Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Parenting frustrations

I'm sitting here crying, as I listen to my kid cry, pitifully, in his room. I've banished him there until his Poppa gets home so we can discuss the situation that led to all this crying (and the crying of another kid, too). You see, my kid has become the dreaded "biter" at school, you know the kid the other parents don't want their kids to play with, the one the other kids start to avoid. Okay, so maybe it hasn't gotten that bad yet, but that's where I'm afraid it will go. This is the 2nd time in 3 school days that we've gotten an email stating our kid has bitten someone else's kid. And I am overwhelmed. I'm embarrassed. I'm horrified. I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm confused. And I'm an adult. I can only imagine what's going on in his head. Actually, I wish I did know what is going on in his head so we could deal with it and stop the biting.

The kid is very oral, has been since he was born. But he has never been a biter (unless you count the 2 times he bit me when he was nursing - he was only 5 months old so I'm thinking this is a different kind of monster). I just want to know what precipitated all this! Why has he all of the sudden started biting, especially considering he really is well past the developmental stage where kids start to bite. The first time he bit last week, it was a kid who, according to the teacher, is annoying (she actually said she didn't blame him, though we all agree that biting is, of course, not acceptable ever). However, the kid he bit today is one of his best school buddies. I just don't get it!

The director of his school said that it doesn't matter why they do what they do; we just have to "come down hard so he knows the behavior is unacceptable". And while I agree that he does need to know it's unacceptable, I also think it's important to know why he's doing it. The reasons he's giving me seem silly ("I didn't want [the other child] to do my work with me"). In the past he's always used his words to express that - really, the kid is excellent with his words. There's something in my gut telling me that something just isn't right. And we need to figure it out, for him, and for his poor potential victims. There's also something in my gut telling me we're not handling this right, and that the way the director is suggesting we handle it also isn't right (for my kid). I'm completely against biting him back, as some people suggest, because I think that only condones the biting. But I just don't know what IS the answer.

For now, he's in his room, as I said, until hubby gets home and we can further discuss this as a family. He gets no toys and only two books (so he doesn't completely destroy his room). He's also going to miss out on a swim party with friends scheduled for this weekend ("if you're biting your friends, it tells me that you can't be around them") which has really upset him. But I just don't know what else to do.

Today's lesson - parenting and kids are funny (funny ironic, not funny haha, at least not today). Just when you think you're on to something, or are doing something well, they're there to teach you that you actually know very little. Parenting is humbling, and in my opinion, more so than anything else in the world.

In case you're wondering, he's no longer crying. He's now jumping off his bed and yelling. He seems to be having quite a good time. Awesome. And I am now more on the side of irritation than sadness. Where is his Poppa...???!


Anonymous said...

Go with your gut!!! It's usually right as a mom! You know what is best for your child. Do what you think is right. I don't believe in the biting back thing either. I didn't do that with my biters. I hate to say it's one of those phases some kids go through and I know from a parent view it can't go by fast enough! Good LUCK!!!

Andi said...

Oh the comment is by me. I don't know why it came up anonymous.