for a sleepover. Today he got football taken away (for hitting his sister in a fit of rage after I had asked him several times to turn off the T.V. and he ignored me, so I finally asked her to do it). It’s only Tuesday!!! I’m dreading tomorrow.