Is My Son a Naughty Child?

As a teacher, I have seen my fair share of naughty children.

Children who lit up a cigarette in the reception area at school whilst waiting to be sent home after being excluded.

Children who shouted “fish and chips!” repeatedly at a Chinese teacher during a lesson.

And I have lived in fear of that being my child.

“Don’t worry,” my teacher friends reassured me.  “Your child will never be like that.  They will be YOUR child, and you’re not like that, so why would they be?”

I don’t know, I would mumble.  His genetic father, perhaps?  When you have a donor-conceived child, there’s no way of knowing the character of half of those genes they have inherited.  I could have spawned the child of Beelzebub himself, for all I knew.

Now obviously I wouldn’t expect my son to be exactly like me, nor would I wish him to be, but as the old adage goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree, and by the age of eighteen months, I was impressing my babysitter by articulating my thoughts on the latest episode of Panorama.  Admittedly, my actual words were something along the lines of “Nanny Maggie Thatcher, Maggie Thatcher my nanny,” meaning I thought Margaret Thatcher and my grandmother were somehow one and the same, but my point is, at eighteen months I could recognise and name the then prime minister.  Piglet couldn’t even recognise his own grandmother in an old photo today, let alone identify David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Theresa May in a rogues’ gallery of current Tory bell-ends politicians, as I suppose I would have been able to by his age.

In fact, Piglet does not seem to have much in common with me full stop.  Either the apple has indeed fallen far from the tree, or he has instead followed the genes of the mysterious donor.  His talents are of a different style.  I may have been a dab hand at identifying members of the Cabinet, but he could almost certainly take out the cabinet in the living room with a well aimed throw, whilst I couldn’t catch a ball until the age of at least ten.  I have watched with interest as he has grown, and started to develop into his own person, with his own preferences, and it has became clear that he likes things that I don’t. He likes cars, and Formula One, and running about.  He likes shouting and being rowdy and throwing things.

Yes, throwing things.  My beloved child likes throwing things.  Food, drinks, toys, books.  On the floor, across the floor, into my face.  

Yes, he likes pulling his arm back like a catapult, and launching his toys right at me.

I wouldn’t mind.  I mean, the occasional split lip, black eye and broken tooth I can live with.  It’s just, it’s just…….

The other day he did it at nursery.

It was my mother who picked him up.  She picked him up from nursery, as is the custom, only to be told that Piglet had been spoken to over his hazardous interest in throwing toys.  I felt my face grow hot with shame as I heard how my child, my own flesh and blood, had been told off for doing something naughty.  My son, the naughty child.

I had visions of myself sat in those endless meetings that I have sat through with naughty children; sad, disappointed, exasperated.  I had visions of the school advising me that it was probably for the best that my son be quietly removed from full-time education, that perhaps this school wasn’t the best one for his needs, that perhaps he would do better being home-schooled by his mother who works full time.  That it was such a shame as he had such potential, if he could only finish his GCSEs.  I imagined myself looking into the faces of the teachers and knowing what they were thinking; that it wasn’t fair that my wayward child was spoiling the education of others, disrupting classes, taking resources that rightfully belonged to the nicely brought up children, with their tidy pencil cases, scrubbed, wholesome faces and love of learning.

And it all started with a toy at nursery, thrown with force and intent.  A dangerous missile.

My mother’s face that night said it all.  She was judging me.  It was all because of me.  I hadn’t given him boundaries.  I was still breastfeeding him at almost two.  And not only that, but I was LETTING HIM CLOSE HIS EYES while he did so.  At 6pm!  That child will never go to sleep!  You’re making a rod for your own back.  He was TOLD OFF AT NURSERY TODAY, YOU KNOW!

And I worried.  I worried that I had created a monster; that things would slide from bad to worse, that we were on the fast track to permanent exclusion and a spell in borstal.

I worried that it was something that I had done.  Was it because I didn’t have him in a strict enough routine?  Am I going to be hauled off to a correction facility and forced to take a parenting course run by Gina Ford and Supernanny, in which I am taught the golden rules of parenting; bath, book and bedtime, every night at 6pm on the dot until the child finally capitulates and stops trying to escape from the bedroom and go down the stairs at 10pm?  And if I was by some miracle able to get Piglet to sleep at an hour considered by other parents to be “reasonable,” would all the other tricks of parenting just fall naturally into place?  Would I suddenly have a child who ate all meals presented to him without complaint, sat in a chair without climbing into a standing position and attempting to fling himself off the back of it, and never again stole Mummy’s new sunglasses and pulled them apart into a million pieces before hiding the evidence down the back of the sofa?

