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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I need a pep talk. Over the past 2 months, I've been feeling progressively more discouraged. My older son (7) acts *very* silly *very* often. He seems to have no concept of when its appropriate and when to back off. I see the people he is close to being very annoyed by him, and I understand! I get annoyed too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> He is much worse when is even the slightest bit bored or anxious, and throughout his childhood we've helped him to cope by providing him with things to keep him busy. If he has something to focus on, he is the most delighful child I've ever known. The trouble is, lately he is resistant to my suggestions for things to do, and he is refusing to be resourcefull himself. The result is that whenever we spend time with other people, he is too loud, too silly, too rough, and too crazy. Even other children are annoyed by him lately. And while he does well in school, they have noticed these problems during breaks and at at recess.<br><br>
Now, while I am open to suggestions for this ongoing problem, my bigger problem right now if my feelings of failure and guilt over this. I just can't shake the feeling that this is my fault. That if I had done something somewhere better than this wouldn't be so and everyone would like him. He's not being "bad" per se. -- he doesn't disobey or break rules. He's just being *obnoxious." I hate to admit it -- I hate to admit that I am raising an obnoxious human being! I know that most people "blame the mother." And now I'm totally blaming myself.<br><br>
I just don't know what to do, or how to deal with the fact that my children will struggle with things like this. I just can't shake the feeling that, "If I were a good mother everyone would like my child."<br><br>
A lot of people *do* like him too, because when he is engaged and busy, he is an amazing kid. But, lately he has been the crazy silly annoying kid much more often, and it his relationships are suffering as a result.
 

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No advice, just a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gemini, thanks.<br><br>
I feel a bit better just having written out my feelings here and then rereading them. My son is not cruel, not mean, not dissobedient, not lazy and not insensitive. He's just behaving very silly lately. Silly isn't so terrible. Its not like I'm raising a violent person. If intense silliness is his worst behavioral problem, then maybe I'm not doing so poorly.<br><br>
Thats just the thing though. When my kids do well, I feel great about myself. When they struggle, I feel like a failure.<br><br><b>WHY do my feelings of self worth need to depend so acutely on the successes and struggles of my children??</b> Its just not a good thing.
 

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I hear you, mamaduck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">:<br><br>
I think that, as parents, we want our kids to be likable all the time, and we feel that we have done something wrong when they are not. My dd, quite a bit younger than your ds, is also very, very silly, and loves getting attnetion for it. But sometimes she goes too far and doesn't know when to stop. I used to try to stop her, but it would only make her resentful.<br><br>
I think that the answer might be that we need to try not to take our child's social difficulties personally - and that's hard! Lately I just try to watch and see what happens, because I figure eventually some kid will say to her, "Cut it out," or "You're kind of weird," and then she'll figure out on her own what is appropriate. I hate to think of her experiencing that, but I think the only way children can learn to interpret social cues is through trial and error, rather than by someone telling them what to do (or not do).<br><br>
Kind of rambling, sorry, but am I making any sense?<br><br>
Anyway, it sounds like your son is a great kid who just gets carried away sometimes, and as long as his behavior isn't really hurting anyone, he'll probably learn on his own to keep it more in check when necessary.<br><br>
If I'm totally off the mark, forgive me!
 

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I think some kids just take longer to figure out social cues and unspoken social agreements. My 8 yr old is like this. I see her rush in (barge in?) and be loud and sillly and I can tell she has totally misread the situation. Or she will be *too* close and lovey to a friend. Her best friend is a boy and suddenly he is noticing that the phyisicalness of their relationship is not *normal* for third graders. He doesn't want to hold hand anymore. He doesn't want to let her give him a piggy back ride around the playground. DD has been confused, hurt and angry about this. I wait for my chance and ask her how she feels in some situation. And ask her how Joe might feel. Would he feel that way if the whole school was not watching? We do role playing and I try to set up ways to show her how she IS socially successful. And situations where maybe things could have gone differently. We have developed statagies that she can use when she wants to dive in, but may not have taken time to figure the situation out a bit. Maybe your son *knows* he is not always socially *getting it* and doesn't know how to do things differently? My dd is really mystified sometimes at reactions she gets when she thought she was just being playful and funny and cute.<br>
Is he noticing that his relationships are suffering?<br>
Your posts lead me to believe that you are an awesome mom. I am sorry you are hurting over this.
 

