What do you do with a child who resists going to church? Actually resist is a mild way of putting it. This morning I was greeted with:
"I don't want to go to church!"
"I hate church."
"Church is a waste of time."
"I'm not going to church."
Seriously, it's a MAJOR feat to get out the door. It's not just a matter of getting dressed, eating, and leaving, it's a matter of overcoming all the anger and negative energy, then getting dressed, overcoming more anger and negative energy and getting shoes on, overcoming more anger and negative energy and getting into the car.
While at church we survive sacrament meeting, usually...
Then we head to Primary for another round. Sometimes it goes okay. But usually it's another major feat to keep him in primary and to keep him from distracting other children. Active participation is the least of my worries, although he knows most of the answers and some of the songs. I just want him to sit quietly with his class.
It's so tricky. In trying to look at the grand scheme of things, I don't want him to lose a testimony or never gain one due to his negative feelings towards Primary and Church. On the other hand, I can't expect him to get special treatment or have exceptions made.
We're tried rewards... it worked for a while... We've tried taking away privileges... same thing, it worked for a while... We've tried ignoring the behavior... no improvement...
I'm emotionally spent.
I nearly broke down into tears twice during Primary, once when I had been looking unsuccessfully for a tearful and angry boy who had left running. And again when talking to his teaching about the incident that caused the great escape.
While on a bike ride this afternoon, someone chewed me out for Porter not wearing a helmet. It's so rare that he not have it on, but we'd managed to regain some peace and harmony in our home and I just couldn't fight another battle. I didn't think I could feel like a worse parent then I already did, but the conversation that ensued was like pouring salt in an open wound.
I know it's easy to judge other people and how they chose to raise their children. But there are many factors that aren't always obvious. Even still, I can't help but wondering, if I were a better parent (or had done x,y or z differently) then this wouldn't be happening.
Sometimes when I feel like someone is being judgemental, I just think to myself (and I know I shouldn't think this but I think), I hope someday you get a child just like Porter, and I don't mean his good qualities, ( he does have them-he's a leader, he's incredibly smart, he's a go getter and a go doer.) I mean his negative, heel digging, defiant, angry characteristics. Then we'll see how well you handle it, and if you can still judge me so harshly. The hard thing about feeling so vulnerable, is I think every one's judging me, probably because I'm judging myself.
I've read up on anger management, the number one suggestion is to model good anger management skills, I've really tried to work on that. It's a herculean feat when I've been pushed to my absolute limits, and he doesn't deserve any kindness of sympathy.
I wonder if Porter will always be my hardest child. I feel like every stage he goes through brings with it new and difficult challenges. It never ends.