Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trying times

This moment in Ben's development is what people usually refer to as a "phase." I think they say that to give you hope that your life will one day be good again. The phase we're navigating right now is an aggressive phase. The hitting, kicking, throwing and pushing are ever present. Taking him around other kids is becoming a chore. Even playgroup friends he's known his entire life aren't immune. Some of it isn't malicious. His favorite game is Chase, so if he can't verbally convince someone to play with him he'll push them, trying to start them off running. Eventually that results in pushing them down, and sometimes, tears.

Other times it is malicious and it's so frustrating because there's not all that much I can do. I take him aside, tell him not to hit, make him apologize, give him a time-out... But so far it's not very effective. I guess I'm going to have to start leaving wherever we are, but that sucks because it's punishment for me, too.

I know this mainly stems from lack of impulse control and empathy. Everyone has times when they just want to smack someone else, but they've learned to control that urge and just passive aggressively write about it on Facebook. As one of his parents, it's my job to teach him that skill. But damn it's difficult and tedious. I've probably said, "We don't hit," 5,000 times in the last year and a half and I probably have 10,000 more ahead of me.

When he was first learning to walk I pretty much followed after him everywhere we went, to make sure he didn't crack his head open. It was so nice when he became steady enough that I didn't have to mirror his every move. I could chat with my friends or just sit down for once. Now I feel like I have to revive my shadow role so he quits hitting everyone. Where did my sweet boy go?

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