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Mamaduck - first, hugs to you. Being a Mom is hard in more ways than I could have guessed before I became a parent.<br><br>
Second, when I read your words, "If I were a good mother everyone would like my child," I was struck very strongly with the inspiration to tell you that your child is his own person, even at 7 years old. You are his mother, but you are not him, nor he, you. You cannot change him, any more than you could change your partner. Who he is is his own choice. He has free will. This is not to say that you cannot guide him along the journey to adulthood, nor should you neglect your responsibility to be his trusted advisor. But he is his own person.<br><br>
I hope this doesn't sound too harsh. Like I said, I felt inspired to give you this message, almost as though it didn't really come from me.<br><br>
In Love and Light,<br><br>
Patti
 

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Mamaduck,<br><br>
I always read your posts and think, now that's a mom who inspires me! I'm so sorry you're feeling like a failure. However, even in this post, I see you seeing the truth behind the guilt: you are totally emotionally invested in this little guy (as you should be) and it hurts you to see him in positions where he could be hurt (again, natural mothering) and you somewhere deep down believe his behavior reflects directly on YOU and your mothering prowess (here's where you go off track!).<br><br>
Shakti is dead on correct that your 7 year old son is his own person, born on this earth to do his own thing. You are at a challenging point - he's not doing what you think he ought to do for his own good. How will you respond? He is very likely, unbeknownst to him, stirring up your old issues and you're having to deal with things you may have tried to bury. This is how children are our best teachers.<br><br>
Mamaduck, I'm not going to offer you advice because I know you have it all inside you. Listen to that gentle quiet voice inside you that speaks with wisdom. I'm sending you all kinds of energy to help you banish the critical voice inside. It's just plain telling you lies and holding you back from being the magnificent person you truly are.<br><br>
One last thing = <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> You deserve to feel like a splendid mother for giving your thoughtful attention to this situation!<br><br>
Love,<br>
CurlyTop
 

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A large part of my self worth is tied to being a mother...but I figure the more you put in, the more of you you put in...anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Have you read "Your child's self esteem" by Dorothy C. Briggs?<br><br>
Not that I think your son has an esteem problem, I don't, but it's very helpful at illustrating stages the psyche goes through on it's way. I distinctly remember reading about a boy with much the same (temporary) behaviours. According to her your son is fine, and this may be something he needs to work through on his own.<br><br>
Jen
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> mamaduck<br><br>
I want you to know that I often look at your advice here on the boards (especially GD) and I hope that I will be as gentle, loving, and supportive of my child(ren) as you are. Really, I mean it. I sometimes give my imaginary perfect disciplinarian mother the name mamaduck. Of course now everyone know how insane I really am <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
I hardly think this is your fault at all. I am all sorts of things that are annoying to other people and it is not my mom's fault. Even the things that are related to her are not her fault KWIM? Even if they were, there are so many things that my mom taught me that make me a good person, that what she failed to teach me pales in comparison. And I don't think of my mom as the imaginary perfect mom.<br>
I don't have any good advice because I haven't BTDT at all. Anyway, some other people have already offered better advice than what I can come up with.<br><br>
I hope you feel better.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by nuggetsmom</i><br><b>I sometimes give my imaginary perfect disciplinarian mother the name mamaduck.</b></td>
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So do I!!!<br><br>
:LOL <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> :LOL<br><br>
CurlyTop
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by mamaduck</i><br><b><br><br>
WHY do my feelings of self worth need to depend so acutely on the successes and struggles of my children?? Its just not a good thing.</b></td>
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OY!<br><br>
We have set ourselves this impossible task. Spend the lions share of our time, energy, creativity on our children. And then somehow divorce ourselves from attaching our sense of worth to how our children behave. I understand that we must strive to do that, but gee whiz! Nobody thinks its weird if an architect bases at least some of his self worth on how well his buildings work. A mechanic on whether he can, you know, make a car go. But we aren't supposed to. Impossible.
 

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I imagine I have a braclet that reads WWMDD? What would MamaDuck do? The I try to channel your gentle lovingkindness in my reactions to my kids when I just feel like blowing my stack...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks ladies. It helps. BTW -- I "blow my stack" plenty. Don't idealize me too much, kay? Things are way easier in writing and theory than they are IRL.
 

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Hugs to you mamaduck. I'm new to this forum so I don't "know" you very well, but what I gather from what the other mamas have said about you so far, I see that you are a gentle, loving mama.<br><br>
My only advice/comment is that I think to an extent the silliness and lack of social cues is part of the age. Sometimes kids just don't know when enough is enough. It's our job to show them (gently of course). I know you know this alread within yourself. I understand your frustrations and your feelings of guilt. All of us mamas go through it. {{{HUGZ}}} Just keep doing what you're doing. You sound like a FANTASTIC mother. Don't beat yourself up, okay?<br><br>
Take care.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by kama'aina mama</i><br><b>OY!<br><br>
Nobody thinks its weird if an architect bases at least some of his self worth on how well his buildings work. A mechanic on whether he can, you know, make a car go.</b></td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"><br>
Well, the architect of our house and my mechanic probably have some self worth issues since my car is on it's last wheels and costs more to run than car payments would be, and the floor in my house is bulging.<br><br>
:LOL :LOL<br><br>
Good analogy though. Mothering is just a much harder job than any other thing if you bring your whole self to it (and so many of us do in a way that people don't bring their selves to their work)
 

