About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Control...or a lack of...

I'm not really sure where to start.
And I'm not really sure whether this will be a "yay" or "boo" post. Maybe I'll leave that up to you to decide...
So on Monday Miss T and I decided to try a new toddler group.
It didn't go well, for either of us.
For her, it was a new place, with lots of new people, and on a morning when she was feeling a bit under the weather.
This manifested itself firstly in clinginess ("You come mummy" whenever she moved to a different activity) and then in bad behaviour (I almost wrote naughtiness but we all know we're not allowed to say that...). She snatched toys from the youngest child there and then when told to give them back, threw them across the room.
I responded as I would anywhere else - with a warning, followed by a spell on the hastily-introduced 'naughty chair'.
But I think that's where the positive aspects of this experience end.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from the morning but I found the actual reality quite stressful and frustrating. Every other child seemed to be behaving beautifully, every other child sat down nicely for drink and biscuit time while mine whinged and ran off and every other mum was able to chat and enjoy themselves.
As I'm sure you've noticed by now, when I get stressed or frustrated I get emotional and I'm afraid - and embarrassed - to admit that tears were soon on their way and I felt a complete failure on all levels.
A complete meltdown followed, for me and her, and it wasn't much fun.
Nor was the conversation afterwards with a fellow mum, who I'm sure meant well, but said I was letting Miss T control me because I went with her when she asked. I let it go at the time - I wasn't in a fit state to do anything else! - but it's another of those points I've been mulling over ever since.
I'm not sure that it is a control thing. I see it more as support and reassurance for a little girl who's still learning about the world and her place in it, and who is only just learning that she is a separate person to her parents.
I see it as my role to provide comfort when it's needed rather than to question the validity of the request for my input.
I don't dispute that other children are more confident than my own, or that this is partly due to my parenting and the choices I have made.
But I'm not comfortable being the kind of parent who just shoos their child away when they ask for support.
We will be going back to the group because I feel it's exposure she needs to prepare her for preschool and school.
But I'm hoping next time will be less of a drama...
So...is that a positive or a negative?!


Sarah Jane said...

You've said it yourself - it was a new place, with lots of new people, on a morning when she was feeling a bit under the weather.
So she's shy. And at the age of two, that manifests itself in naughtiness (there's nothing wrong with that word!) because when you're two, that's the most obvious way to express yourself.
I'm not sure why you think shyness is a bad thing. It's certainly better than being an arrogant, overconfident big mouth. And shyness and a lack of confidence are two entirely different things.
Oh cripes, got to go as Mam here to pick me up. The cure for shyness is being around other people. Take her back.

Kate said...

and you have to wonder how all those other kids behaved on their first day.....