Monday, July 2, 2012

Screwing Up My Children, One Day At A Time...

I think every parent secretly (or not so secretly if you're me) fears that they'll somehow screw up their kids.  I mean, really - there are no qualifications to raise little people.  No manual.  No tutors.  Nothing.  At any moment - on any given day - I could say or do something that will psychologically scar them for life.  Land them in therapy before they are out of diapers.

What's that?  Are they both still in diapers?  Why yes, they are.  

See what I mean?!?  I'm TOTALLY SCREWING THEM UP!!!!!

But the one thing I worry about more than anything?  Gavin and Brian's relationship - on many, many levels.  I worry about Gavin feeling left out.  
I worry about Brian feeling resentful.  I worry about Gavin getting hurt (unintentionally) when Brian wants to "play" with him.  
I worry that my correcting Brian for "playing" will send him the wrong message.  I worry about my worrying.  This will be what lands me on "the couch" - mark my words.

Lately Brian has changed in some ways with how he treats his big brother.  He's still sweet and helpful - wanting to wipe his drool and hand him toys.  But he also is starting to think it's funny to take toys away from Gavin.  Gavin is changing, too.  He used to just move on and find a new toy - but now he's starting to object and cry when Brian does this.

It freaks me OUT.

Also, Brian wants to play a little too rough with Gavin sometimes.  He'll try to pick him up when he's standing holding onto something...or he'll roll onto him when they're both laying on the floor.

That freaks me out, too.

Sibling rivalry is one thing.  And brothers wrestling is another thing.  This is different.  I have a legitimate concern that Brian will unintentionally hurt Gavin.  And I worry that me continuously correcting Brian and saying the wrong thing (like - "You have to be careful, you're stronger than him!") will create resentment...or confusion...or paranoia...or insert any other "worryish" word here.

I know that Brian will likely grow up to be a compassionate and caring man because of his experience with his special needs brother.  But I'm hoping that I don't inadvertently introduce my neuroses into his little head along the way. 

 Is anyone out there in my boat?  How do you handle the relationships between your typical and your superhero children?  Do you have these fears, too?


  1. I do have these fears! I try not to "correct" it too much since I don't want to cause problems down the road. Just tonight I found myself saying to Z that his brother might not be as strong as him right now but someday he will be. Not that Z really understood what I was telling him (they are only 2) eventually he will, as will N and I don't want N to ever feel like I think he is weak. (plus its nice to say out loud and I truly believe it)

    I try not to interfere when Z takes a toy from N (or vice versa) unless the one whose toy was stolen gets really upset. I figure they both need to learn to defend themselves in some way.

    But N faces challenges that Z doesn't. Just like when our new little one arrives they will both need to be careful with him. I don't think teaching them that there are different levels/types of play and one must modify play depending on who you are with is a bad thing. Because special needs or not, there is always going to be a weaker kid and sometimes it's not going to be N it will be Z.

    I try to tell both of them (again obviously not understood right now, but eventually will be) that Z might be great at baseball but N could be great at swimming. You just never know, and I want both boys to realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses (example mommy can't do simple math in her head whereas daddy can do complex math in his head but mommy can argue with the best of them -former lawyer- and daddy, well not so much!) I think that that is very important for them to realize.

    I get the worries and paranoia, but I also think its healthy for us to feel that way and worry about it. And it probably means we have nothing to worry about. Its the ones who don't worry that will likely cause an issue down the road!

  2. I don't have children, so some people might say that I don't get to have an opinion about this, but I'm going to say it anyway. I don't think you can screw your kids up by letting them know there are boundaries and that they can't always do things they want to do and I think that is the basics of it. Brian will be mad at some point. He will feel that it's not fair, because it's not. But it's also not fair that Gavin can't do some of the things that Brian can do. That's life. And teaching your kid that life is not fair for anyone will not mess them up. If anything, it will better prepare them for life.

  3. I have been reading your blog for weeks now. You are an incredible person. It shows not only in your writing but shines brightly through your children. I too, carry alot of your fears and worries. I have a disability. It is not visible. It is a mental condition that has plagued me since middle school. I worry on the daily that I am ruining my children. I am terrified that they will experience the overwhelming anxiety that results because I can't trust my brain to properly interpret reality due to my strong emotional responses to everyday situations. With medication and time, I have learned better coping skills and can deal with the rapid-cycling thoughts much more effectively. But, I am human, and a MOM so I still question and doubt myself several times a day. Your blog is comforting and very therapeutic for me. It gives me hope and a sense that I am not alone. Although my story is much different than yours, we are connected because we are mothers and our MOM brains share the same fears and hopes for our children. Thank you, Kate for sharing.


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