I have one boy who craves respect.
And we’ve been on a collision course lately. Probably because I also crave respect. It’s what makes me feel heard and valued and loved.
My four-year-old has a smart little mouth. As in lots of back talk. And he is also actually very smart. He hears things. He repeats things. He understands things, and what he doesn’t understand, he tries to understand. He figures it out. He loves information.
One day last week he had been going and talking back and just pushing me. And it ended in me blowing up, and his consequence was going to bed without a bedtime book.
In some of our conversations, I was telling him what he had done wrong and why he was being punished, and he was crying and talking over me and I heard him say, “Just let me talk!”
That night after we put him to bed, I went to my room, and collapsed on the floor with my head on the bed and begged the Lord for forgiveness for yelling at Hudson. I cried and I begged God to guide me as I raise one of His children. I begged for patience and for it to be clear how I should teach and guide him. How can I effectively pour into him and mold him? We’re so much alike and we butt heads so often.
And I very clearly heard him tell me that Hudson just needs respect. I heard Hudson’s little voice saying, “Just let me talk!” Hear me, Mom. You can understand me if you’ll just listen. He wants validation. (I wonder where he gets that.)
Letting him cry. Letting him vent. Letting him tell me what hurt his feelings and what disappointed him. Why he’s upset to be leaving the party or leaving the zoo. What he loved about it. And validating those feelings and helping him cope.
(It’s true that he has to earn respect, but he responds well when he is respected and validated.)
Then I have Hayes, who is a social butterfly. Hayes wants interaction and wants to spend quality time with us. He wants to play, wants to burn his energy. He wants the warm fuzzies and the sweet moments. If we’ve learned anything through all of his speech therapy and occupational therapy sessions, it’s that he craves social interaction.
If you ask Hayes for a hug, he’ll drop what he’s doing to give you a huge hug and rest all of his weight on you. He loves feeling loved and wants to make others feel loved. And his behavior reflects whether or not he’s feeling that connection.
It seems that every year or so I have to go through a parenting reevaluation where I am forced to take a long hard look in the mirror and a long hard look at who my kids are becoming. Who are they and what do they individually need from me?
Anyone else experiencing anything similar?