to never go out again? (long, sorry)(17 Posts)
I'm a first timer - so please be kind!
First a bit of history - I'm a mum of a 3.5 year old and also nearly 6 months pregnant. Also for what it's worth I'm not local to the area (I'm Irish living in England). My son is a lovely child 99% of the time but he takes after me and has a really dramatic personality. If he is angry, he is furious, if he feels sorry for someone, he weeps and if he is happy, he is delirious with joy. It's just how he is (I'm the same) and I don't want to change his personlity. If he is angry sometimes he lashes out etc but we do punish him by telling him that he is totally out of order and putting him on the naughty spot until he calms down and is ready to apologise and talk about what he's done. He has got a stronger personality than many of his peers but that's just his personality. He is also very bright so requires a huge amount of stimulation or gets up to all kinds of mischief. He's also a physically very large child - on the 98th centile for height and weight so he looks older than he is which makes his behaviour look worse.
The reason I'm explaining all this is because his personality is starting to cause me problems at the local play groups. I really need to use them at the minute as I have SPD and can't take him anywhere other than the localplaygroups for socialising and getting out of the house. The two I use at the moment are quite 'clicky' and one is quite unfriendly but I go anyway as I think it's good for both of us to get out of the house.
Anyway, the mum of one little girl is always talking down to me and telling me what a handful he is and how she hopes I don't get another like him. The last time we saw her she told him off about 8 times for pushing her daughter and called him a naughty boy. The thing is that he WAS pushing her daughter but because her daughter was literally hanging off him and he couldn't get her off. I know I should have said that but I was so annoyed that I couldn't even think of a way of pointing this out to her without losing my temper. She is a neighbour too so I just let it go. It's not the first time she's told him off when it's actually been her daughter who has provoked the situation so I feel really annoyed now and don't want to go to that playgroup again as I feel I can't cope with the confrontation when I'm 6 months up the duff.
At the other playgroup, my son hit a little girl over the head with a wooden brick (unprovoked on her part) hard enough to split her head. she had to get it glued. I'm not making any excuses for this one as he was bang out of order. He got punished for it and I apologised profusely but (understandably) the mother was very upset. Last night the mother turned up at our house at 10pm with her child. I don't know how she knew where I lived but she is local so may have just noticed. She said she had come round to tell me that her daughter was fine but went on to tell me that I was too soft with him and that what he had done was very violent and aggressive. She said that I needed to smack him for what he'd done as his behaviour was so out of order. I said I wouldn't (politely) and we were pleasant enough to each other and she left.
Anyway, I've hardly slept all night thinking about all of this. I'm concerned that people see him as a bully and me as an ineffectual, indulgent parent. I'm just not really sure how normal it is to crack another child over the head with a brick at 3.5 years old. I'm not going to hit him EVER as I hate smacking with a passion.
I just feel so judged as a crap parent. Also the local culture is that all the kids go to preschools attached to schools (so full school hours) from 3 whereas I'm not sending him. I know that this also means that they see me as being 'precious' with him.When I said that at the last session I knew they thought that school would 'sort him out' from their attitudes. I am a former teacher so don't agree. The other issue is that not only is he enormous now but if I take him to playgroups next year then not only will he be even bigger but he'll be two years older than the others.
Anyway, I want to be able to take the new baby to playgroup next year but I'm starting to feel worn out by the whole thing. I can't really work out how much of his strong personality is just him being him and how much is down to me being a bit PFB with him. How can you tell? Plus how social are 3.5 year old boys? I would really appreciate some pointers as I can't tell if he is normal or abnormal in this respect. I feel like just staying in and avoiding all the judgement. I feel really depressed by the whole situation. I love my son dearly and he has so many good qualities.
Sorry for this rambling essay. Thanks to anyone who has managed to read all of it. I would just love some advice.
Riven, I just think full time school hours at 3 is too much. Also he's massively ahead academically (hope I do not sound boastful) and has a reading age of 7 so I would prefer to give him the stimulus appropriate to his needs for another year. Also the baby is due in Sept so couldn't even manage to get him to and from school each day as my SPD is very bad plus am having a section. Furthermore I think that sending him to full time school at the same time as the baby is due when he's been an only child up to now would not be a good start to their relationship.
