“Mommy, I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.”
“Why not, sweetie? You love school.”
“No I don’t. I don’t like school. I don’t like it!”
“Why don’t you like school?”
“Because my friends are all scared of me.”
This last was said with a quivering lip, eyes full of unshed tears.
And it broke my heart.
It’s true. Her friends are scared of her. She’s been so unbelievably naughty that no one knows when she’s going to lash out. So they, I guess, don’t want to play with her.
My poor little three-year-old daughter. Feeling alienated, friendless and alone.
Her own doing? Sure. But she doesn’t understand that. I don’t think she even knows why she lashes out.
I’ve got lots of guesses. Maybe she was just too tired. Maybe she was hurting – her ears, her teeth, who knows. Maybe she just wanted more attention.
But I don’t have the answers. And she can’t give me any.
So I put her to bed early. Give her tylenol – just in case. And pray.
I don’t want her to be naughty. Not because of the problems it poses in my life. I can figure those out. I just don’t want her to be hurt. Don’t want her to feel like the odd one out – the one no one likes.
I want her to be happy and carefree. I want her to putter and play and, you know, just be a kid.
I want to fix this for her.
So I read books. The latest, “Honey, I Broke the Kids,” tells me that I need to be more democratic in my parenting. That kids who lash out in one way or another are seeking to fill a need – for compassion, control…I don’t know. There are four of them.
It advocates for no punishment. Just logical consequences clearly stated at the outset.She says no timeouts, no sending the kid to her room, none of that.
But I wonder. Has that author ever been faced with a kid so angry she literally can’t hear you? Been so afraid of the next tantrum that she spent her days walking around on eggshells, trying not to rock the boat?
Democracy doesn’t really seem to work in that situation.
Sure, she’s hurting. I’m hurting. We’re all hurting.
I just hope it all comes to an end soon.