I can’t do this, I’m bad …
I’m a homeschooling mom with a 7 years old boy.
Today is a really rough day for me as my son has few episodes of melt down, telling me that “I can’t do this…”, “I tried, but I can’t …”, “I’m bad…”. This is definitely not a good start when you have to deal with negative emotions the whole day.
The story began in the morning when he got up from the bed, he straightaway said to me (while I was still sleeping) that he wanted to watch the “Mr. Men” YouTube video. He went out straight to the hall and started to turn on the TV. However, he was struggling to spell “Mr. Men” and he gets very upset. His voice started to change and tears almost falling as he couldn’t spell the word “Mr. Men”. Since he wanted to watch the video very badly, he came to me and asked me about the spelling. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if it was “Man” or “Men”. So I told him to try “M”, “E”, “N” since he told me he got the word “Mr” already.
In my mind, I was thinking how difficult can it be as it involves only 5 letters. Just trial and error, I’m sure he could get it. Seriously, this will be difficult for someone who struggles with language. And worst, I’m half awake and wasn’t in my “thinking” brain. So, I was really mad and I told him to get to another topic before coming back to Mr. Men. Unwillingly, he was watching his other favourite YouTube videos. I alerted him when it’s closed to 30 minutes as I’m limiting his screen time.
In the late morning, he feels bored and started to look into the resource cabinet. He was happy to find his favourite water balloons. I will usually help him fill up the balloon with water and tie a knot. Suddenly, he wanted to learn how to tie a knot and it is not easy especially you have to deal with balloon filled with water and stretching the balloon and tie a knot at the same time making sure that it doesn’t burst. Of course he struggled and having another melt down.
I was trying to calm myself down and at the same time think of ways to deal with his emotions. If I’m facing him, I know I will tell him off like this morning’s episode. But I want to deal with this situation more effectively. So, I went to wash my car and car porch area. When I turn around, I saw a very very sad child standing at the door, looking at me and tell me that he’s feeling sad with tears dropping from his face. This really scares me since I have a greater awareness and understanding on how my emotions impacted my child. I panicked. I quickly get him to change since he wet himself with water balloon and prepare lunch.
After lunch, he was trying out few activities like fossil excavation and fixing the 3D puzzle of a submarine. All these activities used to be fun to him and today, he seems to struggle for various reasons. Worse of all, he’s blaming on the quality of the products and others…
In the evening, I brought him to the park since he wanted to play with a new friend he met yesterday. He was very disappointed when his new friend was not there. He picked up on small issues and make a big fuss with other children at the park. I can smell disaster is going to happen as I suspected that he is tired by looking at his reflexes and the things that he does for the day.
After that I suggested to him that probably we go back and rest early so that we can have more energy to have a play date the next day (in a very stern voice).
For the whole day, I was not feeling very good especially my son came to me all the things that he can’t do and blaming others. When I was in my primary school age years, my grandma will tell me to figure things out on my own as she doesn’t have the capability to help me. And I was forced to be independent from then on.
Upon reflection, I was really harsh on my son as I want him to be independent, to be able to solve problems by himself. And also to have a growth mindset. However, I failed to look at his emotional needs as well as his physical needs. This has caused so much of unhappy events one after another between me and my son.
I believe I need to practice breathing and ground myself. This is what I’ve learned from the recent boot camp about raising child’s EQ. The child trauma expert Jane Evans from UK and Asian Premier Parenting Coach Queenie Tan have helped me to be more aware of own anxiety and how it affects my child.
I truly believe that allowing our child the space to express his/her feelings is so important. I want my child to be able to come to me anytime – whether he’s happy or sad. I wish to be the pillar of support to him in his life. That’s my aim as a mom.