I am like any other mom in that it drives me crazy how you can blink and your kids are no longer babies. They grow up way to fast! But when your ten year old can turn on the tears or lose their their temper like a three year old and they see nothing wrong with it, there is an issue.
I have spoken to other parents and it has been confirmed, this is a common phenomenon with a select group of kids. These kids are either the only child or the youngest and they do not seem to grow up.
Ok, obviously they do grow up some.
They learn new skills
They start enjoying toys and games for older kids.
They are even
constantly trying to prove that they are just as good as other kids.
But they do not manage their emotions and do not express them the way other kids do. This puts them in a predicament. Suddenly, all their work to prove they are a big kid is gone as the other kids start looking at them like they are little again. This gets the temper going and the situation escalates quickly
This is my youngest to a T. My youngest will be ten next month and this summer his dad and I have decided to really buckle down and help him learn to manage his emotions. The little-little behavior tends to be centered on their inability to manage their emotions. As difficult as this summer has been for my little man, as a teenager, this will become extremely difficult if we do not help him now. I want to help him grow into the young man I know that he is but he has to move beyond his wanting to stay the “baby”.
A friend of mine has an only child about his age and struggles with the same issues.
All out yelling fits with other kids
Overwhelming grief when things do not go the way they think it should
The need to run to mommy or daddy and cry
She struggles with these issues in her kid as often as I do with mine.
Do not get me wrong, we encourage him to express himself. As someone who learned at an early age to bottle my emotions, I know exactly how detrimental it can be to tell a boy to “man up and stop crying.” This is not what we are doing. As parents we are called to teach and guide our children and when it comes to emotions, this is an extremely important task. When it comes to an only child or the youngest, this is an extremely difficult task.
It can be done.
Our tone sets the tone
The most important thing we have realized is that our tone, our control of our emotions, directly effects his ability to control his. If we lose our patience because he is screaming and yelling at his brother again, then he will not calm down and hear us. If we raise our voice to tell him to stop crying and speak normally …. obviously we are not setting a good example. We have to stay calm so he can become calm.
When we decided to really focus on helping our little man with his emotions this summer, we sat down and talked to each other first, made sure we were on the same page, and then we sat down and talked with our little man. We explained how he was becoming a young man, pointed out how he was able to do more and have more freedom in the neighborhood because he was getting bigger. Then we explained how he was speaking and treating others was not matching up with his age. We explained how we wanted to help him learn to keep his cool and to verbalize how he felt in a better way.
I know how much we all despise repeating ourselves. I have straight up refused to repeat myself for a full week after days of having to do so three or four times. I even told the kids to guess because I wasn’t going to repeat myself. . . You have to repeat yourself to the little to make sure they remember to calm down. My little man has learned the words “big boy voice” is a short reminder to dry his eyes, take a breath, watch his tone, and to tell me what is going on inside him without whining. Big boy voice is much easier to say than to walk him through all that every time.
This is not something that will be resolved over night. We have worked all summer and while there have been some great improvements, we have a ways to go still. Just now he came down to cry that his sister wasn’t helping him with his math.
Take a breath little man. It is not sissy’s job, that is my job. Sit down and tell me what is wrong. He started to whine. I reminded him “in your big boy voice.”He took a second then told me what was frustrating him about his math.
This is a big improvement from the frowny face, tears streaming, whining fit I use to get but we still have more we can help him with. He still goes from talking normally to yelling over top of his brother and stomping his foot. We have to stick it through with him. We will not just give him the tools and let him figure it out. We walk through this with him, remind him and do not let even a little fit go without being addressed.
An only child or the youngest child is a child all of their own. A mysterious creature that does things their own way often. I love my little man and I even love how expressive he is. He feels things deeply. As much as I don’t want him to grow up, we can’t keep them little forever. We teach them, help them practice and then watch them succeed beyond our wildest dreams.
Even the kiddos who like to be little and test your patience <3
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is home schooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have down time, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.