Parenting a “difficult” child

The looks, the stares, the words of “advice” from strangers, it all gets to be a bit overwhelming sometimes.  We have no official diagnosis, other than that Little Man has a speech delay, but let’s just say he is “difficult.”  He has two volumes, loud and louder.  His hugs are hard, his cuddling harder, and when he comes up to kiss you he may just head-butt you in the face instead.  He hates the word, “no” and routinely throws himself on the floor if you say it.  While out in public we have meltdowns, the kind that make everyone around you stop and gawk.  He throws food from the shopping cart, we have clean ups wherever we go.  Parenting Little Man is hard.  

I love this little guy with all of me, but sometimes being his mommy is exhausting.  I go to bed tired and I wake up wondering if today will be a “good” day or a “difficult” day.  There is no reason that he “should” act this way, other than that he had a rough start.  We don’t know a lot about his past.  He’s been with us for 10 months, but the first two years of his life are a blur written on paper and who knows what if any of that is correct.  We have stories of his beginning, but I wasn’t there, I don’t know what it was actually like.  

So, we just love.  We just love him through it.  Its hard sometimes to get the energy to leave the house.  What will happen this time?  Will we have to leave in a hurry?  What if he hurts someone?  The lady at the store when seeing Little Man bite me told me to, “bite him back.”  I was in such a hurry, but feeling the need to educate said, “I can’t… he is my foster son.”  “Oh,” she said and gave me that look that says she has no idea what that even means.  The doctor that told me to just be “firmer” with him really had no clue.  Firmer, doesn’t always work.  Sometimes we have to just go with the flow and try our best to calm him down.  Then, there are the times when there is no calming him down.  He’s screaming, he’s on the floor and everyone is looking at me with those eyes that say, “do something!”  

I’m trying my best.  I’m using every once of energy I have to parent this little guy that had a rough start.  All I need is a little patience, a little kindness, a little understanding.  

Thank you to the friends who still sit with me at Wednesday night church and eat with me like throwing food and spitting drink is normal.  Thank you to the nursery workers who are always joyfully excited to see Little Man and never show an ounce of dread.  Thank you to the man who holds the door when he sees me carrying two babies, one of them squirming to get away.  Thank you to my older children who patiently wait for mommy to finish taking care of Little Man before asking for their bedtime story.  Thank you!  You are all wonderful and I love you for it!  Thank you!  


3 thoughts on “Parenting a “difficult” child

  1. This truly is one of the more difficult parts of fostering. What works with “normal” kids just doesn’t work with these kids. Well-meaning advice from family, friends and total strangers gets frustrating. I even had regular arguments with my husband on this very topic. But foster babies ARE different. You’re doing a great job. Keep your chin up!

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