Saturday 30 November 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - Feeling Judged

(Goblin is 4 years old)

Do you ever wish that other people could see your child the way that you see your child?

I've been feeling quite judged recently. It is probably less things people have actually said/done and more just because I'm feeling vulnerable and paranoid.

We have had a few less than successful playdates recently, and this coupled with some 'crappy' feedback from Goblin's nursery has made me feel like Hublet and I are the only people who like or get our son.

I can't stop feeling that people see him as abnormal because he is so much more energetic and impulsive than a lot of the kids he hangs round with. I found myself Googling the symptoms of ADHD the other day. Its not the first time I've done it, but I do question why I was doing it. What brought it on this time?

I don't believe that Goblin has ADHD, if you read the symptoms he doesn't have all of them. Sure he has some of them, but what 4 year old boy doesn't?
I believe that a lot of my parenting friends think he has ADHD or some other behavioural issue, rather than just being exuberant and enthusiastic. And the trouble is he isn't really helping me out on this one at the moment. You see people call a child exuberant and enthusiastic when they are happy and kind and jolly. But recently Goblin's play with other kids has quite often reflected his general attitude of defiance and conflict - which does make him look more like a 'troubled child' than a child with excess energy.

And because of his age I think recently my fear has shifted from people thinking I'm a bad parent (which while irritating, I can handle - thats on me), to people thinking my son is a bad kid. And I hate that, because he's not. And I don't want to change him and control him to make him into something acceptable to the "children should be seen and not heard" brigade. But I do worry.

Why do I care what other people think? Because I want my son to be happy, and I want him to have friends. And he does have friends, other kids seem to like him, its the adults I'm worried about. I don't want him to be the kid that doesn't get invited on playdates because the parents don't want their child picking up bad habits. But I don't want him to compromise his big personality to get that.

How do I hit that balance? Surely he can have his cake and eat it?

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  1. I bet 90% of other parents feel just like you do. I know I often do. I think my Chiquita is wonderful, but I'm sure other people find her too loud, too demanding, too overbearing. It's a reflection of my insecurities, the things that I felt bad about as a child and adult. I'm pretty sure that some people find all children annoying and others don't think about our children at all. Most of them just see kids and enjoy when they are rascals especially (I always do with other people's children).

  2. Thank you for sharing about this. I feel like I can totally relate.

  3. Oh, I could tell you the long list of disorders I have spent time "researching" on Google for my child. Nope. Kids are just kids! I mean, some do have researchable disorders, but we have come to a place in our culture where we feel we need to have a name for any behavior that is out of the ordinary. It's really hard for me not to constantly apologize in public for my child's behavior. I'm trying to stop. Recently a shopping experience had me yelling at a disgruntled old lady, "He's just a CHILD!" Probably not the most appropriate response either! LOL

  4. That is so hard for you and your son. One of my young nephews is very passionate and feels things really strongly. As a consequence he can have some outbursts that look like angry defiance. It is not, he is just feeling something really strongly and doesn't have the emotional maturity at his age to express those feelings. His mom finds it helpful to explain this side of his personality to other parents and explains how to deal with the outburst, so it doesn't escalate. It seems to help.

  5. A lot of us struggle. Non-punitive parenting mightn't get "quick" results, but ultimately he'll be far more likeable as a result. You're modelling kindness and consideration for others which seems the best way to go rather than forcing him to be someone he isn't, or at least not yet. We just need to survive in the meantime.

  6. Aww, Monko, I wish your whole family could fly over here and hang out with Prickly Family and be exuberant with us! (You've seen my living room obstacle course.) I'm also going through the rigamarole with my 4.5-yo's pre-K teacher, and I know how it makes you doubt yourself as a mother. I'm with ya. Solidarity!

  7. I also have these feelings!!! It is hard not to feel judged. My daughter is passionate and bossy, excited and loud, and eager as well as pushy. I feel that people who are good with children understand her, but some find her overwhelming. It is a hard balance, but your goblin was placed in your family because you are the perfect parents for him and can understand him better than anyone else!!
    PS Thanks for featuring my post :).

  8. I'm hearing you! Do you know what this makes me feel though. I turn it back on myself and really think about giving other parents the benefit of the doubt and not judging them or their children, not assuming I know a situation or a child, not pigeon holing them because of what I see.
    And I also try to stop myself from calling my own second born, 'a monkey' 'mischief maker' etc too often as I don't want her to associate these terms with herself...

    Hugs to you on this one... I think all parents feel like this to some extent at one time or another.

  9. Thought I left a comment but must have gone astray. I can relate too, as I think at a lot of people would. It would be a shame if he felt he needed to change himself to be worthy of friendship. I know you already model kindness and consideration so what else can you really do apart from start forcing, which might work shorts-term but for the wrong reasons. I can be one of the judgmental parents sometimes, although I hide it, and am working on not being judgmental. People never see the full picture. Thanks for reminding us. And hang in there.

  10. I think it's really unfortunate that adults are so quick to label children. Your son sounds like a lively boy to me, just like any other kid his age. If people have problems with children being themselves, you really don't need to spare a thought for them. At the same time, I do understand that it hurts when someone points out at your child (however unfair) and the best thing you can do is make sure their self-esteem never falls too low.


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