What if I don’t like my kid?

I sometimes struggle accepting my kid the way he is. I want him to be himself but deep down I have thoughts about how he could be different. From the bottom of my heart I want him to thrive, but what I seem to forget time after time is that what I think will make him thrive, may not at all. Why? Because quite simply, he’s not me.

But let’s face it, we don’t always like our parents, siblings, friends or partners. So why should it be different with our off-spring? We don’t need to like our kids 100%, I don’t know if it’s weird if you do but I say it’s normal if you don’t. The question here is: what do you do with what you don’t like about your kid? Do you judge it? Do you try to change it? Do you let it be?

Let me just clarify that I’m not talking about things like your toddler painting all over the walls with non-washable crayons. I haven’t yet met any parent that loves that. I’m talking about instances where I go: why doesn’t he want to play in the mud with his friends? Or splash in the pool? Or smile? Why doesn’t he smile?…Oh dear, could he be depressed at 3?

God, am I a freak?

Anyone who lives with young children though (or adults for that matter), knows that they change; like we all do. Kids sleep 8 hrs straight one night (do they?)and wake up a million times the next; eat loads one day and nothing the other; hate snow one day and love it the next (here’s me hoping!). So, all the time spent trying to get your kid to be a certain way is wasted because he/she may actually turn out to be the way you want in the end. Lol.

In all seriousness though, I don’t think I’m responsible for liking everything about my son. He’s a gift, I didn’t choose him. I’ve been lent him for I don’t know how many years, but certainly no for forever. What I’m responsible for 100% is supporting him in finding out who he is. Now, let’s face it, we all struggle and we all mess up as parents and in the end life goes on. My son won’t depend on me forever and one day he will hopefully realize that he doesn’t need my approval or anyone else’s to find his inner truth. So let’s not panic.

I am moved to write about this though, because I sense I’m not alone here. I consider myself a gentle and sensitive mum who also (and annoyingly) doubts her kid frequently – is he normal? – and that doesn’t sit well with me. Shit. What did I just write? I’ve just realized that the reason doubting my kid doesn’t sit well with me is that it has nothing to do with my kid but everything to do with me. In doubting my kid, I’m actually doubting myself. Of course that doesn’t sit well.

How do I know this? Well, it’s a fine line, isn’t it? Of course I should listen and trust my instincts when something doesn’t feel right, but I’m talking about taking this ‘curiosity’ or ‘concern’ to an extreme. I can sometimes constantly wonder if my kid is normal. Or should I say, if I am normal. Hmm, I need therapy.

I need to freaking slow down so my head can stop spinning like a washing machine. But I admit the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a parent so far is letting go of the idea that I can be an ‘almost perfect’ mother. I say ‘almost’ because of course nobody can be perfect. But ‘almost perfect’ is equally deceitful. (I blame the million articles on parenting that appear on my FB feed daily!)

I’m not perfect, which means I sometimes dislike my kid. That’s ok. I’m convinced he doesn’t like everything about me either. So basically, there’s no issue on that front. The issue lies on how I react to whatever he is that clashes with my intelectualizad view of how he ‘should’ be.

Let’s just leave the children in peace. THEY are the teachers.

Here’s my boy having a shower. About a month ago we started going to swimming lessons. My boy would not get near the water. The teacher then told him: it’s just like having a bit bath! Hmm the wrong thing to say I’m afraid. This little man has hated baths since he was tiny. Lol.

We also started going to to forest school my boy and I. On the first day my son didn’t want to try anything new and the response of the leaders was gold: ‘you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, when you feel ready let us know’. He was ready a second later. He knew he didn’t have anything to prove there so he felt safe to ‘fail’.


Stencils Dilemma 

My kid: This is a car mummy.  I like this car mummy. It’s my favourite. 

Me: Nice. But I think I prefer your ones. 

(basically thinking ‘what have I done?’ I know I might be overthinking but it was really clear to me. He liked that with the stencil he could get a perfectly ‘clear’ and good looking car or tractor or whatever, as opposed to when he paints them without a pattern. I’m not belittling his satisfaction. It was pleasant to see him happy but it was heartbreaking too. If I want to embrace my son’s uniqueness, I better start by supporting his own creations and owning his pattern).

Because you held me…

My boy: I know you wish that by now I’d be able to sleep on my own. I can mama. I can sleep on my own just fine but since you’ve always come when I’ve called you, doing it this way feels home to me. Thank you mama, I’m grateful you’ve run to me every time I’ve panicked when I sleep. I feel lucky you’ve had the time, the patience and the energy to rock me, nurse me, and sing to me even if you’ve felt like you’ve had none. I know you’ve found it hard, I’ve seen you get angry, frustrated and cry. I don’t understand the words ‘there’s nothing to worry about’, but they always make sense when you’re holding me tight. Hold on to me mama because one day I will fly. I can see the world. I see it and I want it. I’m not ready to let go off you yet mama, but one day I will. And I will because you held me. 

