Fall woods

Fall woods

Friday, October 10, 2014

On The Other Hand...

I've written a lot lately about how well Thing Two is doing academically.  It's fabulous...he's finally making up some ground.  That said, he's also going through a rough patch right now behaviorally.  Mostly with me, thank God (in the sense that I'd rather him be a raging asshole to me than his teacher, for example) but it gets really old.  Yeah, I understand that I'm a safe place for him to vent and all that shit because he knows that I will love him no matter what, but FUCK it all, I'm done dealing with it.  Kid is giving me whiplash lately with the mood swings and he hasn't even hit puberty yet.  And clearly he does have some control with it, because he only pulls this stuff at home.

He actually took off his backpack and threw it on the way up to the house from the bus today because he was pissed off about having to go to the library before picking Thing One up at soccer.  Fortunately, he tossed it onto the lawn and not at somebody, I will give him that much credit.  And he was immediately penitent, so much so that I was sad to have to follow through with my decision not to take the kids out to dinner as a result of this tantrum...not sure what else to call it.  We'll try again tomorrow. I will say in my own defense that I did not raise my voice at any point and that this may have been one of my crowning achievements as a mother to date, since I REALLY wanted to lose my shit.

Himself is out of town now, and will be gone more or less straight for about two weeks between the trip he's on now and an upcoming business trip.  We'll see how this stretch of single parenthood goes. If any of you are so inclined, I'd greatly appreciate some prayers for patience!

10 comments:

  1. How old is he? Sure, throwing his backpack seems immature for him, but ... at his age, the son of my friends was threatening to kill his parents and burn down the house. No diagnosed behavioral issues, just "normal" growing pains. Um ...

    Anyway, my point is - I know that his behaviors are frustrating and annoying, but they could be - and are for so many parents - much, much worse.

    Can't tell you how many parents said to me, their child's teacher, "This child you're describing, we thought s/he was lost because s/he is such a monster with us." Yeah, they know.

    And for the two parents (out of how many thousand? who said, "We dont' know why he acts out in your class. He never acts like that at home." LIARS. You just weren't paying attention to your children AT ALL.

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  2. And I didn't mean to minimize the frustration at all - I just mean, "Your kids are great. They're kids, and they're great."

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  3. He's 9 now. I know that throwing a backpack in and of itself isn't that bad (especially compared to threats to kill parents and burn houses down--eeek!!) but his reflex in almost every situation at home is to say "no" or "I don't want to," so everything is a struggle. Thank God the other two are easygoing or I would be insane. This isn't clinically defiant territory...I suspect that he feels like he has only limited control over his own life most of the time (in the sense that he has to do things he really doesn't want to do like homework and speech therapy.) He sucks it up at school because he knows he has to but tries to get some of that control back at home. I can understand and sympathize, really I can, but it hurts that the person he takes all this shit out on is me since I have been the person working hardest to help him since the problem was identified. I'm the adult and I can be the bigger person, but some days it just sucks to be the target (he does not take out his frustrations on my husband.) Personality-wise, we are two of a kind and I know this is part of the problem as well. In the grand scheme of things this is small potatoes and progress is being made on all fronts...I need to keep my focus there and try to breathe deeply when sorely tried. He isn't a monster, he's just a very frustrated little boy.

    Oh, and for the record (you'll like this as a teacher...) I'm the parent who goes in saying "I know what my kid's issues are; tell me what I can do to help you deal with them." I've told every one of Thing One's teachers for the past seven years that his maturity and his brain are in two different places and to expect this very smart kid to do some of the dumbest damned things they've ever seen! :)

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    1. Here's this - my godson's mom put up with all kinds of shenanigans when he was young. His behavior was sometimes really bad, from the perspective of me and his father and others, and we didn't understand why she didn't put down firmer boundaries. But she had a master plan - she knew that if she could avoid engaging with his extremely stubborn behavior that their relationship would strengthen. So she let a LOT roll off (something I wouldn't be able to do). Now that he's 16, those behaviors have mellowed soooo much, they are very close (she's whom he chooses to talk to when he has issues and questions about the world), he does excellent in school, doesn't engage in any of the negative teen behaviors like drinking, drugs (and there's sooooo much there in the suburbs) and sex, treats girls (many of his best friends) very respectfully, etc. I could not have imagined this, but because she put up with out-of-control toddler and child behavior, since hitting puberty it's like the switch flipped with him. If she had been firmer, he would have turned on her and he would probably be doing hard drugs by now. He's that stubborn by nature.

      Your son's behaviors aren't forever. You're putting in the time now for greater rewards later. And seriously - he's making such tremendous strides in so many areas, that is the good place to put focus. I think it's so hard to do when you're with him - like my friends with an autistic daughter, they see all the problems, and I have to regularly remind them how far she has come and is continuing to come, that she's happy and engaged and has a wicked funny sense of humor, etc etc. I lived with them for weeks and only ever saw one meltdown and it was so minor and deflected - but they live in constant fear of her meltdowns because that's how it was five years ago. They aren't able to adjust to the new reality which is very different - and isn't that how we all are? That we can't see even large changes when we're with the person every day?

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    2. I think you hit the nail right on the head. My reactions are more to the kid that was than the kid that is now, since I am with him all the time and it's harder for me to see changes. His behavior was so awful for so long (and he was so behind in every way) that I often react as I would have back when the issues were far worse. One example: he completely melted down and 2 or 3 because I had to make an unscheduled stop to pick up doughnuts on the way to his school. I mean complete, total meltdown. Now he can roll with a different schedule every day with a little warning and/or having it written on the kitchen whiteboard for him, and he's blowing third grade out of the water academically while four years ago I was terrified that he'd fail out of kindergarten. I need to give him more credit than I do...maybe if I can figure out a way for us to quit butting heads it would work! Letting things go isn't easy for me but it's probably a decent approach for him...food for thought.

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    3. I think that's a super common thing (reacting to who somebody used to be) in family and I have no idea how to get over it, but it seems that it could be helpful if you could figure it out (you're also struggling with Thing 1's changes, as they hit you in your face). What if you went on a vacation without the kids? You mentioned that before.

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  4. How I wish...one of these days I will. It's a matter of logistics...weekends around here tend to require the presence of both parents to get everyone where they need to be. A step back would be good but is difficult to take at this stage of the game. :(

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    1. Sounds like your in-laws have been happy to step up when necessary. Because friend, "this stage of the game" is probably going to be your stage for years to come. Nobody will think you selfish if you plan some self-care along the way. (Hey, your husband gets to come to New Orleans each year, why not you??)

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  5. Unfortunately, my in-laws are snowbirds and are far south six months a year...makes it a little more complicated. I could use them this coming weekend in a big way but they are already gone. They really are great, though: I am not knocking them. I try not to resent my husband's trips and generally I succeed, but not always. I do have some free time during the days now at least, which he doesn't--he goes from work to kid activities to bed. Part of the issue (and how unfair is it, really??) is that coordinating a girls' trip is always harder than coordinating a boys' trip. I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit and I think I may see if I can take a long weekend and go visit my mother's sisters...they are within a reasonable drive and we are close.

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