As I watched my 6-year-old son, Matt, ride his bike back and
forth past our house with the training wheels that I thought would
have been off by now, I thought about our relationship and about
who he was. We just had a treacherous time together after school:
His Power Ranger broke and he was angry. He threw it at the house
hard, making a noticeable mark on the siding. I asked him to pick
up the toy and he screamed "NO!" It all started there and ended up
with him crying in his room and myself aggravated and upset. In the
process he told me he hated me because I wanted him to cry and on
I began to realize that occasionally he needed to lash out at me
in order to purge all of the stuff he held in. Matt had just
started first grade and like most first-born children, he doesn't
take well to changes. I understood this in my head, but my heart
hurt - I began to doubt my competence as a mother. Why would
he tell me he hates me when I've done all I can to be the best
mother I can be? Nobody told me about this when I was pregnant. And
it didn't help when I asked other mothers about this. They told me
their child had never done this.
I found comfort in realizing he needs to do certain things when
he is ready, not when I am ready. I realized I cannot force him to
be and do what I think he should; I need to let him show me the
As obstinate as he can be and as hard as this is for me, I know
that I am his and he is mine. While Matt rode back and forth with
those darn training wheels, he slowly began to tell me about his
day at school. As I listened, his sweet words calmed me. I then
understood that he took his anger out on me because he feels loved
by me and knew, even before I did, that I could handle this.
Our time together as he rode back and forth was salve to the
wound for me. We bonded and felt close again. Times have changed
and he isn't my baby anymore, but he still needs me. Matt now
requires me to provide structure, discipline and to be there in the
rough times, too. He may continue to dump his negative feelings on
me, but as long as I provide rules around this, it is OK.
I am learning that I can't always take the lead. I have to know
when to follow him, too.
Annemarie Husser is the mother of Matt and Bryan. She is a
licensed clinical professional counselor practicing in Schaumburg.
Matt finally rode a bike without training wheels at age 7-when he
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