Last week Keb turned 9. For the most part, I think he’s pretty cool. I enjoy him, think he’s bright, and I like his point of view. That changed at his birthday party. For the past week he’s turned into someone it’s hard for me to like, which is hard for me. I love the kids, lock-stock-and two smoking barrels. But I DO NOT like his attitude of late.
His issues were: whether his friends were playing with HIM; whether his friends were willing to play what HE wanted; whether he got the gifts HE wanted; having to wait to open presents; being disappointed at kids who couldn’t make it because of prior commitments; wanting to DEMAND to be the center of attention.
He actually went so far as to insult someone who has been a pretty good friend to him, as well as ignore a friend who was absolutely SICK and laying on the couch. I’d never seen him act this way, but it sent me from 0 to INCREDULOUS in 2.9 seconds. It’s probably not right, but every one of my judgmental alarms went off. In short, my son, the one I thought was fairly mature, funny, compassionate and caring, was a SPOILED, OBNOXIOUS, ENTITLED BRAT.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a hard pill to swallow.
I thought it might just be excitement. I thought it might be disappointment. I thought it might be lack of sleep. I have been wrong.
Even after the party, Keb has had the mindset that he DESERVES things. He wanted to go shopping on his birthday. We said no because he was so disrespectful to his friends (whom we hoped would CONTINUE to be his friends, but had NO guarantee). He’d also opened many gifts, he didn’t need more. When we did return one gift because he’d received two of the same thing, he was really nasty about Toys R Us not having what he wanted. There he was with $63 burning a hole in his pocket acting like a little… well, shit. There is no other term.
I finally convinced him that we could probably find it on-line. He turned on me and wanted to attack me for “being stupid.” After all, if it’s not in the store, how will it be on-line? I took a breath, and MIRACULOUSLY, did not slap my child. The desire was there, but I spoke softly and sternly and asked him if what he meant was that he NEVER wanted anything again, because that’s what his ATTITUDE was saying. He backed down…sort of. We did find what he was looking for and ordered it. Almost immediately he started in on WHEN was he going to get it.
Yes, my child is apparently getting his ego stroked by WHAT he has not WHO he is. I’m worried. I really am. I don’t know what to do or even how to combat this. All I know is that he must have WAY TOO MUCH if he’s acting this way. Hell, at no point in my life at 9 would I EVER have had the 1976 equivalent to $63, let alone had the audacity to throw a fit or be disappointed. In fact, I used my $2.50 allowance to buy Nancy Drew books, which required doing stuff for the neighbors so that I had enough to cover tax.
To make matters worse, when he started to cry because he felt I’d hurt his feelings, I told him to stop. That he could NOT cry if he had been rude to others. This was HIS fault, not mine. I told him he could cry if he was physically hurt or someone really did hurt his feelings, but not as a defense when he had a part in the problem. I found his tears manipulative. I felt like he was being a big baby and just crying to get away from having to be responsible for his actions. It infuriated me. It made me realize that I don’t know who I am as a mother right now. I used to feel pretty secure in that role, like I was doing a good job. Not anymore.
I’m feeling pretty crappy because Keb seems to be in some sort of crisis. It’s all about cards and stuff. It’s all about his needing to be senior partner and not connecting with other kids because they don’t want to continue playing “adventure” with him. They’re actually playing sports and games. I see him as being fairly immature with his peers and not knowing how to navigate it. I don’t know how to help him navigate it.
In short, this all sucks.