The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Bad Behavior

My good friend, Maria, was on the verge of tears when she called me yesterday.

“Jackson got sent home from preschool for going up to another kid and hitting him for no reason,” she told me.

It wasn’t the first such episode involving her 5-year-old son. To make matters worse, when she phoned the other child’s mother to apologize, the response was an angry attack on her parenting skills.

Maybe Jackson wasn’t the only one behaving badly.

Maria called me because she knew I’d be able to relate. Since they were born a day apart -- in the same hospital, in the same room -- Jackson and my daughter, Phoebe, have exhibited similar personalities. Both are bright, imaginative and outgoing. Both also have a history of impulse-control problems that no amount of time-outs, loving discussions or revoked TV privileges seem to curb.

Like Maria, I’ve received calls from preschool teachers about my daughter’s conduct. And I’ve been asked to take her home early on more than one occasion. Not long ago, I was in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s with a cart full of groceries when my cell phone rang. It was Phoebe’s teacher. She was disrupting nap time. Could I please come and pick her up her right away?

“We hardly ever have to send anyone home,” her teacher said apologetically when I arrived, “but she just wouldn’t settle down and was disturbing the other kids.”

Like Maria, I’ve sometimes felt the sting of being judged by others for my inability to control my daughter’s behavior. My first reaction is to feel like a failure as a mom. Then I pick up the phone and call Maria. I always feel better by the time we hang up.

Yesterday it was my turn to remind Maria that Jackson’s problems aren’t a reflection of her mothering skills. She’s a great mom. And she’s no wimp when it comes to disciplining her children. Jackson’s younger brother has no behavior issues, which seems to indicate that Jackson’s problems are at least partly related to the way he’s wired.

I’m sorry that my friend had such a hard day. But I’m glad I could be there for her the way she’s always been there for me.

By Dorothy O’Donnell


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Very nice. thanks for writing about this. i, too, have a kid who is bright, loving, articulate, but at school he can't be controlled and as a result has been sent home and labeled a "hard" kid. i, too, have been labeled a bad parent by people who don't know i have another son who happens to be a very successful student. very interesting to see the contrast in how people treat me based on which son of mine they know best. wonderful blog. Laura-Lynne Powell
You said no much by saying so little. you are talented and keep shouting out for teh sisters!
I used to be the one to give the glares to moms of "spirited" boys. Till I had one! Now I consider it a good day if I pick my little guy up from school and I get the report "he hardly screamed at all!" Be proud that he has such spunk. He will be the one who can stand up for himself and his friends. As he gets older there are many opportunities to focus his energy. Good luck! Cathy Burke
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