Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Difficult Child

I have a 'difficult' child...I was a 'difficult' child...I guess that's karma.

Do you have a difficult child?
If you're not quite sure what I mean, you probably don't have one.

A difficult child...
  • delights in annoying their sibling/s
  • prefers to say 'no' when asked to do anything
  • won't dress themself
  • won't do anything for themself because they're too sore, too tired, too thirsty...
  • whinges A LOT
  • asks a million questions a day, usually the same ones on repeat
  • wants you to play with them constantly
  • pesters you mercilessly
  • doesn't like to lose
  • has to make up all the rules
  • has tantrums than can last up to 2 hours, fall asleep crying/screaming, then wake only to continue the tantrum
  • won't play nicely with their sibling/s
  • doesn't like to share
  • doesn't willingly allow their sibling/s access to their bedroom
  • cry/whinge/whine until you do whatever it is they want you to do

That's all that I can think of for now, but I'm sure there's more.
I remember as a child my mother often saying to me, "I hope you get a little girl just like you when you grow up."  Well, Mum, I got a little boy, just like me.  Close enough?

My difficult child starts school next week.  And as hard as it will be for me to let go that little bit, to have change in our lives, I know he needs it and is so ready.  He needs more activity, more social contact, more stimulation.

Are all children 'difficult' children?  Is he normal?  I don't know, but I do know my second child is nowhere near as difficult.  Although my difficult child didn't really become difficult until he turned three...she is still only two...not counting any chickens just yet.

Does everyone get a difficult child?  Or are they just reserved for the lucky ones? Or those of us that were a difficult child ourselves?

Oh, by the way, I love my difficult child to bits.  He is not difficult ALL the time and I wouldn't have him any other way.


  1. That's my 3yo. My 7yo can be trying too. When he started school it was the "shoe issue". His socks were too tight. There was a bump in them. The shoes felt "funny".....On and on and on... In fact, we still have issues with socks and the like. Ugh!

    I decided yesterday to keep a log of all he gets up to in one day. I'm going to do that, post it, and you will see! You are not alone!

  2. I don't have any kids but I was the definition of a difficult child, so I know I will get my comeuppance! In fact my Mum used to say the same thing to me, about hoping I have a child just like me when I hvae kids so I can see what it was like!

  3. I am stepmum to two kids who are extremely passive - so much so that I sometimes wish they would throw a tantrum, pick a fight, or just do *something* with a bit of spark. Why is there never a happy medium?!

  4. Le Artiste and I can clash horribly, I wonder if it is that he is a difficult child or merely that we are so alike that we drive each other crazy. Petal has an easy disposition much like her father,thus I consider her much less difficult. Me, well I was a perfect child of course *snort*.

  5. I feel your pain, I really do, but I feel mine more because I have identical toddler twins who are exceptionally strong-willed! My eldest son (who is 4.5) is placid and calm and easy-going. My twins are all fire and passion and determination. One is hard, believe me, two is harder!!! They feed off each other in the worst possible way. The eldest twin is more fiery than the other, and just last night I was talking to my husband about him. He is full of life and energy and is just a passionate little soul...and my heart goes out to him, because he feels things so, so deeply. I actually have decided to be very gentle in the way I discipline him (that does not equate to weak, by the way) as life is tough enough for him as it is. I think out of my three boys, he will be the one that will have the hardest time dealing with life. It's not because there's anything wrong with him - it's just who he is. And I hope that as parents we can validate who he is as a person and help him learn to curb his defiance and temper without destroying his spirit. Being a parent is hard sometimes, isn't it?

  6. Yes, I have a difficult child - I was the easy child and my difficult child is a little like you! How did that happen?

  7. I have been biting my tounge on this, this post upset me, and I thought if I didn't have anything nice to say then I shouldn't, but this really bothered me. How would you feel if your "difficult child" read this in years to come. A list made by their mother on how annoying they are? Sorry thea, I usually enjoy your posts but this one doesn't sit well with me. A child wanting to play all the time is what childhood is all about is it not? Curiosity? Surely a wonderful thing?
    Sorry. You've lost me here.

  8. I am glad I am not the only one. Yes, parenting is hard and sometimes you want to rip your hair out with the pressure. but i think calling your child the difficult one instead of just facing that parenting in itself is difficult is a copout.
    I don't see anything on your list that isn't totally normal child behaviour. I can't imagine ever wishing away my child's (or any child's) desire to question their environment and learn about everything going on around them. Nor am I looking forward to the inevitable day when my child will no longer want to play with me all the time.

  9. I totally understand what you mean. I too was a difficult child and I have a difficult child. And unless you have been/had/or both a difficult child you cannot understand how love and frustration can go hand in hand. Hang in there and remember that you are a wonderful mother.

