Ignorance Is Not Bliss

The boy’s behaviour over the last few days has left a lot to be desired; and where the boy goes, the girl is sure to follow.  But before I start off on the rant that is sure to follow, I will say I realise that our gardening exploits are not the most entertaining for the children.  Any free time we have, decent weather allowing, is spent out digging the patch in an effort to get it done by the end of the month – the kids aren’t allowed up on the patch due to the amount of rubbish and glass we’re finding in there and, if I’m being honest, because they just trample all the dug ground, and get under my feet.  However before they get too much pity for the levels of neglect we are inflicting on them, I would like to remind everyone of the fact that they do have a barn stashed full of colouring books, crayons, a pop up tent we’ve never been able to pop down, more scooters than we have family members, bikes, footballs, tennis sets and, as if that isn’t enough, I’ve also said they can do chalk pictures on the garden and barn walls, and let us not forget the trampoline and pirate ship.  They are not short of things to entertain themselves with.

However, they don’t want to entertain themselves.  They want us to be their fools, and caper madly about, bowing and scraping to their every whim.  Maybe I am being unreasonable, expecting an almost 3 and 4 year old to amuse themselves, and each other, with their cornucopia of toys, but I’m not wholly convinced.  But I digress, this isn’t the behaviour of which I speak, the current thorn in my side is being totally and utterly ignored, or told “no” (or the girl’s version: “I mar”, which means “I am” – the usual response when I tell her not to do something).  It doesn’t help that they have now also been told not to go on the patch I had handed over to them, as they’ve trampled it so much it is like solid rock, making it totally waterlogged when the rain falls, and I want to get the flowering plants in soon, and so am trying to prevent it deteriorating further.

So anyway, the boy just ignores me; anything I tell him not to do, he seems to take as a challenge, to see just how quickly he can hop to it and do.  This is bad enough, but he is now also ignoring me when our friends are around, or worse, ignoring them when they start telling him not to do something.  He managed to hit a particularly high point of ignorant little so and so yesterday, when he refused to listen to our friend explaining why he couldn’t help out with the new pony, because of his poor behaviour, and then shut her in the stable.  Thankfully, he did let her out before I got there.  And even threats of not being allowed to see the new lambs and calves if he didn’t listen, didn’t seem to have any effect.  And I think this is really my problem, there seems to be nothing I can do, or threaten him with, that really bothers him.  I realise this all looks like we’re right negative nellies, but we do reward good behaviour, we have behaviour charts and small prizes at the end of the week for doing well, but not getting one seems more a badge of honour than the thought of delving through whatever tat we’ve picked up for pennies.

J and I talk about his behaviour a lot, and we often return to the subject of adoption and maybe the fact he is pushing boundaries so, so, so far, is because of that.  And if you read anything about adopted children and attachment theories, then there is a lot written about how adopted children will really test those boundaries, and their parents’ patience.  However, the boy was only 6 months old when he came to us, he had only been with one foster family before us, and was with them from birth.  I’m not saying that this won’t have had an impact, but I can’t just write off what he does with an “Oh well, he’s adopted”.  I think it’s just him, I think he is a very smart little boy, who gets very frustrated when he doesn’t get his own way, as he is very independent spirited; he is (almost) 4 going on 15.  I have heard “The girl and I can do what WE want” more times than I care to mention, to which, I always try to explain that no, in fact, they can’t, because they are very young children.  But this is met with a stare out of the window, or off into the distance, and a smirk.  And then he runs off, to ignore me some more.

My mother always particularly enjoys asking after the boy’s behaviour, probably because she is an avid Take A Break reader; a magazine full of awful stories, about how someone has been beaten / murdered / otherwise abused by a family member or close friend, accompanied by a sad face photo, and lots of puzzles.  I think, in her head, she is waiting for us to be that cover story – in fact, during the adoption process, she regaled me with many a tale of an adoption gone wrong that she’d read about, how the child eventually murdered or maimed the parent.  She’s probably already started writing our sorry story.  Although saying that, she totally dotes on both the kids and is next to useless when it comes to disciplining them, as she just ends up laughing at them whilst I stride off to the kitchen to fume (to be fair, she’s probably just thinking “Ha, your turn!” as I know I will be when / if the kids ever have children).

Plans for the weekend ahead are to get out and carry on working on the garden, I am girding my loins for the upcoming ignorance-fest with a couple of glasses of wine (so glad I wasn’t foolish enough to go totally sober for Lent).  But perhaps a miracle will happen, and I won’t be shrieking my head off like a fish hawker’s wife, and ranting to the chickens about how I like them much more than children….perhaps.

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3 thoughts on “Ignorance Is Not Bliss

  1. plot34 says:

    I feel your frustration. My eldest started at 9 and carried on until he was 17 (you probably didn’t need to know that bit!) I have no idea why he suddenly decided to ignore/defy and still at 23, he is unable to explain it. 99% of the time, I responded as you have outlined. BUT, when I stopped, blinked, breathed out the frustration and reminded myself that I teach conflict resolution for a living, then I made progress. On those rare occasions, I stopped the back and forth and asked him how he would do that, or what was important about x or y (and of course it’s only useful when their actions aren’t likely to kill and maim them). If you haven’t already, google positive psychology. And when all else fails, go and do some digging:)

    Liked by 1 person

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