Okay, I’m headed to bed, I really am. In just a sec. Seriously.

I just wanted to write about what’s been on my mind all weekend. It’s HeroBoy.

He’s going through something, and I don’t know what. One day, I have a sweet, tender-hearted, fun-loving little boy. And the next, I’ve got a prickly grump who can’t stop causing trouble. He’s picking arguements with the other kids, just doing things to irritate them. Just being mean for mean’s sake. He’s being destructive for no reason, getting into stuff he shouldn’t. He is being sulky, grouchy, and has gotten in more trouble for talking back and having a bad attitude than he ever has before.

Wha?

I mean, it’s like the five years of good training we’ve done with him are nonexistant! Where is my child?? Of course, all these behaviors are unacceptable, and he’s being disciplined for them, but where is this coming from? Why would he suddenly think he’s going to be allowed to act this way? And what caused it? The first thing you do as a parent is ask yourself, what am I doing (or not doing) that is precipitating this behavior in my child? You run through the possible causes, contributing factors, etc. Am I being neglectful? Is he sick? Is this normal? You don’t want to make excuses for him, but you need to understand so you can change it.

I’ve noticed a small weed or two of this over the summer, and corrected it as it happens- but it’s like it all came to a head this past week. He was in Monroe visiting family and got sick, and couldn’t ride in the car, so he stayed with his grandmother while recovering. There was nothing unusual about any of that, and I could see how maybe he got a tad spoiled just from the circumstances, but that’s it. The rules weren’t different, he wasn’t indulged in bad behavior or anything. Nobody did anything differently from how I would have. But he just came back so out of sorts and unhappy, and can’t seem to get over it! Of course, I feel quite guilty over it. Maybe he’s too young to have gone away from me by himself? Maybe I have missed teaching him something he needs? Maybe I have been too busy with everybody else and he’s trying to get my attention? Maybe I haven’t hugged him enough lately?

That last one really makes me sad.

I suppose what is most worrisome to me about it though, is that even when we are correcting his actions, I can see a stubbornness in his heart. A resistance. He may submit with his hands, but there is still rebellion in his heart. And I’m not sure how to reach that. I am praying about it, and I am going to be diligently seeking ways this week to help him through it. I know this is one of those moments that is big, one that matters, one we’ve got to get right.

I know he’s going to get older, I know that he’ll change and maybe won’t be so open and affectionate (sad, but you expect boys to pull away a little more). But the one mistake I do not want to make is believing that this kind of thing is a “stage” that he’ll outgrow. I don’t want to excuse it because “he’s a boy” and that’s “just the way they are”. I feel like I would be failing him if I didn’t fight for him, if I didn’t help him through these moments and back to being a happy child.

I just never expected to have to do it this early. Moms of boys, can you relate? Czarina being my oldest, my only experience comes with a girl. And she has a natural desire to please, and a gentle spirit that just hasn’t required much more than encouragement. So, I’m in new territory here with HeroBoy. I need some advice.

With that desperate plea, I’m going to bed. Drown me in comments, people! I need ya!

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