Pros of raising a sensitive/intuitive/crystal child:
- Intriguing conversations
- Enjoyment of their creative expression
- Live-in Zen master
- Help with choosing lottery numbers (not really – I wish!)
Cons of raising a sensitive/intuitive/crystal child:
- Sharing your PMS
- Power struggles, power struggles, power struggles
(As if on cue, my "napping" boy just popped out of his room for the nth time today, this time naked and requesting help turning off the bathroom light. What the …??)
I know better than to enter into power struggles with my son. I taught elementary school for ten years, and I am skilled at averting and diverting power struggles. But for some reason, against my better judgment and despite my proven skills in this area, Lucas and I are engaged in a battle of wills daily. Daily and throughout each and every day!
Yes, he's three and it's to be expected. Yes, I know he's exploring his power and independence. Yes, I know he's pushing boundaries to see where the absolute limits are to be found.
With sensitive children, those boundaries have to be rock solid and they have to make absolute reasonable sense all the time, otherwise they find loopholes. I'm thinking that maybe I'm just not smart enough to stay ahead of him. Whenever I think a boundary is solid, he finds ways to make it unreasonable to maintain it.
The most common fights are naps and bed time – no surprises there, I'm sure. He goes down for both willingly and serenely. But then he pops up eleventy-billion times, sucking away my few, tiny remnants of personal time like a Remora.
(This interruption was by a naked boy carrying a small pumpkin and holding a shark puppet in his teeth. I don't think he's going to nap today.)
"I have to pee," he'll say, ten minutes after I put him to bed. Well, go pee, and then go back to bed. (Not reasonable to keep him in his bed when he has to pee, right?)
"I have to poop," five minutes later. Okay, go poop, and then get back in bed. (On the off chance he isn't pretending, it's not reasonable to keep him in his bed. On the occasions I've accompanied him to the bathroom to check, I've discovered this one is usually a stalling lie.)
If I let down my guard and actually go to the living room to meditate, I invariably hear some scuffle and return to find my office in disarray, or his clothes out of his drawers, or all the lights on. If I go into my adjacent office to write, he pops in with inane requests or questions every five minutes. "Can you lay my blanket flat?" "Can you flip my pillow for me?" "Are you going to meditate after you do your writing?"
The other night, this went on until 10pm – two hours past his bedtime!
This is painful to admit. I want to be better than this. In sharing it with you, though, I hope you'll either a) have some insight that will help, or b) at least not feel like you're the only one struggling.
I know I was losing it for a while. I would get mad and show my frustration, and I think he was feeding off of my energy, even though it was negative. So for the past week, I've tried a new approach. I've been trying to redirect him with no drama, frustration or emotion. When he gets up, I simply put him back in bed, a neutral expression on my face, and I don't engage. The Super Nanny would be proud.
Only … it's not working. I expected his curiosity to drive him to push me until I broke for, oh - maybe the first couple of days, but we're on day six now, and he's still pushing. This kid has stamina like you wouldn't believe!
My husband tends to want to raise his voice and pull the authoritarian card with him. "LUCAS, YOU STAY IN YOUR BED NOW OR I'M TURNING OFF ALL THE LIGHTS AND CLOSING YOUR DOOR!" Just an FYI, crystal children won't tolerate "because I'm the boss of you" as a good enough reason to respect a boundary. Rule by force or fear doesn't work. Try that approach and watch the gates of Hell open up and let loose in your home, or else prepare for the ice treatment from your child. We've seen both. Toby's wondering why he's getting the cold shoulder from Lucas these days. No mystery, there.
So… 774 words later, I have nothing to share with you other than I think my hair is falling out from the stress of trying to be a good, strong mom to this powerful kid.
I'd love to hear from you about how you're handling these situations in your home.