Do you ever have those parenting moments when you are at a complete loss?  I am currently experiencing this feeling in regards to my eight-year old.  He gets good behavior reports from school and academically he is rolling along just fine.  It’s when he’s home that I am faced with the moments where I scratch my head.  He vacillates from loving to being angrily defiant.  I know he is capable of regulating his emotions as he does at school, so I wonder if he ‘loses it’ at home because he’s bottled it up all day?  It’s possible.  It does help to try to understand the core of your kids’ behavior to help find the compassionate viewpoint of it. However, even if I can find my compassion, it doesn’t always make it easy to handle the behavior.

At dinner last night, my husband noticed that my son was stuffing himself full of Doritos.  He pointed this out and said, “no more Doritos until you eat your other food” (this is the food that presumably had actual nutritional value).  My son turned, looked directly at my husband, picked out another chip and pointedly popped it in his mouth.

Wow!  Did he really just do that?  Where on earth did this little challenger come from?  I NEVER would have challenged my Dad in that way.

My husband quickly admonished him and challenged him right back.  My son managed to get back on track and all’s well that ends well.

Yet,… I still kept thinking about it.  Do I need to do more to instill respect?  This is where I’m kind of at a loss.   Or, do I cut him some slack and try to keep the big picture in mind?  I don’t know exactly the right thing to do.  In the midst of my indecision, there is also a part of me that secretly admires his moxie.  At the end of the day, I want to guide him to hopefully make good choices, but I don’t want him to lose that streak of independence.  It is sort why I love him AND he drives me bananas simultaneously.

And that’s parenthood in a nutshell.

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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