It appears that not much is sinking into that head of my 6 year old lately. What is it I am doing incorrectly? Are we parenting him wrong? Is it the society that is influencing him to behave this way? WHAT?
It’s not that he’s a bad kid. He’s a great kid. But he has these issues with occasional aggression that is just so unattractive. And annoying.
I had a situation happen recently where he pushed a 4 year old girl to get his soccer ball back, on the school grounds nonetheless. It wasn’t quite as aggressive as the last time he did it to his sister, but I lost it. Especially after he wouldn’t apologize to her.
Consequences could be removing something he values, or not bringing his beloved ball to school at pickup time, but frankly, I don’t think it’ll work long term.
I was at my wits’ end.
And Sonja has been so incredibly argumentative I am beginning to think she will become a lawyer.
Every single thing I say to her is met with challenge.
Anyway, leaving her aside for the moment, this morning I woke up with an epiphany.
I’m going to use his love of hockey to my advantage. Not by taking away the privilege of playing hockey (which I will do if he commits a serious crime, and he knows what that crime is), but by making him understand in a deep and profound way. Somehow.
Anyway this is what I said to him:
Me: What happens when someone steals your puck during hockey?
He: I go get it back.
Me: How do you do that?
He: I skate after the guy and use my stick to try and get the puck back.
Me: Do you push the guy down for stealing your puck?
He: (looking incredulous) NO.
Me: Why not?
He: The coach would take me off the ice.
He: Yes, aggressive behaviour is not tolerated in hockey. There is no contact.
Me: So, how come you push a 4 year old Kindergartener when she ran after the ball?
He: … (I see some wheels turning…)
Me: Taking the ball away from you didn’t please you. You were very mad at me. I did the same thing as your coach would have done, yet you are mad at me.
Me: Think about this a little bit. It’s not so different from hockey. The ball will not come to the school for the remainder of the week. We can try again next week, see how things work out.
On the one hand it is a stupid thing to do, taking the ball away. A great way to get him to decompress after school is to run and play soccer with his friends on the field. There are several parents who stick around with their kids and let them work out their pent-up energy. It breaks my heart to not be able to do this in the mostly generous weather we’re still having, but I just can’t continue to watch this. I have these visions of him pushing a girl in a couple year’s time and having a parent slap us with a harassment suit or something…it could happen.
For an otherwise nice, friendly, well-rounded, athletic and mostly pleasant boy with many friends, these on-again-off-again phases of aggression are causing me some major grief.
So I will encourage other ways to spend energy. On a non-activity night we can simply walk home, and leave the car behind. It’s five blocks and normally he prefers to walk…must make more of an effort to be proactive in my dinner prep to be able to continue to do this. We could also stay at school and use the field and adventure playground to play for a while…why does it have to be soccer? He can play tag with his friends, or whatever.
I’ll find a way. It’ll be fine.