I do feel like he has boundaries ie if he acts up anywhere I take him home, we use the naughty spot, a lot of talking and withdrawal of treats. Also my husband reinforces any points I have made when he gets in from work and has a 'talk' with him. What else can we do? I don't thik it's us, I really believe he just has a very strong and forceful personality.
First of all your son sounds lovely and I bet you don't hear that enough
Secondly, if their judgements are 'depressing' you then you need to find a way to cope with the judgemental attitudes if you're not going to send him to pre-school.
Or you could send him to pre-school to give you a bit of a break and then after a few weeks review the situation. If you are being a bit pfb with him it might help him and you to enjoy the time you do spend together and socialise him a little more.
If you're really not going to send him to pre-school then you absolutely need to find a way to build your own self-esteem and confidence so you can turn round to that mum you describe and say "actually your daughter is hanging off his arm, can you remove her".
Are there any other groups you can send him - a little swimmers group or something - or another group - just while you have SPD?
Lots of luck
Just read your second post.
I totally hear that you want to stimulate him for another year (for him) but you can only do so much without it having emotional consequences for you. You are going to have a new baby who will also need you - he had all the support you could give him, now the new one will initially need you more.
I'm sure he has a strong and forceful personality, that may be harder to deal with when you have the new baby.
This is also about giving you a break so you can enjoy the new baby.
Also, he may be miles ahead academically but he can still benefit from the structure of being round other children.
Please note I'm not advocating pre-schools per se - I'm only suggesting specific to you, the woman having a section, with spd, with a strong, boisterous lad.
Little boys are not the same as little girls, right from the start. There is a reason the expression "smug mother of girls" was coined.
My son was just the same at playgroup- he wanted to start games, the others couldn't understand what he wanted to do, or got bored and wandered off, and he smacked them over the head with things or pulled their hair. He was very frustrated at not being able to explain things properly. He spent more time in timeout (enforced by me!) at playgroup/ mother and toddler than he did playing. I too used to despair.
The thing is that toddlers are not finished people. The people making thoughtless remarks to you and condemning your parenting are taking advantage of the fact that you are feeling crap already to make you feel worse. Unfortunately you seem to get that sort of person at M&T and playgroups.
You are teaching your son how to behave himself! It's just taking a long time to sink in, as it often does with very little ones. I recommend trying to track down a large boisterous family with several boys to hang out with, with unflappable mums who will not victimise you ever every tiny detail of your child's behaviour. Apart from anything else, your son does not deserve to be made to feel like a thug by these women. You could do outdoor things with these other mums, that involve a lot of physical activity. Steer clear of this bitchy playgroup, or set up your own "outdoorsy" one.
FWIW, my son is now 15 and is extremely bright, sociable and has a delightful sense of humour.
I know it's unfair and not fun - but I think you need to keep an eagle eye on him at groups, and try and defuse/take him out of situations before problems arise. E.g. if you see he is wound up by a girl hanging off his arm, intervene - by distraction, or suggesting he play in another area. Also look for other activites -swimming, library story time, to see if you can meet some different mums and kids that you feel more comfortable with.
and I agree with duchesse - I get the best non-judgmental advice/support from friends with 4 or 5 kids and/or older children.
Could you enrol him at pre-school and not send him the ful week? ie just 3 days.
He sounds as though he needs more physical entertainment. Is there anything else you can do that would 'wear him out' a bit more. Could you find someone to take him to the park for an hour or so each day e.g. au pair, local (trustworthy) teenager who wouldn't charge the earth?
I also agree that you may need to be more pro-active in preventing the boisterous behaviour in the first place. Hard work, I know, but may also help alleviate the other mum's worries.
I agree that smacking your son is not the answer.
OP, it must be the bit of Irish in him because my DS was very much the same (Irish here too). Thankfully, other mothers in my P&T were not as judgemental as those at yours.
