The Hooligan got into it a bit with a boy at his preschool last week. The Hooligan is, in fact, a hooligan. But he is a sweet and tender hooligan and he doesn't really fight much. Most of his shenanigans are of the self-directed, quietly making a gigantic mess or very bad decision variety. He's not an aggressive child, so I was a little surprised to hear he'd had a little tussle at school.
This is how the Hooligan told me about it:
"Oh really? How did that come about?"
"Well, first we argued and then we fought and then we hugged each other and made a nice friendship."
So we talked about it for a while and he seemed OK with the outcome. He had no idea what started it or why they were arguing, they just suddenly were. Then he said:
"You know, I am friends with Charley now, but he's really annoying."
"Well, he picks on my lunch and he sticks his tongue out at me all the time and he tells me that he can run faster than I can."
"So, what do you do about that?"
"Well, sometimes I just ask him to go away. Sometimes he doesn't listen when I ask him, so I sit there and pretend that I am being very quiet and still, but inside my head I am shouting so loud. Do you know what I mean?"
I know so well what he means that I cry. My Hooligan is my least expressive child. He'll tell you magnificent stories about spaceships and aliens and trains and ninjas that go on and on, but he doesn't often let on about what he's feeling. He's a lot like me that way.
Today was one of those days where I pretended to be very quiet and still, but inside my head... so much shouting. Some of it mine, some of it other people's, some of it justified, most of it not, all of it overwhelming.
So, I'm going to follow the advice I gave my Hooligan:
Ask it nicely to stop.
Play something different.
If that doesn't work, get help from an adult you trust.
Remember you can always tell someone about it before it gets too much.
Don't ever use your hands or feet to express your anger.
My Hooligan looked at me with his little 5-year-old eye-roll: "I know that, Mom. I know all that already. I'm just saying that sometimes it's hard to do what you should do."
I know, baby, I know.
Originally published on Periphery.
Photo Credit: niklashellerstedt.
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