I have been struggling with my three year old son. He was a mess last week and I had to take a step back and ask “why?” It is easier and more appealing to say “He’s three!” and move on, but that won’t help me improve my parenting or learn more about my little guy’s needs. So here I am reflecting and looking to Maria Montessori for guidance.
What was different last week?
I was sick at the beginning of the week and stressed about a work deadline at the end of the week. During my illness I was in bed and lacked after school engagement with my kids. Later that week my stress caused me to retreat to my adult pacifier (aka my phone and the internet) again lacking genuine engagement with my kids. I was quick to punish without connection and would do things like pack the kids’ lunches because I was stressed and in a hurry.
Maria has reminded me:
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
And yet my stress was taking that independence and success away from him. I was pushing my stress onto him.
The child who seeks to be heard and is wounded by rejection often withdraws in a far more dangerous fashion than mere submission.
His “No”, his choices, his fits were all signs to me that I wasn’t hearing him. My reaction was to continue to retreat and the cycle continued. It was not until Sunday that I realized I was making it worse and put my adult issues aside to engage him. We went to church, shopped for Valentine’s, and had a fabulous (technology free) family lunch.
My sweet boy is back and so is his mom! Thanks Maria.