Until recently, I didn’t really understand when people said, “So-and-so and I are just alike. That’s why we never get along.” Then there was Evan.

It’s horrifying to see all my flaws and weaknesses mimicked and thrown back at me by a four-year-old. Beyond that, it’s aggravating. I know I’m to blame for a lot of Evan’s bad habits and unpleasant behavior. I have a short temper; Evan escalates just as quickly, and within minutes we’re both furious. He shouts that he’s not my friend anymore and I mutter that I don’t care as I stomp off to lock myself in the bathroom for a brief moment of privacy.

Parenting is hard. And lately I feel like I’m doing it all wrong.

I have been making an enormous effort this past week to stay calm and patient when Evan is being his normal belligerent self. It’s exhausting! I’m crossing my fingers that persistent effort will pay off eventually, but for now I still have a surly kid on my hands. I think Jarom is both amused and frustrated by how similar Evan and I are.

Today was Evan’s checkup, and we always do ice cream afterwards. Because his appointment was at lunchtime I decided to use a little of my spending money to get Happy Meals for the kids and let them play for a while at the play area, with the condition that they could only open the toys when we left – and only if they left without fussing. When Evan went to go play, he told me, “If you call me, I will come with no fussing because I’m a good listener.” We’ll see if that actually happens. I’ve been trying to praise more than correct, which I hope will help mini-me be a little nicer in turn.

Any other advice? I’m struggling mightily!


4 Comments on “Similar”

  1. Sarah M says:

    I would talk to his pediatrician. I have a friend whose son was (often still is) belligerent and extremely difficult, and he has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Unless you’re letting him get away with everything he wants (which I doubt) there is no other parental fix I can think of, besides keeping your own calm and continuing to be consistent in not tolerating his behavior. I don’t know the whole of the situation though, so take this advice if it applies.

  2. Deborah says:

    Just hold on and hold out. I remember my mom telling me that come 4, life would be great, 4 is great age etc. Then we hit 4. And it was still awful half of the time. But the closer we get to 5, the better he is getting. We’re finally getting into a routine which means he is sleeping more and at the same times, eating better and at the same times (I have found this to be huge. He is not a big eater but if I can regulate food times and make sure he has something on his stomach every 2-3 hours and not allow him to just snack intermittently on whatever throughout the day, it really makes a difference) and overall his life is more predictable which I think he is finding comfort in since we have moved and switched schedules at least yearly since he was born. I also try to make sure he has a decent level of daily activity so he has an outlet. So I think routine has been a big one and then also making sure I don’t make discipline ‘threats’ I know I can’t or won’t keep and then keeping the ones I make vigilantly. He also can have a pretty wicked temper and one thing that has kind of helped is personifying it and reminding him that when he listens to the temper, he gets in trouble and that his temper is never going to help him make a good choice.
    Evan’s a bright and dynamic kid and the hard part of raising a kid like him or Henry is they can challenge you up the wazoo. I was talking to my mom just yesterday and we both concluded if it was just Dorothea people would think I’m an awesome parent simply because she is just so much more even than Henry. She is just an overall easier baby and I imagine will be as a kid just because of her personality, or she’ll have different struggles. What I cling to sometimes is advice I heard given by a lady of 11 kids who all turned out well. Someone asked her how she had managed and she said, “well when they had such and such problem I tried this, then this and then eventually they grew out of it.” I think that’s probably fairly accurate. The older they get, as long as you’re always trying, they’ll mature and you’ll be able to work out solutions with them. You love your kid and you care about helping him do the right thing and that’s what’ll be most important in the end (I remind myself of that often).

  3. Camile says:

    From where I stand you’re doing great! Just keep on keeping on!

  4. Megan says:

    Well, I’ve always known I didn’t much like people like me, but yeah, the point hits home with Brooklyn. I mean, I love her and think she is wonderful, but we are equally dramatic, throw temper tantrums at the same frighteningly fast rate, and when either of us is short on sleep or food…. we turn evil. Just straight up evil.
    But if I’ve learned anything in my verrrry short time of being a parent, it’s that everything’s a phase, and modeling is the best you can do. So if you’re working on modeling better behavior, then great, in my mind you’re doing your job. And you just need to take lots of deep breaths while you’re trying to live through the worst of it. Which, like Deborah said, I have been told will end around age 5. Nick is a model student/husband/parent/citizen and his parents said he was a belligerent, kicking terror from 2-5. There’s hope. (Plus when they get to school someone else had to deal with them for a lot of the day, and that has to help things, right?)

Be opinionated! We certainly are.

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