Only time will tell if my parenting has been good enough.  Only time will tell if I avoid being that parent in the meeting, being advised to quietly remove their child from full time education.  All I can do is my best, and if my best isn’t good enough for Supernanny then so be it.

I just hope we have no more bad behaviour at nursery.  Margaret Thatcher would NOT approve.


29 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m pretty sure that doing the best you can is the best parenting style going around. Piglet is at the age where he will be throwing and defying all rules because he is learning about boundaries. It doesn’t mean he will be a naughty kid. I’m very impressed you could name the members of cabinet at 18 months! #triballove

    1. Min says:

      I know-I think I must have been some sort of weird genius child! Hopefully it is just a phase, and I am sure Piglet will grow out of it once he is old enough to understand boundaries. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Oh Min, this really made me feel for you and in my attempt to make you feel a tiny bit better and fill you with hope that there is light – at age 7, after my daughter’s first session at Brownies, Brown Owl uttered those heart stopping words to a mother “could I have a word?” – I was then asked not to bring my daughter back to Brownies as her behaviour was not good enough, She was 7! I was mortified! Anyway, we dealt with it, we learnt from it and, Min, she is a wonderful, gorgeous, totally adapted teen who I am super proud of! Your son will be totally fine too – you’re his mum and you are brilliant at what you do! xx

    1. Min says:

      Oh no what a nightmare! I’m sure it happens to all kids at some point. Hopefully Piglet’s getting it out of the way early, and by the time he turns two (in a few weeks) he’ll be perfectly behaved. Haha! Thanks for commenting. x

  3. Ohlucy says:

    I think everyone questions that at some point. I did just the other day when Mini decided to repeatedly kick me in the thigh, in M&S no less! I though “how on earth do I teach my one year old child not to kick me, she doesn’t even understand no, she thinks this is a game!” She soon lost interest when I moved away from her highchair but it sure enough stuck in my mind! I think at this age they are just trying to work out their boundaries by pushing them though, they don’t yet quite know right from wrong despite knowing the opening 4 notes of the twirly woos, and throwing is fun! Mini has recently mastered the art of throwing, and she thinks it’s fab!

    You are doing just great Min, he’s just learning! Lucy xx #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Yes, I think he is sometimes seeing how much he can get away with, especially when he hits me, I tell him no and he does it again, with added giggling! Thanks for commenting. x

  4. It’s a difficult one isn’t it – I think we all feel that huge sense of shame if our children do something naughty, but the thing that really stands out for me in your post is your point about still breastfeeding at nearly two. Not the breastfeeding bit, but the nearly two bit. Your son is little, he’s just a toddler and is still learning boundaries. I’m sure that he will learn that throwing is not okay as he gets a bit bigger and you sound like you are an amazing mum. You know your son better than anyone and I have no doubt that you are doing the best you can to be the parent he needs. #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Thanks Louise, that’s such a lovely comment. I think I needed to hear that! xx

  5. Oh Min! Piglet isn’t naughty! He is a typical toddler. I have observed countless episodes of the behaviour you describe in J’s friends. I have seen toddlers push, thump, snatch, hit, throw, bite, play with electrical sockets, scratch, pinch and throw themselves on the floor. Do I believe that all these children are going to grow up to be naughty children? Of course not! They are just learning and being normal toddlers and boys. Boys like cars and wheels and being physical. Maybe Piglet is a future cricketer in the making. Let him develop his talent (not naughtiness) give him a range of balls and let him throw them in the garden. The only thing he needs to learn (which he will in time) is where and when his behaviour is acceptable. As for routines. He is your child and you know what is best for him, not Gina Ford, or even your mother! You are a fabulous mother! Stop beating yourself up xx

    1. Min says:

      I am hoping he is a future cricketer in the making. He is certainly interested in throwing things, and seems to be very accurate with his aim as well! I’m glad to hear that this is all normal-I thought it was, but my mother is convinced that I was some sort of angel as a child and never ceases reminding me!

