The other day I had a rare moment to myself in the car. The twins were already asleep for the night and Adam was putting the older boys to bed. I was driving myself to a blissful, one person shop at the grocery store. The drive gave me a few quiet minutes to reflect about Jack.
I fully realize that I am hard on Jack. Harder than I am on Ben. My husband is just the opposite. He fully understands Jack and is hard on Ben. At least in my opinion. He has his reasons for being tough with Ben, some of which I understand.
I think Ben doesn’t bother me as much because he’s just so happy all the time. Even when he’s naughty he’s happy. I see Ben as a fun, free spirit to be embraced and enjoyed, even if he can drive me nuts living in his own world while the rest of us are trying to operate as a family of six.
But Jack, ah Jack. I wish I could handle him better.
It bothers me when he is not nice to his brother. He’ll antagonize him then tell on him when he retaliates. Where does this instinct to have conflict come from? I run from conflict like it’s the boogie man.
He doesn’t share well. He’s getting better, but he’s still so much worse than Ben. He has a class he likes to do on the weekends but doesn’t want to go if Ben isn’t coming because he doesn’t want Ben touching his toys while he is away. It never occurred to me to hoard my stuff as a kid. Maybe my sister and I were far enough apart in age that the need never arose.
He constantly compares and makes judgements about what is fair or not. If I give them some candy, he’s not happy with the candy unless it’s the same or more as Ben. When I give him a treat I expect him be happy, not look around at everyone else’s treat to see if it’s better.
And he can’t stand to be by himself for a minute. He can’t poop by himself, even though I gladly send him off to the bathroom with his phone like every other normal person in the world. He can’t play in the basement alone or even let Adam and I put the twins down to bed without standing outside the door practically crying.
Last night in the car I realized that all these things I perceive as problems are really just one big problem. I’m worried how these character traits will effect him in life.
I feel it is my job as a parent to raise kids who become happy, fulfilled adults. And my definition of a happy adult is one who is generous, one who is grateful for what they have, and one who can enjoy his or her own company.
In Ben I see that person, so I feel like, even though he doesn’t listen well right now, he will be okay in life.
But will Jack?Pin It