Thursday, May 26, 2011

Parenting according to your kiddlets

After having a lovely dinner with my brother and his family, I had a parenting epiphany.  I often get mocked by my brother for being too vigilant with Rohan (where as he offers more freedom to his child). I normally just laugh it off or change the subject (what is your opinion about so and so political move....), but this time it made me take a closer look at my parenting methods.

It is true, I can be vigilant with Rohan on certain occasions. This is more often than some parents for sure, though less often then others.  But why do I find that I am always on the watch?  Well, he gets bullied a lot from his peers.  I don't like watching my child get hurt, so I step in, when he is unable, or doesn't know how, to make that other child back off.  He is starting to hold his own a bit more, which is great (ish) but he is super sensitive.  Not hyper sensitive-cannot handle the feel of certain materials on his skin-must remove tags-sock line in the wrong spot makes him crazy-sensitive.  But, he gets upset easily, and takes things personally.

He isn't like a lot of boys his age.  He is a boy, mind you.  He can be rough and tumble, and he definitely uses his hands more, when he should be using his words, but he isn't all over the place.  An awesome example of this was the other day at a playgroup.  A huge garbage truck came pulling up to the curb and all the other boys ran up as close as they could to the truck, screaming and yelling and getting super excited, where as Rohan backed off and covered his ears with his hands. He doesn't like super loud noises, they scare him.

It can take Ro-Dog a long time to get comfortable in a new place, situation or with new people.  I was taking him to a music class for a while and it took him a month or more to finally release his death grip on my legs and at least as much more to finally feel comfortable enough to participate.  

If he cuts himself, he gets completely FREAKED out.  For weeks he will not be able to use that hand/foot/finger/knee.  He absolutely can't, he has a cut.  So I spoon feed him or carry him around for that time period.  Not without encouraging him to try to use the wounded area, but definitely with a sense of non-judgement.  It can be extremely frustrating, but the look on his face once the cut has disappeared is priceless, and totally worth it.

None of these things are a direct reflection of me and my parenting. I have not spent the last three years attempting to mold my child into the person I wanted him to be, trust me, he came to me already molded.  Although, sometimes, life feels like it is a bit more high maintenance, that is okay.  I love all of his quirks and individualism and independence from the crowd, because of these things.  He is Rohan.  This is who he is.  And who that is is AWESOME.

I am not here to change his behaviour, I am just here to watch his back, make sure that he isn't being treated in way that makes him feel like he is less amazing, and to offer him a safe and secure place to feel confident and comfortable in.  This place may be home, but it may also just be in my arms and away from whatever negative situation caused him to climb into them in he first place.

I was not a parent before I had this little guy, so I am parenting according to his needs, not my needs, and certainly not anyone else.  He may not be like your child, and my parenting may be very different from yours. I cuddle and coddle and love my child, not to turn him into a certain type of person, but because these are things that he needs in order to gain the confidence to move forward to his next great adventure ........of peacefully putting a difficult puzzle together, or hiding in a secret cave made of blankets with his friends. Just a quick hug to make sure I am there, and than back to his friends, and his super special cave.

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