  6. Piglet is not naughty! He sounds like a typical and very happy and healthy toddler. I think you are being too hard on yourself! I would rather have a spirited child than some robot clone. Well that is what I tell myself when Youngest is screaming in the middle of the supermarket and showing her general outrage that I won’t spend money on a magazine. The fact that you are thinking about it and questionning yourself shows that you are a fantastic parent because you care and as long as we care for them and show them love then they will be ok. I hope! xx
    Ps love that you thought Maggie was your nan! 🙂

    1. Min says:

      I suspected that this was the case, and am always trying to tell my mother that it is just normal toddler behaviour. Thanks for commenting, and yes, I was convinced that Maggie was my nan. They had similar hairstyles! x

  7. Yvonne says:

    All little ones push the boundaries, they are just seeing what they can and cannot do and I think they are all a little bit naughty. I picked my little ones up on Monday, to be told they had flooded the bathroom (very long story). I was horrified but the teacher said, kids will be kids! Don’t worry, I think the fact you are even worried about it, says to me that your little one will be fine 🙂 #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Yes, you’re totally right. I just panic and over-think things! Thanks for commenting.

  8. You’re putting too much pressure on yourself children go through phases and they like to test. He’ll grow out of throwing things, don’t worry and having a son and a daughter boys are definitely more boisterous too but also very cuddly xx

    1. Min says:

      Yes, everyone says that. I’ve got nothing to compare him with but I’m sure that’s the case. Thanks for commenting. x

  9. Oh Min I really felt for you reading this…but Piglet is just a toddler and doesn’t realise his strength I’m sure. I was talking to another Mum about this the other day as Emma is quite strong and often nudges another child and they topple over. She also most definitely tries to bang toys on other kids heads…I think they are testing the boundaries all the time. You’re an amazing Mum and doing great 🙂 x #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Thanks Bridie. I know he’s fine really. It’s just hard when I’ve got my mum constantly implying that he’s some sort of n’er do well and it’s all my fault!

  10. Alicia Owen says:

    Hopefully it is just his age. I think most (if not all) children at that age are kind of jerks. Heck, my older daughter is 3 1/2 and she still has her moments. Her attitude is getting better, though. Best of luck!

    1. Min says:

      I’m sure you’re right. I will keep you posted!

  11. Aww… bless you and him. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Really – from what I know and meet so far – 2 years old throw things at people. It is unfortunately that it was a car toy – solid hard and metal perhaps? My girl was pulling a long piece of form away from my 11months old niece today. My girl own the tug of war, but my poor niece was plunged face forward into the granite flooring. It was a bit hard to swallow. Luckily no harm done – I can’t do anything else expect to repeatedly tell her that it was wrong. We can only be the best parent that we could be – so really do be too heard on yourself. xx

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Thanks Su. Yes, I think I am almost certainly overreacting, mainly based on my mother’s opinions! I’m sure they will all grow up to be just fine.

  12. SARAH ASLETT says:

    Oh kids do naughty things – its part and parcel of being a kid – don’t worry so much about it. My son is nearly 3, his whole life revolves around ‘testing his boundaries’ – his current weird behavior is to run up to someone and lick them just to find out who will let him get away with it or not. Imagine how embarrassing that is lol! I think you sound like a great Mum and you should tell your own Mother to chill out a bit #stayclassymama

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I literally spend my life telling my mother to chill out-and she spends hers telling me I am too soft! Love the fact that your son tries to lick strangers. Hilarious-and makes me feel a lot better about mine!

  13. I don’t have any advice for you! R is 1 and throws stuff at me, crawls away from me, ignores me… I worry he’s going to be a “handful” when he gets bigger. All I can do is be there for him and talk to him about things! Fingers crossed hey!? #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Ditto! I’m sure we’ll both be fine and it’s just normal toddler behaviour.

  14. Both my children are donor conceived although via known donor… I just happen to know that he was a naughty boy while at school. I reassure myself that his behaviour was as a result of a really disrupted home life (eeek I hope). Genes are only one piece of the puzzle and it sounds like you are doing a fabulous job of putting the jigsaw together, as Piglet sounds wonderfully normal to me! ? Xx

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. Yes, he’s pretty normal so far. Long may it continue! It does make me wonder though, but you’re right, genes are only part of the puzzle and hopefully our kids will have lovely stable home lives so it will be fine.

  15. Hee hee – yes I actually used to feel extra pressure when my son misbehaved and then people found out I was a teacher too – it’s like it somehow represented what happened in my classroom when it certainly does not!!! My twins are going through the hitting (and one of them is biting – eek!!!) stage at the moment and it can be mortifying but I think we all realise that they all have it in them to do it and hopefully it is just a phase! I did used to hate being told that my child had been naughty at nursery though – it made me realise how uncomfortable parents feel when I email them about their child’s behaviour in lessons! x

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