The other day I was looking at Michael and thinking how fast my little, er, big boy is growing. His outlook on life is changing almost as fast as his interests. He does not want hugs and physical closeness to Mom and Dad. That is not for “big boys,” yet he will come out of his room and ask can he talk to me about his day, his excitement, his worries? Of course I always say yes, and continue to just be there for him as a kind ear, sympathetic, loving, firm and consistent, or at least as consistent as I can be when I relate to him. Sometimes I have to do a little Mom catch up and relate to him and talk to him as I would have a year ago. This does not go over well and I get things like I’m not a baby. I don’t like that anymore. I want you to trust me to do things alone. My friends are all that matter. I am learning how to carry forth the good progress we have made through relating to one another as Michael’s aggression and anxiety began escalating two years ago, to negotiating all that with a teen to be in the house. 🙂 The results are usually good, though there are days that I chalk down to experience when I will lose my patience as Michael loses his and we both take breathing room apart before making up and moving forward.
The thing to remember for most parents, is that your child is always the same kid inside, though through growth spurts, mental maturity and puberty, their tastes in activities, people and even food can change. Keep in mind the character your child has had from birth. That really does stay with them for life, I think. However, it changes a little as they grow. For example if they were spirited babies, they will be spirited kids and tweens that like to be on the go and are quite opinionated. If they are anxious about new experiences and people, when they are little it may have been demonstrated by tantrums. As a child or tween, it may manifest in a sore stomach, touchy attitude, or yelling. As their parent, you know your child’s temperament the best. It may surprise you how little they change. The reactions look different, but it is the same fear expressing itself in two different ways. Think of yourself and your fears. You may show anxiety and anger differently than when you were a child, but they reactions to similar things are still there, and unless you make a conscious effort to deal with your personal fears, you will still struggle too, albeit in a different way. It’s important to be sympathetic to your child as well as supportive, and what I’ve found has worked in our home is asking Michael for input in handling this problem. I can offer some suggestions, but he gets the final call on how to handle his anxiety, anger or schedule his leisure, with some obvious adult imposed limits for his safety. This too sometimes is met well other times with some resistance, but with gentle negotiation we can usually come to a compromise. 🙂
Exceptional Parents, do you find your child is the same yet different in how they handle some of life’s challenges as they grow older? This is normal. Growth has to happen on both ends, parent and child, for everyone to be in a happier and healthier place. Just remember to trust that you know your child’s character the best, and that with some tweaking from what the tell you and observations made, you will find the best way to relate to them as they age. Until next time.
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