By the time that dreadful day was over, I had taken back all of the toys Wes had gotten for his Birthday (he hadn’t even earned back all of the toys I took back months ago) and we were having sobbing heart-to-hearts about how much we love each other. It was rough. As a matter of fact, it’s all still very rough and I’m now at the point that I can start crying at the drop of the hat, just thinking about my struggles with Wes. Basically, I just want someone to assure me that they had a child with anger issues who did NOT grow up and turn into a serial killer. Are any of you out there?
Since then our days have been better. The pain of that day is still vivid enough for both of us. He’ll yell something mean and then immediately apologize. He hasn’t hit since that day. He is having fits of frustration and anger still, but they involve a lot of random growls and hair pulls, but nothing major like last week. I’m constantly asking him if he needs to go punch pillows or hit his mattress, reminding him there are ways to release that frustration that don’t involved hurting other people mentally or physically.
And of course – he’s upped the Sweet Factor by a million. He is hugging me constantly and telling me he loves me. He’s even being really sweet to his sister and the animals. I can tell he’s trying and sometimes that’s what breaks my heart the most. He just doesn’t know how to cope with the anger and frustration in those single moments, but outside of those moments he loves the whole world.
But here’s where we come to the point of the entry where I ask your opinion/advice. I had put a moratorium on “rough-housing” between the kids back when hitting started becoming a problem because I worried that maybe he had gotten so used to being aggressive when they played, that he lost the ability to turn that off at other times. I’m still wondering the same thing. But, I also think a healthy dose of rough-housing is good for kids. My brother and I wrestled all of the time. Do I keep that off the books still? Or do you think maybe it’s okay as long as we define it well. Nikki LOVED it when they used to rough-house, but I just am not sure how to define when it’s “okay” to play like that and what are the limits? I’m pretty sure my brother and I punched the crap out of each other when we were having our wrestling sessions (which I always won because I was older and therefore bigger) but is there a way to teach a kid like Wes that play-wrestling is okay but he needs to be able to understand the line between that and the “bad” kind of hitting? I just don’t know. He’s newly 5, is he old enough to differentiate yet? I think my brother and I were older during our wrestling phase, but I don’t really recall.
So! Play rough-housing! Yay or Nay! What are your rules? What about if you’re trying to teach your child not to hit?