The title pretty much sums up how I am feeling after this weekend.
I write this not because I really love exposing our dirty secrets, but because I hope it will help other people that find themselves in a similar situation.
Parenting is hard sometimes.
We had an amazing birthday party Friday night at the Ramada Tropics water park hotel (more on that and pictures later).
Then Saturday and Sunday happened. Sam was naughtier than usual - just not listening at all - typical 3 yr old stuff, but still doesn't make life easier. Gavin's behavior was about the worst it's ever been. Usually no one sees it. Usually it's something that's been kept hidden and private, and he's good everywhere else, but not this weekend.
It wasn't only that it happened in front of others, it was the frequency and magnitude that pushed me over the edge. When I start to get a little panicky feeling, when I start to be slightly afraid.....I know we need help.
I know it shouldn't feel like failure. How many doctors and specialists has Gavin seen? Why is a counselor any different?
I'm not entirely sold on the nurture vs nature debate. I guess I've always sort of tended towards nurture, but that's because I am a control freak, and it makes me feel better if I think if I do things just right, then I get to control the outcome (positively). I feel like his behavior is a reflection of me as a parent. I love this child so much, how could I have led him astray like this?
Then I wonder if it's not nurture - is it because he was born early? Was it the oxygen, the exposure to medications, his brain bleeds, his underdeveloped brain having to endure experiences and sensations that most people don't have to go through in a lifetime? Is this due to my failure to carry him to term?
Again, I know it's not my fault. But it still feels like failure on top of guilt on top of failure. Perhaps I am the one that needs counseling.
I spoke with the school guidance counselor last night about what has been going on. I explained that he has always been an emotional child. Once - in Kindergarten when it got sort of bad, she had given us some good advice then. For a time he was putting himself in his room when he needed some space, and then life has been pretty good for a couple years.
Now this. He's been doing fine at school. I just assumed that nothing bothered him at school. She assured me that there are tons of ways that kids get irritated at school, and if he's not losing his temper there, then he has the skill set to control it. Now we need to figure out why he is failing to use those tools at home. Has it become a habit? Is his willpower just to worn out by the time he gets home? Is there some stress in the home that we are not realizing? Is it a response to the way we as parents are reacting to him?
She is sending home information about counseling and some resources. We'll approach it from the stand point that this is not acceptable behavior, and we are going to work together to find tools for controlling our anger. I'm ready to find something that works. I'm ready to put in the work to turn this around. She did say that this is sort of the critical age to learn these skills now, otherwise it gets harder to change.
If anyone out there has experiences to share - please email me or leave a note in the comments. I know most parents struggle with their kids at one point or another, you just don't see what happens behind closed doors - just the Christmas card version of a family. It's helpful to hear other people's experiences.