When ‘no’ is the hardest word

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ollie was discharged from hospital last Monday and this last week has been a blur of feeds, tidying the house, catching up with family and friends, school pick ups and drop offs and of course, trying to spend quality time with Aidan. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement and I cannot promise that this blog post will be grammatically correct or even coherent. However, the hardest thing about the last week has not been my lack of time or sleep, it’s been the challenges of dealing with Aidan’s growing discipline issues.

One of the things Anthony and I have always agreed upon was that no matter how sick Aidan was we would always ensure he was well behaved. Having met many sick and terminally ill children over the years we have come face to face with little terrors who have never heard the word no and we vowed we would never let our child behave like that. The reality however, has been a little different.

Discipline has been one of the most challenging aspects of Aidan’s illness. No parent likes to upset or chastise their child but, for me, I can’t get past the fact that Aidan could develop an infection and die suddenly and if that were to happen at a time when he was upset with me then I would never forgive myself. I also believe that there are so many things Aidan is forced to do against his will like taking his medications, getting his dressing changed and being subjected to countless medical procedures that I tend to overlook it when he leaves his toys lying around. Then there’s the argument that when Aidan refuses to get his nappy changed, it is actually his way of asserting authority in a world where he has little control over what happens to him. Plus he’s developmentally three so it’s normal for children to act out at this age. And as much as I hate to admit it, there are also times when I let his behaviour slide because I’m too tired and emotionally drained to deal with the drama of a tantrum. As you can see there are many and varied excuses (admittedly not all valid) for why I have taken a soft approach to discipline.

It comes as no surprise then that Aidan’s behaviour is starting to get out of control. It’s been a heartbreaking week watching Aidan struggle with having to wait while mummy and daddy tend to Ollie and being bombarded with a whole new set of rules at school. He’s exhausted from starting school, adjusting to having a new brother and is suddenly being told ‘no’ wherever he turns. There have been many tears (not just from Aidan) and a mix of both guilt and embarrassment from my end. There’s a part of me that wants to pick him up, cuddle him and tell him that he never has to abide by another rule again but I know that’s not at all helpful to Aidan in the long run. So while Aidan is starting to learn his ABCs I’m learning how to be a stricter mum.


6 thoughts on “When ‘no’ is the hardest word

  1. Am I terrible that I laughed a little at Aidan chucking tantrums?? You have missed out on some of the ‘regular’ aspects of parenting, yet you get the tantrums still! So unfair lol.

  2. I totally get where your coming from and sometimes it is just easier to give in at the time. It is a lot of change for a little guy all at once, new shool and new baby, no wonder he is acting out. Last year I was facing similar problems with Sebastian and through his school did a Triple P parenting course that was especially tailored for kids with additional needs. With all you have on your plate you probably don’t have time for it at the moment but I would be happy to share any of the knowledge and resources I received through the course.

    • Thanks Rose-Marie, I remember reading about the Triple P course some years ago. I will definitely look into it, and if I can’t find one that is running at a suitable time, I will give you a call. I definitely have a lot to learn about parenting.

  3. I admire your thoughtfulness as you ponder raising your children. The fact that you are thinking about these things tells me that you are doing just fine. Most parents don’t take a step away from their situation to asses what they might could do better. Aidan couldn’t hope for a better Mom and Dad. Do your best, and then be satisfied with those efforts. Your instincts will trump any pop-psych strategies, anyway. And don’t ever be sorry that you’ve extended mercy instead of justice. Always rooting for your family. With love. — Aaron

  4. Pingback: When push comes to shove…it’s time to act on discipline | Parenting in Limbo

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