  10. Have you had your darling tested for food allergies? What you're saying echoes behaviour of one of mine until he was tested and his diet changed.
    It's hard for someone who hasn't been through it to understand how much of a struggle life can be when you have a child who is so much more demanding emotionally and physically than your other children.

  11. It is really, really, hard. I have two very fiery children... much like me! We do clash, the eldest will be 11 this year, and he is learning to have more self control. Our daughter, well she used to tantrum until she vomited, or fell asleep... or both. It is hard, it is frustrating, And I have had some not so proud moments yelling and crying back at both my kids.
    Jodie, I hear you on the sock thing... who knew they had to be so bloody perfect on your foot?
    I do watch diet carefully, and our son has severe asthma, and though well controlled, we found any slight change wellness changed his behaviour a lot. Daughter has hay fever & food intolerances that really affect her too.
    And sometimes I think the behaviour is just their way of dealing with their own fears, frustrations etc without always knowing exactly what they are feeling and why, and without being able to express it well.
    I also think that often the difficult child is the one with the most determination & drive... and that as they get older they learn to channel all that energy in a positive way.
    Thinking of you :)

  12. you remind me so much of my mum. my mum would list to me all my flaws. hehe. and say to me "i hope you have a child just like yourself". i dont think i was difficult. more a bitch to be honest. i think it might be something all females go through. haha. i have a perfect example actually. my boyfriends sister.


    to be honest i really think all children go through a difficult stage. since working with young children you have the terrible twos. but some children have that at five as well. my sister who is turning 12 this march is at the terrible stage. and i can tick of most of those as things that she would do when she was younger. and some she still does. especially the annoy the sibling!

    great post. and i think you should pull this out at his twentyfirst and remind him of what a terror he was xx

  13. Ok, to those who are jumping on her case... God blessed you with perfect children apparently and an even temperament to never want to vent. Bless your souls.

    As for the rest of us, I am right there with you. My child is so difficult that I had her tested! Same age. It's tiring when your child is old enough to know better but doesn't care. I feel like she shouldve outgrown this in her toddler years.

    Thea, you're a good mom. Don't let those holier-than-you people look down their noses at you. I know exactly how you feel. You are not alone. *hugs*

  14. Well some of those comments were a little confronting. I would just like to say Thea that as a full time mum as you are.. and so am I.. that it is a very hard gig at times. This is your blog which is your own space away from your family and you should be able to share your thoughts freely which you have done.. so thankyou. Hopefully as he gets older and meets new friends, those issues will become a thing of the past. I am sure the end result will be fabulous. Hang in there. You have MY SUPPORT.

  15. I also have a difficult child who I love to bits. Thank you for your honest post, Thea. You have so much support and that is EXACTLY what parents need. xx

  16. I too Thea, have Hurricane Jack. If there is an opportunity to say no, he takes it. If there is a way to aggrivate his brother and sister, he will find it. Just the type of kid he is. And I've had two before him and they were not like him.

    It is incredibly trying and I see where you are coming from. My husband I sometimes are just at our wits end with him. Does't mean we love him any less, it's just the stress of it all.

    My best friend too has a girl who is the same and has been diagnosed with ODD - Opposition Defiance Disorder. I used to think it was a load of shit and was just a cover up for a naughty kid. I know better now. Karma made sure of that for me.

    You're doing a top job, venting helps :)

  17. As you say, "I love him to bits and I wouldn't have him any other way."
    And your list? it wasn't a list of things you "dislike" about your son, merely the features that correspond with being a "difficult child."
    It's no wonder mothers suffer in silence and are afraid to speak out if they are struggling because they are met with an attack by fellow mums. I for one, thank you for your honesty.
    I thought I had a "difficult child" but he needed speech therapy, which for us, has made all the difference. But I totally get what you are saying.
    You are a wonderful mum x

  18. Huh! My daughter is great. She goes to bed and stays there, even if she doesn't fall asleep for an hour. She loves getting dressed and even helps out with the 1yo if I ask her. Most days, she'll eat most things. If upset, she has developed a habit of silently sulking, which is parenting bliss!

    Honestly, I can't see anything changing this father-daughter relationship now, through childhood and into her teen years. It'll all be hunky dory.

  19. Sometimes my kids give me the pips. (Sometimes it's a lot of the time). I will tell them so. I will happily write it down and let them read it in years to come. I keep a little diary for my daughter and I will write in it what a little cow she has been. I'm not going to blow smoke up their backsides and tell them they are wonderful all of the time if they aren't. I also write in it how wonderful she is but I'm not going to sugar coat it. I hope she reads it when she has her own kids and realises that it is hard and as much as you do love them, they can be total pains and it's ok to feel like that.
    Keep it real Thea - Love your work!

