(which is nowhere near as inspirational as "I have a Dream...")
I've always thought boys are waaaaaaaaaaay easier than girls to raise. Boys are a little more difficult during the toddler years because they're so active and have so much energy, but once you find a way to channel that little something extra, you're golden. Easy sailing for the next 15 years. I've also been so blessed because Q has been such an easy kid. I mean, I can count on one hand the number of out of control temper tantrums he's had. He's always been very active - he started walking (and by walking, I mean running) at 9 months - but by keeping him busy in soccer and hockey, parenting him has been a breeze. He's polite, remembers his pleases and thank yous, does what he's asked (usually with me only having to ask twice...haha), and he has a very strong sense of right and wrong.
This whole tween thing has knocked me over on my ass.
At first I thought there was some sort of outside source that was influencing my sweet little angel. Then I thought he needed a nap. Or maybe he was just hungry. I thought of blaming his dad.
But this nasty attitude is just not going away.
So, I googled the symptoms....
...and I found out I have a tween.
And that this is...
(pause for effect)
I feel sick to my stomach. My heart actually physically hurts. I do not recognize this mopey, insolent, miserable person living in my house. I mean, don't get me wrong - sometimes, I see the kid that I know and love and we have some really great times. But other times, he's a monster. Last night, during a calm spell, I said to him..."Q, be the kind, funny kid that you are deep inside, the kid that everyone wants to be around. Don't be the mean, grumpy kid." To which he responded, "I know, but I just don't think twice. It just comes out."
I get that he's starting to *find himself* and that can be a daunting task for anyone, let alone a 9 year old boy. I get that the testosterone is starting to flow, and he doesn't know what to do with all that man-ness yet because he's...well...9.
Is there a solution? Because I seriously don't think I can handle this attitude 24/7.
First of all, we had a visit recently with Nana and Grandpa. Grandpa tried everything to cheer Q up and when nothing else worked, he put him to work. After Q moved firewood for about 15 minutes, it was like he was a different kid. He was talkative (no grunting), he was smiling (no perma-frown) and his eyes weren't rolling at everything I said.
Secondly, I am giving Q more responsibility around the house. He wants to act like a moody teenager, well then I'm going to give him moody teenager chores. Active chores like taking out the garbage and organizing the recycling...
Actually, I'm kind of at a loss for some more active manly chores...so if anyone has any ideas, throw them my way, please!!
Hand in hand with more responsibility comes more serious consequences. I've explained to Q that he's the man of the family and men need to take care of their household. There are no more time outs as punishment - there are privileges that get taken away, there are video games that disappear.
We are going to be more structured. We're going to have routines around here so Q knows what to expect and what is expected of him and for him.
Of course, sports start up in the next few weeks and that will help his energy levels. He's going to busy almost every day with some sporting event or another, and this will help channel that wayward testosterone.
1. Put him to work
2. Give him more responsibility
3. Give him more serious consequences
4. Create structure and routine
5. Lots and lots of organized sports
I'll keep you updated. Hopefully, we'll both make it through this phase without going me mad myself.
Now if I could just figure out how to stay on top of him eating me out of house and home, because oh. my. goodness. the kid is hungry all. the. time.