Are you ready for milestones other than the typically cute ones? What would you do if your kid says "I hate you"
I was in between worlds, it seemed. I was neither here nor there when my sweet, compassionate 8-year-old uttered the words “I hate you, mummy”, for the first time.
The next minute or so, slowed down with Matrix-like effect. I was The One, seeing milliseconds being stretched before my eyes. I saw his lips quiver, his eyes narrowing in anger, his fists clenched tightly around his Darth Vader plushie, (talk about symbolism).
It was in this supposed extended time, that I managed to choose the Red or Blue pill. Do I retort, “I don’t care” or –insert something a lot nicer that perfect supermums would say-? (I’m looking at you, put-together mums of Instagram.)
I took a minute. I observed the conflicted look on his face and wondered how I must have looked like to him. I smiled.
You see, I know my kid loves me.
He would pull the blanket to cover me when he sees my feet exposed, “I don’t want you to be cold, mummy”.
He keeps the last of his favourite Hello Panda snacks for me, even when I don’t ask.
He would gently touch the areas of my stretch marks, which he had memorised to be a part of our journey to bring him into this world, and utter, “I’m sorry if I hurt you mummy, but thank you”.
My son did apologise for his words, saying he didn’t mean it and he was worried if he had hurt my feelings. I told him I wasn’t upset with him, but he will have to practice on his choice of words and expressions. I assured him that it is okay to feel angry, sad, disappointed etc. How he expresses himself and deals with his emotions, are what matter.
Milestones no mum is prepared for
A friend of mine, shared her kid’s important milestone recently – her toddler’s first steps. I saw pure joy in her eyes. She looked so proud and she should be!
In her words, “It’s a relief!”
You can hear the sound of ‘achievement unlocked’ each time your little ones cross a milestone.
An expecting mum gets tons of advice from books, magazines, mum groups, the internet in general (and sometimes the uninvited ‘aunties’) on the typical milestones they will encounter. The first crawl, first steps, first tooth falling out, first words etc.
These are the milestones that will make your heart turn to ‘mush’ and you beam with pride; sometimes to the extent of ‘spamming’ your Facebook and Instagram accounts with your babies’ photos.
There is another set of milestones though, the unexpected ones. The ones that feel as if your mushed heart, is being stamped on.
Here are some unexpected milestones
(once they leave kindergarten and enter the big league of primary school)
“I hate you, mummy/ daddy”
Parents, chill. Your kids don’t really hate you. Remember when they were babies and can’t talk yet, all they do is scream bloody murder?
Yup. Almost the same thing. This is their way to vent out their frustrations in the only way they know how due to the immense emotions they’re feeling.
According to Patty Wipfler, Program Director and Trainer at handinhandparenting – It’s a sign that our children trust us to let us know they’re overwhelmed. “It’s a feeling. It bothers them greatly. They’re telling you about it. And that’s actually good.”
Have a sit down when your kids are calmer and run through different expressions they can use when they’re going through intense emotions. Let them know that they can confide in you and vent no matter what.
“I want to go to the store/ playground with friends/ neighbours”
I still remember the days of going to the void deck with a group of cousins to get our gummy bear fix and pop rings, as if we were the baddest-ass bunch of pre-teens you’ll ever come across.
It somehow feels much more daunting when it comes to your own child, maybe your only child, asking for such freedom. Makes us wonder how our parents’ generation did it, or the generation before them where kids basically wreak havoc kampong-style.
For kids below 10, the smallest journeys are the biggest adventures to them. If your neighbourhood playground is within spying distance from your living room window, it’s still safer to make sure there is trusted chaperon. Keep an eye on your kids and their friends at all times. If not, it is best that you grant freedom when they are older.
“I want to go home from school on my own”
Oh nerves. This one got me.
My little baby excitedly asked me if I can stop fetching him from the school bus. But, how old is old enough for kids to be going home on their own?
According to Liat Hughes – author of Raising Kids: The Primary Years, it depends. It depends on where you live, the environment your kids have to go through during their journey and how sensible they are.
Any child younger than 10 should not be out on their own or too far away from home. It is advisable for you to get your child to get to this stage gradually, for his confidence (and your sanity).
Run through steps on what to do during scenarios such as an emergency or if he gets home and no one’s there. It builds up problem-solving skills and he will remain calm in independent situations as such.
“Don’t kiss me in public”
I’m not looking forward to this, at all. I live for my child’s kisses.
At this point, he is still waving and blowing flying kisses at me from inside his school bus as it pulls away and until I’m out of sight. So hopefully, it is still a while before the no-kiss warning happens.
After so much TLC given to your kids, it can be quite heart-wrenching if they push you away. Thing is though, they’re not pushing you away, but making space for themselves. They’re simply growing up.
As your children grow up, peer pressure may set in and certain behaviours like being affectionate in public may appear as being “baby-ish” to their social circle. If they want to avoid hugging/ kissing you in public and they provide reasons, respect their wishes.
Change it up – try hi-fives and fist bumps instead to connect with what is “in” with your child. More often than not, they are more willing to cooperate. (They may even think you’re cool)
“I’m lonely. I want a brother or sister”
Just when you feel like you can breathe again, somewhat, they ask for companions. Yknow, to expand their territory and outnumber you.
My son has repeatedly asked me to get him a baby brother/ sister. I’m pretty sure he wants the instant big kid brother to play with but he insists on a baby as well.
Him: “You can grow another one in your tummy, right? Not difficult, right?”
Me: “Yeah…. wow. No. Well.. *incomprehensible muttering*”
This is the age where he discovers that he can actually have 24/7 companionship from mini-humans at home and not have to wait for school or playdates. He hears his friends talk about their siblings, his cousins visiting in pairs; whilst he gets to play with the cat or wait for me to have quality time duelling lightsabers with him in the living room.
Being an only child myself, I feel for him. I bugged my parents for a baby brother too. Although, my mum claimed it lasted for the shortest while, with me saying if she brings back a baby, I’ll put him in the freezer.
Now all I have to do is wait for my kid to develop psychopathic tendencies just like that and hopefully this sibling craving will disappear.