I had an entirely different post planned for today, almost completely written out in my head on my way home this afternoon. I'll still probably do that one later this week, but when I got home today and was accosted by the neighbor before I had even gotten both legs out of the truck....well, my mind went in a different direction.
I will be the first to admit that the majority of the time, I truly believe that being a parent is the absolute best thing in the world. I get to tell people what to do AND not only do they have to do it, they tell me they love me at the same time. However, there are other times when being a parent just plain sucks.
The times when I have to deal with neighbors squawking at me about how my son threw a rock at their baby, and how he could have been blinded. You know, those times when that son was supposed to have been inside the house, so how could he possibly have been out there throwing rocks? This child that had been specifically told to stay indoors, I wasn't going to be gone that long (don't judge.... he's almost 11, and should have been fine being alone for the 15 minutes it took me to run and pick up his brother from practice), and doesn't he always follow the rules?
Apparently not. Or the lure of throwing rocks at neighbor kids was simply too much to resist.
If this had been Jock, he'd just be disciplined and that would be the end of it. However, it's Bug. And Bug, while knowing he shouldn't have done something, even knowing at the moment he's doing it that he shouldn't be doing it, sometimes just can't control himself enough to NOT do it. And then, as if the lack of control wasn't hard enough, he proceeds to mentally beat himself up over it. Which, more often than not, degenerates into a really ugly emotional breakdown of natural disaster proportions. And with the medication he's been on recently (which we are changing, thank Heavens), he's been revisiting the moments where he calls himself "stupid", "worthless", and "bad". And asks questions concerning suicidal thoughts.
If you'll let me go off on a mini-tangent here, I absolutely LOATHE the medication he has been on for the last month. The changes in him are not good, and reminiscent of how he was pre-medication days. So, despite the extreme cost due to no insurance at the moment, we have decided to go back to his original medication. He goes back on that tomorrow. Please keep us in your thoughts that the transition is not too difficult on him.
So anyway, the neighbor mom starts in on me as soon as I pull into my driveway. According to witness kids, this little boy had started calling Bug names, which frustrated him when this kid wouldn't stop when asked, and so Bug threw a rock. According to Bug, he was just playing and throwing rocks. He didn't mean to hit him. But, hit him he did. Right below the eye, causing a small bubble to swell up. The eye itself did not swell closed, and there was no actual blood. The dad next door had a baggie of ice that he was working against this little swelling area, and really? Everything actually looked like it was going to be fine. You would think that the mom would quit squawking in my ear about how wrong it was to throw a rock, when I had already agreed with her. Several times. Finally, I just looked at her and told her "I get that. I'm agreeing with you. You're going to have to let me go and talk to him."
He was inside, and as soon as I walked in he burst into tears. Sobs, actually. It was very difficult to get anything out of him. It got worse when he heard that he was grounded for a week, and had to spend tonight in his room.
Before you fully form that opinion I can see from here about the discipline method, or the length of time we settled on, you need to understand something. Much as I do not like classifying him as such, Bug is special needs. Emotionally, he simply cannot handle more than what we did, and even that is difficult. He doesn't comprehend long term effects, but he is at an age where he has to start. It is a fine line to walk, having a child who lives with an extreme mood disorder. We do the best we can.
After the tears, his and mine, had run themselves out....I sat on his bedroom floor and pulled him into my lap. (No small feat, considering this kid is almost as tall as I am these days!) I just held him for a while, reminding him that I loved him. Reminding him that he is not "bad", just that he had made a poor choice in behaviors. He knows throwing rocks is wrong. It does nothing to remind him of that. What we focused on is how the situation would have played out differently if his CHOICE to go outside rather than follow the rules and stay inside had been different.
He needs to grasp that his behavior, his actions, his life all boil down to his choices. He chooses how to act, how to behave. Each choice has a consequence; some good, some not so good. Today, the consequence was not so good. That doesn't make him any less important or special; or any less loved or lovable.
Loving my son, no matter the behavior, is not a choice for me. Showing and telling him that, no matter the behavior, IS. If I can teach him nothing else in life, I want him to learn that our choices govern our futures, our relationships, and our own selves. My hope is that I am able to show him how to choose to spend so much time loving someone, especially yourself, that there simply isn't room for a choice that goes against that.