I agree with Duchesse about the "smug mother of girls" as I have s DDs and they were a dream compared to DS and they actually gave me back some confidence in my parenting skills.
I had to stop taking DS to P&T as he was too active, he'd start other toddlers running around the building and I was afraid babies would be injured!
But once he started school, he became settled, his teacher admitted it took weeks to get him to sit in his seat. In fact when she'd be be doing a lesson he'd jump off his seat and run around the classroom twice before sitting down again. He stopped that after a couple of months. Now he sits there and listens intently - I never believed when he was 3.5yo that would ever happen.
Don't worry, your son will settle. For a start, stay away from that group- those mothers sound awful!
That's what I thought, Lola.
Where do you live, OP, that you HAVE to send your child into preschool for 30 hrs a week or not at all? That makes no sense. The funded sessions are only 15 hrs/week and you can take up as little of that time as you like.
Also, even if OP's child is so advanced wrt reading, he obviously needs work on social skills; preschool could benefit him hugely in that respect.
And OP must live in a community of real nutters if they start knocking on her door at 10pm to insist that she must use smacking as a discipline technique.
Boy of 3.5yo hitting another child over head with a toy brick is pretty ordinary, ime.
ALL generally lovely children that you are proud of do the occasional thing which makes you ashamed as a parent. Sounds like the little girl just came off badly due to the sheer difference in physical size but her parent souns like a loon! It'd be a dangerous thing to teach a boy that big that the appropriate response to frustration and anger was to use violence! lol
I thoroughly believe playgroups and babygroups were designed to make you feel bad as a parent. The only good experience I have ever had with one was taking all the misfits who had been rejected by the clique and forming a friendship group. This is still lovely and going strong, we all have first and second children around the same ages, have annual birthday, christmas and hallowe'en parties and lots of trips out all together as well as regular weekly park visits.
Some people are just nasty, sounds like it's only getting to you because you are worn out with the pregnancy and SPD. You sound like you have a good plan all worked out for your children and you so just stick to it and don't let other people bring you down - sometimes it's just the only way some people can make themselves feel better.
I always deal with difficult, competitive and rude people by being extremely reasonable and trying not to waste too much energy on it. This has the added benefit of giving you a feeling of smug when they get unreasonably wound up. ;)
Thanks for all the support ladies. It means a lot.He does have a reading age of 7 (I'm a former English teacher so was able to test him accurately). He is very bright (DH also has an off the scale IQ so think he gets it from him, not me!) - he's just not mature or well behaved!
Re the preschool hours, I don't want to say where I live but here all the preschools are attached to normal primaries and you can either go full time or not at all. A firend of mine has recently been through all this so I know for sure. A couple of hours a day might have made me think differently but I really do believe that full time at 3 is too much (although I am in the minority in my local area for thinking like this). Really I am hoping that his lack of social skills is more of a developmental/gender thing. That is what I really was asking about.
Your little boy sounds lovely and from what you've said you're doing all the right things. I think you just need to keep on with it.
Re the M&T group, this is hard. I've been taking my 3 DC to a local playgroup on and off for 10 years. I'm now at the stage of being asked to leave as my 3.9 year old DS and his friend are being a bit boisterous. I've had so many comments from mums who don't understand that boys don't always want to sit down and do colouring. I am finding the situation stressful as they seem to be constantly questioning my parenting. However I have two extremely lovely and well behaved girls so I know my parenting is fine.
All I can suggest is finding another mum of a boy of similar age and taking them out to parks and things as I find I need to exercise my DS in the mornings (it's almost like having a dog!) and then he's much calmer.
Perhaps the other mum could look after your DS when you take the little one to playgroup.
I would also suggest that you consider giving the pre-school a try. When I had my babies and 3 year olds at the same time, I really needed the break that pre-school gave me. My older ones also started just as the baby came along and to be honest it wasn't a problem. I just made sure that I made a big fuss about them going and how lucky they were to have all these new friends and toys to play with.
I hope you find something that works for you.
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