Some of you might already know that I have been taking CL to preschool. I think I mentioned this before but it’s a co-op, meaning parents participate in the classroom. It’s quite neat. But let me vent..
Lately CL has been giving me a very hard time at school. He’s been yelling to other kids in the classroom. Therefore causing some parents to react negatively towards him. I cannot tell you guys how hard it has been for me this last month. Ever since we found out he has sensory issues in September, I feel like I’ve had to change my parenting style COMPLETELY, and learning how to better help him. Not everything works.
Anyway, even though at first I was relieved to know HOW we can help him, I quickly became very hesitant and anxious. For months I cared about how other people viewed him compared to their own kids, and also towards me as a mother. It’s so mentally draining when your kid acts up in school or lashes out, and you can see the parents’ reaction.
There was an incident that happened last Monday, he was doing so well until right before snack time. They do circle time where they read and sing songs together. CL had decided not to participate and instead was being silly. However, the kids encouraged him by laughing so that was a cue to him to keep going. I tried to get him to sit down so he wouldn’t be disruptive, but he quickly lashed out at me for telling him what to do. He started yelling at me saying “NO!” and then he tried to be defiant, tried to grab a book, which I took away. And since he was so focused on fighting me, he knocked a book over that hit a girl in the head. Then another girl tried to tell him “Don’t do that” and he lashed out at her too and yelled “don’t’ say that” and was pointing furiously at her.
I know my child very well, he does this all the time when he’s upset. At that point I know not to press him because if I get near him and try to tell him to sit down, he will throw a fit or a tantrum and with so many kids around, I didn’t want to risk him hitting or kicking someone by accident. So I kept my distance. I knew he wasn’t going to act violently, but another mom, not the girl’s mom mind you, came from across the room and sat behind the girl and put her hand on her shoulder as if to show my son that she was protecting the little girl. From what? What was my son going to do? Nothing. I know that for a fact. But she felt that was her job to do so. Not only did that make me feel incredibly bad about myself, like I wasn’t a good enough mother for stepping in, I felt like my son’s actions didn’t warrant that kind of reaction to begin with. I did have a talk with CL when we got home that it was okay to be angry but not okay to yell at other people, that the girl was just trying to help him.. Of course, he lashed out at me saying he didn’t need help.. Ok..
I’m sure the mom meant well, but usually people don’t think about how their actions will hurt others. So yeah that hurt me deeply. The entire day I kept thinking “I’m not a good mother, I didn’t step in like I should have”. It didn’t help that the girl’s mom and that mom that stepped in were talking to each other away from everyone else so that made me feel even worse. And to top it off, the girl’s mom was trying to avoid looking at me for the rest of the day. Of course I apologized to the girls mom but I still didn’t feel any better.
When the next school day came around, CL got angry once more because a girl came by trying to take away the toys he was playing with. The girl was actually being aggressive like pulling things away from him and CL reacted the same way and backed into a shelf and the frame fell on top of a girl’s head. Who’s girl was this? The mom who stepped in for the other girl he yelled at.. To add insult to injury, the mom welcomed the little girl to play with her and her daughter. Again, I’m sure she meant well by that, maybe she was trying to help, but I felt as though she acted like it was my son’s fault. At least my son said he was sorry for the frame falling on the girls head.
15 minutes later after CL had already moved on to play in another area, the mom’s daughter tried to come tell my son that he needed to make his snack. He didn’t have to, but that set him off and once again, he yelled “NO!” at her. Her mom just took her daughter away… That day during the parents group she avoided looking my way just like the other mom.
Since then I’ve had time to think about both of those incidents and the reactions from that particular mom. What hurts me more I think, is that I actually like her as a person and her philosophies and parenting style resonate with me on another level. But because of how she reacted towards my son, I must say I kind of lost some respect for her.
To that mom’s defense, she doesn’t know that CL has sensory issues. In fact, nobody knows. I haven’t told anyone in there, only his teachers and the specialists know, but other than that, it doesn’t seem like anyone is interested in getting to know us. Could also be an age difference, I think I’m one of the youngest moms and there’s not many of us in there to begin with.
When I got home I talked to Alex about it and my feelings towards the mom’s reaction and how I felt like CL gets treated differently by other parents, practically on the brink of tears. He told me to not worry about what people think. It’s none of their business. I had also vent to my best friend and he told me the same thing. I even told my brother briefly what a crappy week it was at school and he said the exact same thing. “Who cares what people think? They don’t know you guys”.
That same day his teacher called me to reiterate that despite the little meltdowns, he had a great day. And even though she didn’t repeat the same words, she said something along the lines of “The other parents don’t know the long story” and I cannot tell you guys how deeply the message sunk. Hearing it from four different people confirmed that one thought in my head that wasn’t loud enough because I was too busy with my thoughts of “what do they think of us?”
That really put everything in perspective. That’s right. Who gives a shit what other people think of us? They don’t know my son like I do. They don’t even know half of the hardship that comes with sensory issues. It’s so insanely complicated and incredibly frustrating. I bet no one in that classroom would understand how difficult it is. And I’m not trying to make myself a victim, I make it a thing to not judge anyone no matter what because I know everyone is going through their own struggles.
For me my biggest struggle is my son. It brings me a great deal of stress not knowing how to help him. Especially when he refuses my help. I think his sensory needs make it that much more difficult as well. Lately he has been picking fights with me too which is the weirdest thing ever but to him, it’s a very serious thing. I do the best I can to not get frustrated at that, he doesn’t know.
I’ll have to write a post about sensory issues because it is pretty complicated and I want to talk about it because it doesn’t seem like it’s something that is widespread.
Anyway, what I learned from those two incidents, was that I shouldn’t give two fucks about what people think of me as a mother or my son. They don’t know us. They don’t know him like I know him, nor do they know what we are dealing with. So while raising my son is going to be 100 times harder, he is my son and I love him and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he succeeds and excels in school and in his life. I will not allow other people’s opinions to slow us down because he has made a tremendous improvement in the last year. I’m nothing but proud of him.
Thanks for letting me vent. I will be sure to write up a post about sensory issues for those of you might be interested in getting to know my family better. Also, sorry if there are spelling errors or whatever.. I just needed to get this off my chest..
I’ll be back with a life update tomorrow if I can edit photos and get my draft done.