Sunday, February 22, 2009

Meltdowns Bring You Closer

So my son had a meltdown this weekend. He's not normally one to talk about his feelings, what's bothering him, and all that. So it's like the red head he is, once he's had enough he'll burst out. Of course his temper isn't really that bad. He's not a screamer, thrower, or anything like that. I have never had a problem with him except for a snotty attitude every so often.

So anyway- He gets very angry and usually will cool down on his own in his own way if you give him his space so he can take some time out for himself.. Well- he had a full blown meltdown- the curl in a ball act like a 3 year old crying we don't know why meltdown. It started because he was upset about a "dumb" rule we (Kirby and I) had added during a game, but he wouldn't tell us what the rule was he didn't like. I tried to ask him to explain it to me because I didn't understand and he just kept saying how stupid and dumb it was. It was very frustrating and I see red flags popping up all over-there are other issues going on- so I say we need to have a talk.

Not a bad talk, but a "we need to communicate because something's going on I don't know about and I need to help you" talk. So then he pitches the fit and says he hates the game and he's never going to play again- even though he'd been asking to play it all night. He clams up and won't talk to me or anyone. He's crying like a small child standing in the corner acting like a freaked out animal. We weren't yelling, he wasn't in trouble, he just started freaking out.

In fact, he hardly ever gets in trouble. He is usually a very good, well behaved (except fighting with his sister) child. I have no reason to punish him. Most of the time I ask him to do something he does it, or I mildly lecture him & problem is resolved because he understands and I have no reason to continue with discipline.

I see kids run around a crazy or throw tantrums all the time in supermarkets and stuff who's parents have no control- that isn't my child. Believe it or not, strangers in restaurants have come up to me to tell me how well behaved my children are- so I don't think it's a lack of discipline on my part... At least not that triggered this. Although I DO think he could use dome toughening up!

I DO know however, that there is NO discipline whatsoever at their dad's. They do whatever they want, get whatever they want, and as far as a manly father figure well I'll leave that up to him. My opinion- spoiling them doesn't build them into productive adults. But that is his prerogative. So I have to do what I can to make them into humble, caring, loving, appreciative people.

Anyway I got a little side tracked there. Kirby and I got a little too frustrated with this unreasonable behavior. Gavin does act too wimpy sometimes. He acts like he’s going to cry every time he wants to ask me a question and sometimes when he does get the courage to ask Kirby a question (like with homework) you do see a tear escape. So I’m not sure why he is so frightened and shy. I don’t know what brought on this childish whaling to the eldest child of the house.

My first thought was if you’re going to act like a baby then I’ll treat you like one. Then I thought well if you’re going to cry then I’ll give you something to cry about, but I knew that neither of those would work. Gavin has this knack of telling the other parent “how horrible” things are here and then I get text’s and worried e-mails because he blew something out of proportion- so I have to take into consideration that… Not that I care much about the ex’s opinion when I know he can’t handle anything I do- but it is annoying to have your parenting skills constantly 2nd guessed when you’re only getting half of the story- and half of that half for that matter.

So I told Gavin to go to his room while Kirby and I talked. Kirby was really quite upset by Gavin’s outburst. Gavin was acting like an animal (I know it’s redundant I keep saying that, but I don’t know how else to describe the behavior) . It was as if he were a stranger and we were beating him- when all we tried to do was talk to him about a rule he didn’t like on a game.

With him being the oldest child he gets some extra privileges (like staying up late) and he should also be allowed other privileges, like helping adjust “dumb” rules to games. If we know what they are. Most of the times we have implemented rules it is for the benefit of the younger kids- not necessarily to make things harder or more difficult for him. We aren’t mean and out to get him.

So we calmly went into his room and had a nice long talk with him. Kirby explained to Gavin that he gets to do stuff with him he can’t with Josh. He isn’t going to take his dad’s place and he doesn’t want to, but he does want to be a good step dad. I took my turn explaining that he doesn’t have to be scared to talk to us. We aren’t going to laugh, make fun, or go tell his sister stuff he wants to tell us. We told him he can tell us anything. I’m his mom, I know lots of stuff and if he doesn’t want to talk to me because I’m a girl he can talk to his dad, Kirby, or even Sara (his dad’s girlfriend). I don’t want him to feel alone and scared to talk to us or other grown ups.

We told him it isn’t good to keep things bottled inside you. If you have problems you need to face them. Even if they are silly and you’re working on your homework and you forget what 1+1 is you shouldn’t be scared to ask. We are grown ups and we are here to help. We will never laugh or get in trouble if he needs help.

He confessed a great fear he’s had for a while and we talked about it (no I’m not telling you, sorry). Apparently some kids at school and the Y are talking about this certain thing and it has gotten him super freaked out. It wasn’t the rule to the drawing game he didn’t like, but it was a good start.

And he suddenly became super chatty the rest of the night talking about all these other things going on at school, his friends, and lots of stuff.

Lesson: Patience does pay off, and sometimes a different, positive approach. Perhaps I should follow my own advice? Sometimes the parent can learn a lot through thier children, such as not to bottle things inside. It was a good lesson for all. I just need to make sure I am more open to him and provide him more opportunities on "his turf" to talk to me. Let him be in control, instead of me demanding the information.

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