On Parenting A Boy

This whole mothering a boy thing can be a bit perplexing. Mr 6 has pretty much always been a mama’s boy. He has been gentle, sensitive, caring. I’m not sure if it’s his nature, our nurture, being an only child, or a combination of all those things that have made him this way.

We I fraught over sending him to school last year because he is born on the cut off date. I was worried that he was too young emotionally to handle school and all that comes with it. I needn’t have worried, because he did just fine.

Then I worried about the jump to grade 1 – a few people, teachers included, had told me how big a jump it was from prep to grade 1. Half way through the year, the teacher said he was doing really well, was ahead of where he needed to be and on track to be well ahead by the end of the school year.

Then it happened. The first pink slip to come home. A pink slip is a detention notice that gets sent home to the parents. To make matters worse, his detention was for punching another child. In the stomach. My son, who for 6 years had been so kind and gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly, had been physically violent at school.

I flew a little bit off the handle. I took privileges away. I told him how disappointed I was in him. I made a big huge massive deal about it. After talking to the teacher, I felt a bit better. She said she knew it was out of character for him, and that she wasn’t going to dwell on it. She said he would serve his detention and she was sure that would be the end of it. She said she would focus on the positives and positive reinforcement, he responds well to that. I was so grateful he had such a great teacher.

The next week another pink slip came home. Again for punching. This time he had punched a different child in the “arm, neck and head.” This time, both the teacher and I were in tears. Both disappointed. Both concerned about what was going on with this little man of ours. This time detention was two days in a row. But he still didn’t seem to be grasping how serious punching at school was. I tried to explain that if mummy or daddy went out in the street and punched someone the police would come and take us to jail. It started to sink in, I think.

In the following two weeks, he got the pick of the prize box (reward system in class) three times, a “Fantastic!” arm band for great work in maths, and two gold cards – one for trying really hard with his writing and one that made me more proud than any math, writing or reading award ever could. His second gold card was “for being a fabulous friend to Piper.” One of his classmates was sad because her dad was in hospital, and my son was the one who cheered her up.

How you can be so disappointed and unsure if you even know your child one minute, and prouder than a weight watchers client who just said no to cake the next, is one of the great wonders of parenting. That my son would punch two kids, two weeks apart surprised the pants of me. That he was kind, gentle and tender to a classmate in pain did not surprise me at all.

As he learns to navigate the school ground hierarchy and politics, we learn to navigate parenting a boy who is on his own roller-coaster of emotions and hormones. Parenting a boy is one of the more perplexing things I’ve ever done. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.


23 thoughts on “On Parenting A Boy

  1. So strange that he was out of character and punched.. did he tell you what provoked him to do that? Parenting is such a strange thing but you’re right, I won’t have it any other way. Just as our kids are learning about life, so are we.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • He had a bunch of different excuses, none of which made sense, so I think he honestly didn’t know why he did it. There was another, smaller incident, this week. We try to talk about it carefully, so he feels confident and safe talking about it. Will have to keep having conversations about it I think. x

  2. Boys are strange. I have four, and it feels weirder as I have sisters. They are just so foreign to me. I think boys have a real need to be active and aggressive. I think it is my job to channel this into more positive behaviours and in socially acceptable ways. This is where sport is so useful and teaching the boys how to be physical in ways that is safe for the other players and in line with the rules.
    After all my confusion of sons, having a daughter is such a kindness.

  3. Parenting can be such a strange journey some times. We think we know our kids really well, then they do something so totally out of character. He sounds like such a delightful boy, and you such a wonderful mummy, that I’m sure it was just a strange moment of “exploration”

    • Thanks Wendy, I hope you are right. I realise now he is at an age where we need to start having deeper conversations about situations he might encounter, etc. The whole thing has really opened my eyes. x

  4. Punky is only almost-3 and I am already beside myself. I am so not looking forward to when she gets to school, especially high school and teenager-dom if this terrible twos/threenager business is anything to go by! Glad to hear your boy has been doing well since the punching though, gives me hope! You’re doing an awesome job x
    (visting for #teamIBOT too)

    • Thanks Kylie. It is rough, for boys and girls for different reasons I think. I wonder if my mum remembers what it was like. Or if it is a distant memory (it has been a while!). We don’t ever stop worrying about them, do we? I don’t think the 2/3 year old stage is anything to go by though so don’t stress yet 🙂

  5. Firstly, hugs for you mummy cause it can be so hard isn’t it? My daughter is 9 now and has always been a really nice, sweet girl until she was caught stealing (a toy and a cupcake on 2 separate times) at school and I totally lost my cool and flew off the handle too. It really isn’t easy but I think kids just need a lot of guidance and love as they grow up and learn to navigate life. Parenting is perplexing indeed but like you, I wouldn’t have it any other way xx

  6. What a lovely little soul he is to cheer up his friend. I hope that you don’t have to go through any further punching incidents. I can’t imagine how upset you must have been. Something tells me that with the strong support behind him from you, your husband and his teacher, he’ll be just fine.

    • Thanks Renee. There was a smaller incident again this week. It didn’t involve punching, but he didn’t keep his hands to himself, either. So now we’ve had chats about touching other people. Ugh! Thank God for all the awesome parenting moments, otherwise I think we just wouldn’t cope!

  7. I feel your pain Aroha. My sweet little man was accused of kicking a girl by another parent. Broke my heart. But I’m thinking that it’s just part of their process, that we needn’t break down and assume our 6yr olds are off the rails. Even though I did just that hahaha. x

    • I felt better when it was just one incident, but to have another the following week, and then to have a smaller incident of him not keeping his hands to himself this week…it just makes me wonder what track we are heading down! Hopefully we are on to it and with conversations we can get him back on the right path. I’m sure it is part of the process, too, and as an only child he doesn’t have a sibling at home to go through that process with.

  8. It can be hard to make sense of some of the more impulsive things kids do. You don’t say if he offered a reason- but there doesn’t even have to be any. I’m sorry that happened and happy for all of you his lovelier qualities continue to shine through!

  9. Oh gosh, I dread all that stuff. My nephew has just changed schools mid-year prep. The school he was on the waitlist for rang on the Friday of the last day of holidays to say they had a space and he started the new school on the Monday. Watching the last few weeks of transition for him has been so painful. You’re doing a great job with N, change is hard on everyone and probably more so on our little ones who don’t yet understand how to process and deal with their emotions.

    • Oh your poor nephew 😦 I hope he settles in really soon. We moved house and got a puppy so there’s been a lot going on for him and maybe he is just as overwhelmed by it all as we are. Thanks Kyla x

  10. They definitely are odd little creatures. Maybe there was no rhyme or reason, and he was just wondering what would happen? I have no idea. I do hope this is the end of it for you all though. xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s