Monday, April 14, 2008

Bad Kid Redux

You may have read my post about Bad Ronan, but frankly, that was nothing. Ronan is becoming a real terror, and I don't know what to do about it. None of the surefire techniques that worked so well with Declan are working with his little brother. He seems to have no concept of cause and effect (first eat your chicken, then you can have grapes). When he does something wrong and gets yelled at, he smiles. When you put him in time out, he smiles. Now, I may be reading too much into this, but these smiles aren't innocent crescents of joy, they're deviant slices of mockery.

I'm firm. I never give in to him. I always follow through on threats and promises. But he still doesn't get it. And frankly, he's mean. Yesterday Andy had to bring him back to the house when all the kids were playing on the playground because Ronan was throwing dirt in the other kids eyes. And hitting them.

Maybe it's just his demeanor that makes him seem so mean. I was watching him play with Aaron this morning, and both were behaving very similarly. Aaron didn't want to share the game he was playing, so when Ronan tried to play, Aaron pushed at Ronan's neck--very sweetly, with a sad cry. Ronan responded by clawing at Aaron--madly, with a feral growl.

Matty tells me not to worry, that Ronan is in the midst of his Terrible Twos and acting like any other rambunctious boy would. Apparently Declan was an anomaly, a sweet-natured boy who seemed to grasp things much more quickly than Ronan. When Declan was wronged, he cried. When Ronan is wronged, he attacks.

So of course, my fear is that Ronan's problems are the result of bad parenting, and that 20 years down the road I'll be bailing him out of jail/meeting his pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend/seeing his picture on TV (for any reason, really) and instead of asking myself, "Where did I go wrong?" I'll say, "I knew this was coming for 20 years."

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