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I'm not sure that i can articulate my thoughts well as it is VERY early in the morning, but here goes...<br><br>
When i read your post, i felt like i was reading my own words. My very silly son is 5, and he gets extremely carried away in his silliness. I think a part of it is he loves to make us laugh and really craves approval from others. Basically, i think in his head he just wants to know everyone likes him. Does that make sense? Well, he gets so silly sometimes, i can tell he's getting on his friends nerves. Some of them wont even play with him unless there is no one else to play with because his behavior is so annoying sometimes. So i've tried to tell him "when enough is enough" but he doesnt seem to really get it, how his behavior is affecting his friendships. So here is my suggestion: Invite some friends over to play (make sure its at a time when son is rested and deffinantly not "sugared up") and observe his behavior very closely. When he starts getting too silly and the other kids are reacting negatively to it, try discretely pulling him aside in order to point out to him (very gently) exactly when his behavior became too much and what the other kids might be thinking. For example: "hey son, that joke you told about the horse sure was funny<insert big smile". But you know, when you tell the same joke over and over, it stops being so funny. do you think the other kids thought it was funny?", son- "well they laughed the first time but then they all started playing baseball and left me out". "Well, maybe they didnt want to hear the joke anymore. Sometimes one silly thing if funny, but a bunch of silly things can kinda get on your nerves, ya know."<br>
This way your giving him an direct example of how his silliness is affecting his relationship with the other kids. Maybe he's just not putting 2 and 2 together. I think one of my kids problems is he's not around other kids enough to know how to act. So i have to gently guide him in these situations. And dont take this behavior too personally--he's just finding his way in the world and this is probably just a passing phase. I try to ask myself--is this bahavior going to be a problem when my son is 30? Excessive laziness-yes.....excessive silliness-probably not. Sorry to ramble but i hope that helps a little.
 

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Hi Mamaduck,<br><br>
When my dd (5) gets obnoxiously silly it's usually a sign that she is feeling disconnected. You mentioned your son tends to do this when he is bored or anxious, so I wonder if we're seeing something similar. When she's being truly joyfully silly it makes me laugh, but this sort of "un-grounded" silly seems to call for a negative reaction. I take it as a sign that she's off track and needs help getting back on track.<br><br>
With my daughter I can sometimes help her by making her the priority (if I can) for a while and really trying to help her feel connected to me (lots of eye-contact, a funny story, a game, physical closeness, etc). Sometimes if it is happening because a family friend is visiting, it helps to back off and give her a chance to snuggle and catch up with that friend herself. (Sometimes that is difficult for me, and it helps me empathize with her own difficulty sharing the friend!)<br><br>
Just hoping to have something to offer you, as I, too find your insights so meaningful here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
Hilary
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Hilary. What you say makes sense -- we've learned to ask him, "Do you need a hug?" Now he is beginning to ask for a hug before he gets out of control, sometimes. Its always a really aggressive and powerful hug though!!! If he doesn't ask first, he knocks me over and sometimes hurts me. So we're working on the asking part!<br><br>
But thank you for articulating his need so well. I will think of other ways to "connect." Its just thouroughly exhausting sometimes -- because his need is continual. I rarely get to focus on anything else!
 

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Yes, notice I said "if I can." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"> Getting to the underlying problem is the first step to finding a solution, but sometimes the underlying problem requires more emotional and physical availability than us human parents can muster! I remember this gentle discipline conundrum presented itself to me most forcibly when I had a new baby in the house. I have been figuring that sometimes you just have to feed the need as much as you can, work around & with your child's rough edges when it isn't possible to directly address the underlying problem, empathize with rather than judge your child and yourself, and sort of hope that your child gets into an easier phase soon! What do you think? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused">:<br><br>
[edited to correct a typo--twice...(nak!)]
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The trouble is that he is at an age where he needs to start the process of learning to cope sometimes. Meaning, he needs to learn strategies for feeding his own intense needs rather than demanding that others do it for him. I've been "feeding his needs" continually for 7 years, and lately it seems to me that the more I do that, the more he relies on me to do it.<br><br>
For instance, I find myself constantly responsible for finding him things to do when he is bored. What he needs, ultimately, is to be able to think of a soothing activity on his own, and then go do it. Not always -- but sometimes. KWIM? So, I find myself feeling the need to hold back and give him opportunities to solve his issues on his own. But more than half the time, he does not succeed.<br><br>
So I guess I feel really torn. If I just "fix it" everytime he is having trouble, he doesn't learn how to do it for himself. On the other hand, if I step back and let him try to fix it, most of the time he doesn't, and the consequence is that someone gets angry with him.... and that usually ends with him in tears. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
When he is at school, or at his grandparents, or even sometimes at home while I'm busy with something else, he needs to be able to either 1) Ask for what he needs (a hug, or whatever) without pounding on people, or 2) Recognize what he is doing and find some way to sooth himself.<br><br>
Ack. I feel like a need a strategy. But I've been working on this forever and just can't come up with one. Thus -- the title of my thread.
 
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