  20. Keep being honest, keep being yourself and keep loving your kids. As a mother you see them in a way nobody else can, but you also have the privilege of loving them in a way no one else can. xx


  22. Your holier than thou attitude is disgusting.
    What a nasty comment. Please go away!

  23. i get this post, perhaps not the wording, but the sentiment. don't let anyone make you feel bad, because you are just like everyone else who is honest with themselves: a regular, normal, healthy mum with good days and bad days. Anyone saying they are otherwise, is a liar.....or martian.

  24. Wow... great parenting...January 23, 2010 at 4:41 AM

    I stumbled across this post while on google, and I can guarantee that this will be the one and only time I'm ever reading it. Are you serious with what you wrote above? Every single thing on that list could be true of almost any child in the world! Your kid asks questions and wants you to play with them - and you're saying that's a bad thing??? One day your kid is going to stop wanting to hang out with their mother and you're going to be sad about it. I hope you remember bitching about it. And I hope one day your child gets to see the post above a read how much you complain about how they want attention from you. And things like 'doesn't want to share'... That's a direct result of YOUR PARENTING!

  25. Wow... great parenting...January 23, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    After reading your profile I'm also very happy that you're a 'resigned teacher'. I'd hate to think that you're molding the minds of any other parent's children. I'd hate to think that they'd want to ask you questions or want you to spend time with them.

  26. Thea, I think you are a great mother! You want to know why? You are a great mother because you are real. You are not afraid to admit you have good days and bad! And that is. Real. Life. As a regular reader of your post I also see that you are honest, thoughtful and loving. There is something a lot more courageous in admitting you find it tough than in grandstanding and telling everyone how perfect you are. Being a parent is a tough job and you do it well! People on here knocking you down are taking this post out of context, and for that I pity them because they haven't got the full story! Love you and your work Thea!!! XXXXXXX

  27. WOW!!!

    I read this and thought - yep that'll be me in 4 - 5 years. It was written with the love and frustration that comes from being a full time mum with no "out" except to blog about it. As someone before me said its no wonder mums dont talk about the real day to day stuff - we might come off as being human and having struggles rather than being perfect superhumans!

    I'm not perfect, I moan about Penny and she's only 13 months! I love the fact that you are honest and truthful about motherhood! And to Wow.....great parenting...I'll have Thea teach my kids any day, any time as i know first hand her dedication to her kids and to the job - there is no one better.

    Keep it up Thea, You make my day every day you blog! xox

  28. I'm not a mum (yet), but hope to be in the next few years. I just wanted to say that I'm appalled at the attacks that people are making against you on their blogs. I completely understood your sentiment in this post, and from reading your blog in the past I see that you are a wonderful, caring mother.

    I believe that these other bloggers know this too, however for whatever reason they feel the need to cause trouble. Those bloggers that turn up in my google reader are becoming very quickly unfollowed.

    We have better things to worry about than nasty, vindictive people. While they may spout about public forums and encouraging debate, I'm sure they'd sing a different tune if they were personally attacked, on their blogs or elsewhere.

    Take care x

  29. i just realised i forgot to mention my cousins little boy. he is seven.

    and ticks everything. and i mean EVERYTHING on that list.

    he is a difficult child.

    and being a boy. he has that energy that just never burns out! ever. i will get outside and play tennis. soccer. etc. and he just is like the energizer bunny. and then when i tell him i need a 10 minute break. and we should sit down for a bit. then the talking starts. and i mean non-stop. whether it is about what he likes to do. or questioning. you just dont get a break.


    but doesnt mean i dont love him. just like his mum does. and believe me. she does.

    i am getting quite annoyed at the comments that you are receiving in regards to this post. you never once said that your son was all those things. you were listing points of A difficult child. not your child.

    i think everyone is taking this post out of context.

    if you dont agree what has been said. maybe you should keep your opinion to yourself? just a thought. didnt your mum ever tell you "if you have nothing nice to say. dont say anything" or the "treat others how you would like to be treated"?? not only that but i am noticing that everyone that has commented here with snark dont allow the lovely thea to be able to access your blog. bit unfair methinks.

    anywho. i just wanted you to know that you are a great mum. and whilst some people have these opinions in re to your parenting. you should never doubt yourself. because you are a great mum.

    oh and those comments. we all get them. people who just cant be happy for another person and their ability to communicate openly and honestly within their blog.


  30. I feel a little bit like I am intruding since we have only just met as a result of J's current situation. However, I am a mom, blogger, and opionionated so I feel the need to comment on this post.

    First, parenting is not always easy but it is rewarding. If any parent thinks their kid is perfect...THEY ARE LYING. If any parent says their kid never misbehaves...THEY ARE LYING! If any parent says they don't wish sometimes they could run away for a day...THEY ARE LYING!

    As a parent, if we can identify the elements of our childs personality, as you did with your list, I think you are building a better parenting tool box. It is all about knowing your kid and not being in denial. The parents that think their kids are perfect are the ones that have kids running wild or planted in front of TV.

