From the day he was born, I knew my son was gonna be a fire-cracker; one to be reckoned with. My little 6.5 lb love nugget arrived five weeks early, with only about an hour and a half from my water breaking to his arrival.
As an infant, he was very colicky. I do not believe he had true colic, as he did have a decent amount of non-fussy times. Still, he had a milk allergy and tummy problems which was enough to drive this new mom of two to a never foreseen level of exhaustion.
As a toddler his favorite word was, and remains to be, “NO!” Actually, it is not just “NO!,” it is “NO! “NO!” NO!”.
Now, as a three-year old, the crazy thing about this little big guy is that as much as he defies me and challenges me, he loves me with just the same amount of passion, if not more.
Before I became a Mom, I had a vision of what my kids would be like — perfectly mannered, perfectly behaved, well-dressed, happy all the time, etc. Insert bubble burst effect here.
What becoming a mom to an energetic, physical, smart, silly, determined, persistent, controlling and sometimes defiant little boy has taught me is that sometimes I need help to be a better mom. For me, that help comes in the form of advice from my husband, guidance from my mom, pep-talks from my friends and mostly from self-help books on parenting.
10 Days to a Less Defiant Child: The Breakthrough Program for Overcoming Your Child’s Difficult Behavior, by Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD, taught me that I need to be more than my son’s mother, I need to be the little guy’s emotion coach. The book further taught me that:
— You have to try to truly understand your little one and learn to not take personally the things they do or say.
— You have to stop overreacting.
— You have to stop trying to “win the war”
— You have to be calm, firm and empathetic.
— You have to always validate your child’s feelings.
— You have to talk less and listen more — and truly listening requires you to tune out the whining and opening your eyes and ears to his fears, frustrations and emotional limitations.
— You have to treat your child their age.
— You have to stop anticipating your child to defy or struggle.
— You have to remember that children are not supposed to meet our needs; we are supposed to meet theirs.
Son, because of you, and your sisters, I am striving to be a better person….and hopefully becoming one.