If you’ve spent any time on this blog or with me in person, I highly doubt you question my love of being a father. I absolutely adore my children. In fact, just yesterday, although I spent the morning raking the fifteen tons of leaves off my lawn and was incredibly exhausted, I took each of my children on their own separate little dates. My son, being the consummate male that he is, requested a trip to go shopping, my daughter, ice skating.
However…I really hate having to play the role of angry dad. I’ve gotten really good at it. My mean dad face will often get the children to stop doing whatever they are doing without a single word needing to be said. When that doesn’t work, the booming dad voice can usually bring instant tears, when necessary.
But I hate it. I don’t like disciplining my children. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that these punishments usually involve me not being able to do something I want, seeing as I tend to have more fun on our outings than my children do.
The past few weeks have found my daughter dealing with some rather severe behavioral issues. My sweet, loving daughter has suddenly found herself erupting into little rage fits that cause her to hit, bite, scratch, and scream, as well as a host of other unattractive habits. These have mostly been happening at school and generally occur during or leading up to the naptime period, although last week found them reaching out into most of the day. I finally got to see one of these fits last week and, well, I found myself faced with a little girl who was behaving not at all like my daughter. Attempting to get to the crux of the issue placed me in a situation where I was running the gauntlet of punishments and positive reinforcement tactics. Overall, it found me being no where near as loving as I wanted to be for my little girl who was obviously dealing with some sort of emotional issue that she didn’t know how to express.
Even when I had attempted to go the route I wanted, she would push me away, angry at something that even she doesn’t truly understand. It made me sad to watch her struggle with whatever it is she’s been struggling with.
After a great deal of R&R and finding some punishment/positive reinforcements/other child-rearing techniques that, in combination, seemed to give her more of a goal to work toward as a result of controlling her anger in a much more acceptable manner, I found myself with my daughter back.
On top of all of this was the horrible situation of actually having to talk to her teachers about these actions. Being talked to as though her actions were the direct result of my inability to parent my own child made me feel not only like I was back in school myself, but an uncontrollable urge to hit people myself (I did manage to control the urge…). I don’t like people trying to tell me my kids are bad. I know they aren’t, even if they do sometimes do things that they shouldn’t. They’re both incredibly caring individuals, a trait that I’m still not quite sure how they inherited, or where they inherited it from.
So, today, as I sat at home working, I noticed the clock nearing the noon hour and started thinking about my daughter, hoping against hope that she would find the strength to control her uncontrollable emotions and deal with her frustration in a much more constructive manner. As of yet I haven’t received another phone call telling me I need to bring my daughter home….but it is still early yet.
On the bright side, I did get the chance to do the fun parts of parenting yesterday, helping my daughter remember how to move on the ice and sharing some hot chocolate with her afterwards. If I have to deal with those ugly situations to get to share those moments, I’m more than willing to do it.
Anyways, gotta run.
Have fun out there!