As many of you know, I am currently pregnant with my third boy, who is going to be born approximately from the last week of January.
Since now, this has been one of my best pregnancies. I had the chance to be active and energetic during all these months behind me and I have been amused by the fact I didn’t actually feel so many hormonal roller coasters during all this period.
But…there is always a but…., during these last two months I am confronting with one of the most powerful challenges as a parent: the jealousy and the rage of my (soon to be) middle son.
He is now 5 years old and he has, by nature, a vigorous and stubborn temper.
As my belly is growing, so is growing his intolerance towards this new situation.
We usually cuddle each other very much, we share a natural physical love full of kisses, hugs and laughs. He likes my new growing body very much and he is amused by the bigger shape of my breast. But at the same time I see a certain look in his eyes, a look that makes me sometimes cry inside of me, a look that seems to show me as if he was really conscious about the fact that this body would be soon no longer his domain.
I remember when this happened to my first boy.
It has been a very hard period when we, as a family, began to understand deeply how life had been changing with the arrival of the second child. The first seemed happy and apparently kind with his new brother, but we knew how much he missed his time alone with us parents. And, beneath all, we missed it too.
My 5 years son is now aggressively pretending to behave as he was still a toddler, especially when we are at home, alone. He pretends with screams and cries my full attention during bedtime and he also proposed me to homeschool him instead of bringing him to childcare. He suffers to know me at home, now that I no longer go to work while he is at school and he is beginning to refuse his judo practice crying and adducing several pains all around his body.
He prefers now to stay at home instead of going out, even if he is scared by being left alone in a room and pretends to be led hand by hand with me if he needs to go to the bathroom or in his bedroom.
At the same time, when he is at school, he likes the companion of his most active schoolmates more than ever and in many public occasions, he has begun to front us parents,with a sort of bully-mode he had rarely showed before with such consistency.
Most of all, he is behaving aggressively with his older brother, beating him and insulting him, while doing the same with me when I refuse to be prone to his tantrums. Then, after been scolded by his father or by me for his unacceptable beating, his overreactions induce him to cry longer than usual and to feel offended and left out for his bad behavior. He calls himself “bad boy” or “wrong child” and he assures nobody won’t love him again and we will leave him alone in a trashcan at the side of the street.
Last evening, while I was lying with him in his bed, taking his hand in mine, he asked me what will happen to our bedtime ritual after the baby brother will be here. “Will this ever happen again, mom?” He asked me, looking deeply in my eyes.
I felt a crack in my heart while I was hastily reassuring him that everything will be ok and that mummy will be there for him whenever he will need me.
I told him I love him so much and that mom’s and dad’s love isn’t meant to be divided by the number of siblings in our house, but somehow, it has the magic ability to be empowered by the arrival of the new baby.
He then got asleep easily and quietly and I felt relieved my reassurances seemed to find enough space into his little heart.
But now, I know that they weren’t the more appropriate things to say, because in a way, I denied his fears of being left out. I’d have been better validating his feelings, acknowledging and putting his fears into words, instead of lavishing unnecessary and unclear pearls of wisdom.
Maybe I should have been honest and sincere with him, giving him words to live guiltless in fantasy what he wouldn’t be able to have in reality, anymore or, at least presumably, in the first days after baby’s arrival: as, for instance, telling him that he doesn’t like to be left out by the new baby and to share mom with him, too. And that it’s ok to feel this and sometimes even wishing baby won’t come home, anymore.
I know, deeply inside of me, that validating children feelings and giving them enough attention, is the only way to make them able to move on shortly, without excessive inner pain.
They, if they feel their emotions acknowledged, are naturally capable of coming to terms with reality and learning from it. They need us parents to be there and testify their struggle with love and acceptance, avoiding to deny it and to add drama to their feelings.
Only if feelings are felt deeply and without filters, guilt or other interferences, we can observe them while passing through and moving out from ourselves. Children, especially younger ones, need us to give a name to what they are feeling inside and to know that actually these are “just” feelings that won’t compromise their integrity as individuals.
I am perfectly aware I made really bad mistakes with my children.
Most of them, have been suffered in silence. Or in the solitude of not being heard.
I realize now that, most of the times, they occurred me when I didn’t listen deeply to my inner nature and when I didn’t separate myself from the vision I have of myself, from the ghosts of my past and from my parents’ behavioral patterns.
As Naomi Aldort suggests in her ispiring book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-child Relationships from Reaction And Struggle to Freedom, Power And Joy, the most important step to heal a child is to listen deeply to him, to empathize with his feelings and give him our proper and full attention. But this won’t happen until we won’t take gently distance from our internal speech and from our particular emotional background.
I can’t erase my past and my mistakes as a parent.
But what I can actually do now is, first of all, avoiding those mistakes to stand in the way, compromising a sincere attention to my children.
I need to trust my children feelings and their ability to move on when their emotional validated struggle is over. Listening deeply without interfering. Being empathic and kind.
And I am sure that this approach, based on love, respect and trust in my children’s emotional abilities, will give them and myself the permission to move forward together, when the right time will come.
Together, towards this this new, challenging but surely beautiful phase of our family life.
If you are interested in purchasing Naomi Aldort’s book, you can do it from this affiliate link: