ANTISOCIAL AT FOUR

I’m feeling rather upset at the moment. I’m eating a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Puffs, that’s how emotional I’m feeling.

Today was the last day of kinder, and parents were invited into the playground to watch the children sing Christmas carols. My four-year-old boy was the only child who couldn’t sit on the ground, continually moving about and being disruptive. At one point, he crowded and poked another boy, causing the poor child to cry. I had to take him away from the group and seat him elsewhere. Mortification doesn’t properly describe how I felt at being the parent of THAT kid. It really didn’t help that every other parent was filming my son’s poor behaviour and my embarrassment.

After the performance, the kinder teacher gave me feedback on my son. This was the first time I had stepped into kinder due to pandemic lockdown and restrictions. It was also the first time kinder has been able to give me any kind of feedback.

“You might want to keep an eye on his behaviour next year.”

“He’s having problems with making social connections.”

“He has poked and shoved kids then run away. He has toppled over a child’s tower and run away. He takes toys from other kids when they are playing with them.”

I attempted making excuses for his antisocial behaviour; the pandemic and strict lockdown, his negative behaviour in seeking his sister’s attention. In my heart, I couldn’t commit to any of these possible excuses, even if they were true. It just felt lame. I knew he had displayed aggressive and troubling behaviour but I had thought it was confined to home. I push aside that niggling feeling to the back of my mind because I didn’t want to deal with it. I hoped he’d outgrow this stage. How naïve was I?

Where did I go wrong? Have I babied him too much? Is his behaviour a result of my poor discipline and lack of follow-through? Is it too much screen time? Should I have forced the issue with vegetables?

My husband pish-poshed my idea of seeking help with a therapist. Why not get an expert’s opinion? But he seems to think raising the issue on our next maternal health check with the nurse is enough. He wants us to work on our son’s antisocial behaviour through how we parent. I will work on getting our son to become more independent and following through when I discipline. My husband will re-iterate the importance of positive behaviour and together we will cut screen time.

I feel emotionally wrecked and so disappointed. I can’t help but feel as though my son’s behaviour is reflective of my parenting. It honestly makes me feel like a failure of a parent.

I’m unsure how things will pan out but I pray that our son will get better at making positive social connections. It would break my heart to see my cheeky little boy end up friendless and an outlier in society.

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