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Parents of Spirited Children - do you ever get to relax and just enjoy your child?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'll preface this by saying that I love both of my sons very much, and I appreciate and celebrate their differences every day.

 

DS1 (3.5) is very spirited and intense.  He can completely affect everyone's day depending on his mood/behavior.  I won't get into too many specifics here (I'll save that for the GD forum!) but basically, every day when he wakes up in the morning or from his nap, I pray that he's in a good mood.  We often feel like we're walking on eggshells around him, and I'm noticing other relatives/friends seem to feel the same way.  I used to just think "parenting is hard and you never get to relax" but DS2 is totally different.  Not that parenting his is easy, but in comparison to DS1, it definitely is!  I feel like I can relax when it's just me and him, as opposed to always being on edge with DS1.

 

My hope is that if we put in the work right now with DS1, that he'll learn how to handle his emotions better himself and as he gets older we'll be able to relax a bit and just enjoy the person he is.  Is that just wishful thinking?  Will it always be this hard?  Thanks in advance for any replies :)

post #2 of 8

Oh my goodness...I know how you are feeling! My "spirited" child is 8.5. She's very emotional(prone to crying still about everything, which drives me nuts!!) and things tend to flow from her brain straight out her mouth and that causes issues, especially around company. Things have calmed down so much in the past few years so, yes, we do get to relax and enjoy her :) She tends to be very funny, and cute, and that helps. Which I've noticed with most spirited children. They are usually very smart and creative so it's hard to ignore them or dislike them. Except for my mom, she doesn't really like this child and hasn't from the time she was a toddler :( She loved my older two and spent alot of time with them. I am lucky to have friends who had similar children, and that helps to normalize things a bit for me. It was hard having to spend most of my time trying to keep her happy and prevent outbursts. I totally get the eggshell thing...very stressful! But the older they get, the easier it is(until puberty, I assume lol) Finding things like art classes, or dance or sports was a huge help, as it gave her something to look forward to. If your ds1 is like my daughter, he wakes up in the morning remembering every single thing that was supposed to happen that day, so having plans helps. It seems like it would make things worse but for us, it helped.

post #3 of 8

sollysmom - dd is like ex. i see how he has turned out coz his single mom couldnt give him the time he needed. it affected him for the rest of his life. 

 

i swore that would never happen with dd. 

 

in a sense i am grateful for dd being who she is. because she has taught me how to be her mom. her demanding self while wearing on me has pushed me to fulfill all her emotional needs. 

 

she is a child with much anxiety. and just being there for her has made a huge difference to her. 

 

it was also v. important for me coz in my family it was the opposite. i was the easy child and younger bro was the demanding one. poor mom told me i never wanted anything and played happily by myself so she gave her full attention to my bro. it took me 40 years to no longer feel abandoned by my mom and really understand that she tried her best. 

 

the eggshells part. i found something v. important to her than other kids. the 3 golden rules. enough exercise, enough food in stomach AND enough rest. even today at almost 9, when she is going thru a emotional growth spurt i watch out for those 3 things because it really helps with the intensity.

 

and i was able to tolerate the eggshells myself because till about 3 her sensory stuff was actually painful for her. she couldnt help it. part of her was super sensitive and couldnt stand bunched up socks or sleeves yet the sensory seeker would never wear shoes and run on playground bark with bare feet. 

 

another big key. no matter how i tried lying or hiding - she ALWAYS could tell when i was angry or upset. she would always act up. 

 

yes its more relaxing now. however now is the time i find parenting REALLY challenging. for me parenting is far more difficult than before. for me to help her i have to give up more and more control. i have to stop trying to fix it. i have to stop trying to say i told you so. i have to say yes and watch her learn thru her mistakes. i have to listen to her heart wrenching questions and struggle to find answers. so yes i can sleep at night and get time to myself. but the intensity of certain things have gone sky high for me. 

 

and yes thru it all - i have made sure i enjoy my child. but then again being an older mom and knowing she was possibly going to be my only one i couldnt but enjoy her even tho at 3 months i wanted to kill her. 

post #4 of 8

Yes. My dd is 5, and I'm just starting to enjoy her more and more. You'll get there too.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the replies!  Meemee - I too was the easier child growing up; my sister challenged my parents much more, but I feel very fortunate that they went out of their way to make me feel loved and supported, and not ignored.  I try to keep a close eye on this myself because sometimes I find myself bending over backwards to meet DS1's preferences and DS2 is so easy-going he just takes things as they come - but I want him to know that his needs/wants matter too, even though he's not as loud about them as his brother.

 

Thanks again for the support, Mamas :)

post #6 of 8

solly my mom tried her best too. sometimes i feel (at least in my case) what i needed and what my mom thought i needed were two different things. and so i sulked in a corner and told myself she didnt love me.

 

its only after i became a mom did i truly understand how much my mom tried. what is soooo awesome about her is she was never the nurturing type. she just didnt know how to do the little things that made the difference. it was just her personality. so as a young child the nurturer in our family was our dad. but when we grew older that's when mom was fun. around dd's age. she had GREAT surprises and oh so handled teenage years sooooooo much better. my dad was just the opposite.

 

i think i suffered from too much shock when my bro was born when i was 2. and ma not knowing how to nurture just didnt know what to do. living away from family she had no guidance whatsoever of what to do with me.

 

and that's why today i appreciate her sooo much more. and that's why i am the parent i am. all i can do is try to figure out dd and love her hte best i can. how she experiences her parents is all upto her. my actions dont define if i was a good parent or not. her perceptions does. 

post #7 of 8

My soon to be five year old is exactly like you described. He brings me to my knees in tears daily. I find myself being beyond frustrated with my inability to parent him effectively and I feel like all I do all day is try to keep him happy so that the rest of us aren't subjected to an hour of screaming. He screams at every little thing and if I pick him up (not roughly, normally) to bring him into his room for a break he starts screaming "OW OW OW OWWWWWWWW You're hurting me!!!!" I mean, he's so believable that I actually think I AM hurting him even though it's not possible! I've read book after book and nothing has helped thus far except for time. It seems like as time has gone by he's had more good days than before...I can only pray this continues. I have completely given up on talking to people IRL about it because they seem to think "kids like him" just need firmer discipline. I think that's bull because I have two other kids and they're all disciplined the exact same way and only DS2 is "spirited". Everyone is sure it's a behavior issue or a food issue or or or. 

 

tiphat.gif

 

 

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
. for me to help her i have to give up more and more control. i have to stop trying to fix it. i have to stop trying to say i told you so. i have to say yes and watch her learn thru her mistakes. i have to listen to her heart wrenching questions and struggle to find answers. so yes i can sleep at night and get time to myself. but the intensity of certain things have gone sky high for me. 

 

and yes thru it all - i have made sure i enjoy my child. but then again being an older mom and knowing she was possibly going to be my only one i couldnt but enjoy her even tho at 3 months i wanted to kill her. 


This really helped me with my son. He's always been spirited/high needs but recently since being 3 1/2 he has really ramped it up with his desire to be in control, and I find whenever I try to have control it's just a losing battle. I am really struggling with it though because I was over=controlled as a child and had a dad I had to walk on eggshells around, so living with a male person that does that too is just pushing so many buttons for me. This thread gives me hope though.

 

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