I am the mom of a wild child.
To put it nicely, people would call him a “strong-willed child,” “powerful child,” or just “a handful.” There are assertive children and children who like to be the boss (like my oldest) and then there’s the wild child.
I probably wouldn’t be too fond of someone else calling my Samuel wild, but honestly that’s exactly what he is. Before Samuel was born I would have looked at parents with a wild child and think of all the ways they were probably not disciplining the child properly. I mean honestly, if you’re disciplining a child consistently they don’t behave like heathens, right?
Oh boy was I wrong.
Samuel was climbing before he was crawling and that should have been a good indication that I was in trouble. He was the only 3 month old that I knew that could wiggle his way out and over the top of the bouncer onto the floor despite being strapped in. Since he’s been able to walk we’ve barely been able to keep up with him.
His favorite hobbies include climbing on the dining room table or anything else and finding things to get into in the refrigerator. Several months ago, at 2 years old he climbed out the front window and tried to get into the van. All of this was accomplished in the two minutes it took me to go to the bathroom.
His hand has to be held at all times when we’re not at home or at a grandparents house because he will either run away, climb something, grab and throw something, or disappear.
To top it all off, he can have meltdowns and throw fits like I’ve never seen. He’s been known to be “that kid” that lays in the floor in the lobby of the doctor’s office screaming bloody murder because he couldn’t watch Little Einsteins. He’s also been the kid that thrashed around and screamed as I tightly (and lovingly) held onto him in the doctor’s office because I wouldn’t let him have his shoes after the third time he took them off and threw them in the floor.
On the outside looking in it would be easy to say that Samuel needs more structure, discipline, punishment, consistency, or something like that. The thing is though, we’ve done everything we know to do and Samuel is still Samuel. We do not give in to the fits. He’s gotten in trouble for throwing fits, but that didn’t work. We now just ignore the fits, but that doesn’t really work. He just has to get through it and then he’s fine.
We don’t let Samuel climb on things and we are consistent in our disciplining and training. Spanking hasn’t worked — as a matter of fact it’s almost a joke. Taking time out to calm down doesn’t really do anything and neither does anything else except simple redirection.
The phrase, “this too shall pass,” is something I frequently have to tell myself. Honestly there are a lot of days that I struggle because of Samuel’s strong-willed nature. I have started making an effort to put it in perspective though because all of the qualities in him right now that make life so difficult are admirable qualities to have as an adult when they’re used properly.
Samuel throws fits because he knows what he wants and he stands his ground in hopes of convincing everyone else to see it his way. As he gets older, as long as he doesn’t continue to scream and flop on the floor, that type of behavior won’t be a bad thing. I won’t necessarily have to worry about someone trying to get him to do something or believe something he doesn’t want to. He will be the leader. He’ll be the one loudly (and hopefully respectfully) trying to get others to follow his lead and believe what he believes in — whatever that passion ends up being.
It’s amazing to me at Samuel’s age how he can manage to climb to the places he’s climbed and get into the things he’s gotten into. We actually bought one of those locks for the refrigerator after the third time he got in the fridge and dumped out all of my eggs. It took him about five minutes to figure out how to open it and another five to completely rip the lock off. He’s resourceful and he’s a problem solver. This is an excellent quality to have in many different career paths and different aspects of life. Not so admirable of a quality while I’m trying to train him to use his powers for good and not evil.
I frequently have to remind myself that Samuel is going to do great things with all of those special qualities he has. I just have to figure out how to teach him to use his gifts responsibly with the least amount of collateral damage. I feel like the Kents trying to teach Clark how to use his heat vision without burning the house down. *Special brownie points to those people that understood that reference.*
If you’ve got a wild child — um — strong-willed child, keep going and stay strong. Just keep in mind that they’ll do something great someday as long as you stay consistent and work to help them use their powers for good.