Aka: How to Not Kill Your Kid
Wednesday, May 17th 2017
I definitely wanted to throttle my first born yesterday (Tuesday at Grandma’s). Somehow I narrowly avoided that treachery and settled on proverbially ripping him a couple new a$$holes instead.
Stressful as it all was -especially the behavior that inspired it- as the event receded in time I sensed a distinct LACK of weight on my shoulders or crushing sensation in my chest where I WOULD have had I not avoided physically clobbering him.
At any rate;
Daddy and I agree we’ve had a great 6 month run or something with practically no problems with either of the kids. And if there is a Golden Rule of parenting, it is that whatever you finally figure out… it will CHANGE. So it’s changing now, which is unsettling, but appropriate. So it’s time to go back to the drawing board and open up any and all channels for help, support and perspective.
And I’ll be damned if the universe didn’t provide a 7-stop journey for me to possibly arrive exactly where I needed to.
1) The first mom to swap notes with me assured me that attitudinal changes easily begin at 9 years old. How she dealt with hers was by offering to step off on demands of him along with offering to withdraw any number of household services of his choosing. e.g.: Would you like to take over the magical service that makes clean folded clothes appear in your dresser? Or planning meals, getting to the store, shopping for food, paying for it, preparing it, etc. etc.?
Note: FWIW, currently 13 years old, her son is already an extraordinary, articulate, caring, lovely and -get this- civically engaged young man whom I personally admire. Swoon.
2) Next was the sweet older-ish man -in his 60’s I’d say- at the restaurant where I work. Simple as he was sweet (literally the first truly naive and innocuous Chrumpf supporter I have ever met), his mother raised him to be taken care of. I guess she prepared him to be taken care of by any future lady in his life. Which is perhaps why she is still taking care of him to this day. He said it’s just boys’ nature to try to do as little as possible.
Note: On the outside I’m like, “Oh that’s nice.” On the inside I’m all, “Oh HELL NO!”
3) I am reminded of the comportment and work ethic of the two mormon boys I once let in the house years ago. After determining that I am already satisfied with my existing relationship with god, they politely wished me well and asked HOW THEY COULD HELP AROUND THE HOUSE before they go. It’s part of the requirement of their year-long mission together. I was young and didn’t need any help, but how fantastic, should-be-normal amazeballs is it that they simply always ask?
Note: Why shouldn’t Young lend their youth, strength and energy to those whose paths they cross as a normal part of our daily culture?
3) Discussing with my husband I realize that if one day my 16 year old son is invited to dinner at his girlfriends -or anyone else’s house- he had BETTER get his but up and help with dishes etc. THAT is the end game, say by 18 years of age.
Note: Our boy is nine. We are half way to legal adulthood. (Deep breaths!)
4) This morning -young Mr. Hyde rearing his head after a truceful Dr. Jekylly night- I pathetically ask our beloved bus driver to please let me know if he sees my son again, bla bla bla. He gave me a sly look and said, “You have to understand mom.. this when it starts!” Attitude stuff at this age is normal yada yada. I say so okay, what’s the appropriate response then?! Another smile as he refers to himself in the third person for the first time I have seen and says, “Well, Mr. Tyrell hasn’t worked that one out yet. I’ll let you know though!” And off roars the beloved yellow bus.
Note: How do we love Mr. Tyrell? Let us count the ways.
5) Turning to my fellow bus stop mom, she offers shockingly sound advice; i) decide your message so he feels the security of you knowing what you’re doing, ii) don’t get upset with him when he withdraws his affection, it has to be okay either way and, iii) you just need to be regular ol’ rock steady, still there unconditional love mama.
Note: Or as I described it in text to DH:
6) Rad work ninja friend mom reaches out to me with concern and support. Points out that trying to put on some kind of expert front may not always be a good idea. Also shares anecdote when her daughter’s 4th grade teacher allowed the kids to sign themselves out to go to the bathroom and back in, documenting time with the analog clock on the wall.
Note: I somehow realize that taking focus OFF unwanted behaviors and focusing ON facilitating the desired sensation of “freedoms” may well resolve the behaviors.
7) All the while I have been in communication with our wonderful School Adjustment Counselor, which more than anything helped me keep my bearings, track the madness as it was happening and -perhaps most importantly- keep me from feeling out of control. Also made doctor appointments made for celebratory round of physical and mental check-ups.
Note: Praise god and country for the access we still have to our public schools and health care. Curses upon those who would revoke it.
STAY TUNED for the scintillating conclusion of this chapter of Parenting Adventures.