Five Going on Fifteen
I have encountered the many stages of the ages, as mentioned in my previous parenting posts (take a read if you dare!), and now I find myself parenting a five-year-old-going-on-fifteen. Wow. It’s wild!
These Foolhardy Fives have been a tumultuous ride! Even with my seatbelt fastened I feel like I’ve been thrown about in a whirlwind of BIG emotions – excitement, pride, defiance, stubbornness – all things wacky and wild that a 5 year old experiences. And parenting one is so exhausting. Wonderful, Yes. But, exhausting.
My little 5 year old has truly blossomed over this past year. Senior Kindergarten has been good to him, and his Teacher and ECE have been instrumental in aiding him with not only his intellectual development (reading, writing, math, etc.), but also his social development, paying close attention to guiding him through actions and consequences. I adore them; and am very grateful that Liam has this dynamic duo leading and teaching him this year. It has definitely been a successful year. That being said, my little boy often comes home with a know-it-all attitude mixed in with defiance. It is annoying.
Yes. I am admitting to the complete annoyance of having a child that acts like a know-it-all, sasses back, defies my instructions, argues, and (on occasion) has tempers when he does not get his own way. It’s exasperating, especially when these outbursts happen as early as 7:30 in the morning. I am often at my wits end, and have found more white hairs on my head than I wish to admit. How does one cope? How does one parent?
We adapt. We adapt very quickly. I use a variety of parenting techniques, but the techniques used have to [obviously] be appropriate to the situation. Here are a few:
1. Counting. This is my ‘go to’ parenting technique. I have used it for several years and it still works – YAY! In fact, I use it so often I even have a coffee mug honouring the ‘count’. In all seriousness, the counting helps to calm me down, and it forewarns my son that if he doesn’t stop or make a better choice with his behaviour then punishment will happen.
2. Punishment. The method of punishment [in our home] is taking something away, e.g., loss of his TV privilege, taking away a favourite toy, no bedtime stories, etc.. I will take a privilege away, and when he has calmed down, I talk about why it was taken away. It does not get given back unless there is consistent good behaviour/good choices.
3. Ignoring. Sometimes I just have to ignore the temper. I walk away. Yes, he follows me, but as he has gotten older he will often run into his room and, in the safety of his personal surroundings, have his release of emotions. When he has calmed down, I will then talk with him about the behaviour. It’s usually something that happened with a friend or a classmate at school that has set him off in this way. So we talk it through when he is calm.
4. Distraction. When Liam is skimming the surface of his know-it-all stubborn moments, then often I will distract from the situation. I will talk about something that is of interest with him, or I will think of a new activity/creative play. It works – sometimes – but I do try using this method. What I like about it is that it keeps things relatively calm, and keeps me from yelling.
But in all honesty, I do yell. What parent [truthfully] doesn’t have that moment when they finally yell? But I don’t like to yell at my child. It makes me feel very badly, and I also feel like it damages the relationship with my child. Yelling can snap him out of the moment, and if I do yell, then I talk to him after about why I yelled [at him], and what can we do differently to make sure we don’t reach that point.
Obviously I am no expert on child psychology or child development. I am just a mom struggling through this compelling and often daunting task of parenting – never knowing if the choices that I am making are helping or hindering my child, and therefore always doubting myself. But I also know that I am not alone out there. So moms and dads, if you have any insight you wish to share about parenting a 5-year old the comments are open!
Parenting is definitely the most challenging task I have ever taken on. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my son. I love being his mom. And as the months pass by, creating distance from my diagnosis/treatment of my two cancers, I am ever more grateful that I have had this time – all this time – to be Liam’s mom.
Five Going on Fifteen. Published by Crystal Joy Hall