    Secondly, those people that have posted negative comments blindly only show a lack a courage and respect. If you have something to say have the courage to stand behind your words.

    Thank you for allowing me this short intrusion. Glad to see you didn't let it stop you from blogging!

    ;o)Tammy aka @origazgirl

  31. Just found you through a chain of links...and I wanted to let you know that I totally understand where you are coming from. I have three wonderful children and while I love them all, the middle child is my 'difficult child'.....and I never knew what that term meant until I had him...basically he started off with colic as an infant and it (the colic behaviors) never went away! My son is all that you describe in your list (which I believe is NOT a list of things you dislike, but just merely a list of traits of the more difficult children).

    Please don't feel badly for your post about this. Parents of difficult children completely understand where you are coming from...and those parents who are condemning you clearly do NOT have experience with difficult children.

    Our children are difficult, they are spirited, they are strong willed and they are going to be great strong leaders one day, but us parents will just be a little more tired and worn down along the way...hang in there!! :-)

    Phoebe from Canada.

  32. Hey Thea!

    Way to create traffic for your blog!

    It's so hot in QLD I'm guessing everyone is indoors, bitching on their computer.

    I got your post.

    I have 4 kids.

    For some reason my 3rd child is the psycho child. I wouldn't blink an eyelid if she came running down the hallway wielding a knife American Psycho style.

    I created that monster.

    When I was very, very stressed last year, pregnant, in a management position and putting 3 kids in day care my family reaped the benefits.

    My 2 year old can now swear like a sailor and shouts like a drill seargent.

    I didn't really get into the debate about what you posted (cos I have a life)

    but then I had this light bulb moment.


    Hello, everybody!

    I don't follow you guys normally and I don't follow Theas blog either, I just happened to catch it.

    I thought this was all very funny until I remembered why I haven't spoken to my dad for a few years.

    * Oprah light bulb moment *

    My father is a dickhead and has always been so.

    Awful when I find myself acting like him.


    When I was about 27 my father gave me a letter of everything I had ever done wrong in my life, from when I was a small child.

    A kind of "reasons why, you have disappointed me your whole life letter".

    FYI I was not a bad kid. He is just an asshole.

    * SHIT I just cried *



    Never put anything out there that you don't want your kid to google.

    Just saying.

  33. Your friends sure aren't fighting your battle very well...January 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    So one of your complaints about your child is "whinges A LOT"? Gee... I wonder which parent they got that trait from? You're on here whining about their personality issues. Can't you see that they got that directly from you?
    Now, I'm not saying at all that you don't love your kids, because I'm sure you do. But I really hope that they get to read this one day when they grow up. They can read that their mother didn't like how her own children want her to play with them.

    The comments on the other girl's blog are funny. There are some from people like Miss Carly (who apparently doesn't have know about capital letters) saying things (and I'm paraphrasing here) like "It's a free internet so Thea is allowed to say whatever she wants, but you shouldn't be saying anything bad". What a hypocrite. One person can speak their mind, but nobody else is allowed to comment on it? Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense...

    If you go back and read all the comments on the other girl's blog you'll see how while she was sleeping (she lives in England) your friends were getting worse and worse and twisting it more and more. Somebody even mentioned something about child services! That didn't come from the creator of the blog at all!!

    And the Quirky75 person? They reference a different blog entry about a dog, but apparently only read the first two lines of the whole entry. How can they formulate an opinion based on that? If they had actually read the blog entry they would've seen all the talk about taking the dog in (from being a stray) and making him part of the family no matter what.

    And Tammy and Sally... the biggest hypocrites of all. Tammy writes "If you don't like it....don't friggen read it!!!", but she's posted that directly after reading someone else's blog posting and then commenting. Shouldn't that same logic apply to her then? And Sally writes "How about respecting another mother's right to express herself on her OWN blog?" It's the same hypocritical behaviour again. Shouldn't she be following what she's saying? Laura has the write to 'express herself on her own blog' as well.

    I'm just saying with these examples that maybe hypocrites arguing your case isn't the best way to go. Each of the people above stated an argument and then completely went against their own position.

    Once again, I'm sure you love all your kids. I'm not saying you don't. I'm just saying two main things: 1) I hope your kid never gets to read about how it bothers you that they want you to play with them. 2) The twitter friends are huge hypocrites. Their arguements are hypocritical one after another...

  34. Dear readers, please note I am saying this quietly and calmly.

    Thea, I think you should close comments on this post. You love your children, and I know from here, twitter & facebook, you spend a lot of time with your children. You love them, they love you. End of story.

    People have had a chance to comment, and are now resorting to personal attacks in a very disrespectful and ill informed manner. Enough is enough lovely Mum.


  35. Nomie is right. Enough is enough.