30 DAYS TO TRANSFORM YOUR PLAY – Identifying an Interest 


Day 4. Task: Create a very simple exploration based on your observation of what he wants to know. Go slowly. Don’t fill their space with resources and activities. Explore together; respect his process, resist taking over. Allow the exploration to unfold at the child’s pace.
Well, THAT was challenging! I had to stay in today so I consciously decided to step back and observe my child play. What I found myself doing like ALL THE TIME was stopping myself from intervening and saying NO. I realized two important things: a) I’m more of a control freak than I thought, and b) Life is definitely less stressful when you put your (always urgent, always important) to-do list on the side. Luken wanted to paint, obviously not on paper. He wanted to climb, obviously not on the slide. He wanted to throw, obviously not balls. I didn’t let him throw cars at walls or whatever (boundaries are respectful I think) but when I paused and observed, I didn’t see naughtiness, I saw genuine question marks on his face. Perhaps he wants to see what it’s like to paint on different surfaces? Perhaps his body is ready for bigger obstacles to climb on? Perhaps he’s quite simply challenging himself? Isn’t that learning? Isn’t that growing? Don’t we adults also challenge ourselves? Unless we’ve lost all interest in life whatsoever which I have at times. Recently. Sleep. Deprived.
This process is ongoing. But my favourite bit of today was choosing not to tidy up and not letting my mind interfere in the fun. The boring stuff can almost always wait. But making memories can’t. 

#makeitcount #respectfulparenting #emiliareggio #emiliareggioinspired #transformingplay #aneverydaystory #toddler #toddlerplay

30 DAYS TO TRANSFORM YOUR PLAY – Improving a Play Space


Day 3. Task: Think about how your child plays and make changes to their play area which will support this play.
This is what I noticed: 🤔

1. Luken’s 1st activity: climb on table. Happy Days.

2. He likes sorting things by colour and number.

3. He loves adult jobs, eg washing. 

4. He can make the most out of a mess. 🌟
What I did: 🥊

1. Removed the huge coffee table we had and brought down his climbing blocks. I brought in a smaller table for him to paint/draw/eat etc.

2. Changed location of his building blocks, paint pots etc, so he can see them easily to sort them out.

3. Let him wash stuff that can’t break. He actually did a good job, especially with juice and milk cartons.

4. I accidentally dropped dry spaghetti on the floor, like all of it and he loved breaking each stick into little pieces and then putting them inside a glass bottle. Good to practise fine motor skills. AND I didn’t have to tidy up either! 🌟
What I learnt? 🤓 – Observe and listen. No point telling him off for climbing on the table, he was clearly telling me something: I like climbing! Climbing is a perfectly awesome skill.

– Screw the order of things. No point having toys perfectly tidy and perfectly hidden, they’re there to be used.

– A toddler is a person like you and me, not a little creature who doesn’t have a clue about life and therefore needs to be excluded from adult tasks.

– Get over the mess. Something good comes out of the bad. Always.

#respectfulparenting #emiliareggio #emiliareggioinspired #transformingplay #aneverydaystory #toddler #toddlerplay #playroom #toddlerplayroom



DAY 2: Cull Toys. “Task: sort through all your children’s toys; decide which one’s you are going to keep, donate and trash”. Although this wasn’t easy, my motivation was strong so I enjoyed it. Gathered so many toys I put into three big bags and off they went to charity. Previously I had been disappointed that Luken hadn’t shown the slightest interest in his kitchen. This afternoon, he played there for about 15 mins on his own making all sorts of drinks and getting everything wet and fun. Coincidence? I hope not. 

#nurseryprep #emiliareggio #emiliareggioinspired #transformingplay #playarea #playroom #toddlerplay #toddlerplayroom #aneverydaystory #culltoys #gettingridoftoys



DAY 1: Why do you want to make changes to the way you approach your child’s play?
Basically, I am a firm believer in play as being one of the most enriching ways to not only learn but enjoy life and rejoice in the gift of freedom. However, our current ‘play environment’ at home isn’t working. We recently moved house and a few weeks ago I posted a photo of my dream playroom, basically a yellow room (literally) with all sorts of colourful toys with easy access for my toddler to reach. But does he play with any of them? No. None. Only if I take one of them out and even then he only plays with it for a really short time. Apart from when we have play dates, my little man’s toys are nothing but cool decor in my eyes. But this really isn’t the reason why our ‘play environment’ isn’t working. It isn’t working because I can feel my little one itching to play differently. He either wants to climb, throw, or run and the way things are currently set up at home at the moment doesn’t allow for much of that to happen. He loves the garden, exploring the outdoors and visiting new places and although we do plenty of that, it’d be nice if he could also feel free to play at home (within safety and personal family boundaries of course). So there! That’s the answer to the question. Roll on Day 2! 

#nurseryprep #readyfornursery #gettingreadyfornursery #emiliareggio #littlebarnowls #horsham #toddler #emiliareggioinspired #toddlerplay #aneverydaystory #attachmentparenting