Kids are complex, curious entities aren't they? I never cease to be amazed by their ingenuity, creativity and determination. I was talking with a parent a few weeks back and she was describing how her child was acting unusually clingy, whiny, and just generally out of sorts.
At that moment, I had a flashback to when my son was three. I recalled with incredible clarity standing on the stoop at my daycare provider's house nearly in tears saying "I have no idea who this kid standing before you is!" She gave me a warm smile and an understanding nod. When she asked me to explain, I told her that my normally compliant, well behaved and loving son had turned into a whiny, angry monster.
I know she was trying to calm me when she said "I haven't noticed any change in his behavior here." While it was reassuring to know he wasn't misbehaving for her; it was disconcerting to know that he was saving all the nasty stuff for me! I mean really, after all I had done for him, e.g., nearly 24 hours of labor followed by a c-section, etc. -- well, at least that was what I was thinking at the time.
She must have been able to read the expression on my face. Having been a daycare provider for over twenty years, she shared some insights. She said that I was not the first parent to experience this nor would I be the last. She said that this was actually a good thing. Well, maybe not the behavior, but the fact that he was doing it with me. She said it was a testament to the bond that we had. She explained that kids will always be naughtier for their parents because no matter how awful they act, we are not going to love them any less. It made so much sense!
But why these behaviors now? I thought we had worked past the whining and negativity (I know, I know -- how naive was I?!). My daycare shared that it was her belief that kids sometimes had these difficult behaviors because they were "re-grouping," i.e, getting ready to move on to the next social emotional level. She said it would pass and, thankfully, it did.
In the years that have passed since the mentoring session with my daycare provider, I have come to hear about and experience some of these "re-grouping" periods with my students. I like to refer to these as "funk moods." Like my daycare provider, I have come to believe that these periods are very similar to those that we go through as adults (see this post).
Interestingly enough, there are some others who share this theory. More on that next time...
Has your child gone through a funk mood? What was it like and how did you deal with it? Post your responses!