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Saturday, June 11, 2011

You Better Work!


Nathan has been having a hard time transitioning from school to summer. This is not new, as every year he has experienced this crazy making time where his moods just seem to shift out of no where. This year seems to be more difficult, as the events are becoming more frequent as we get closer to the end. 
Today as I was coming from my work, having to deal with a foul mouthed 6 year old who was spouting swears to anyone within ear shot; I drive up to get Nate. He's screaming and howling, holding onto the gazebo and hitting his head against it. I'm immediately zoned in and trying to get his attention. The person who's watching him is clearly overwhelmed and not sure what to do. I use the "firm" mom voice to get Nathan's attention. He's able to look at me and he's sweaty, filthy and tearstained. He starts a deep moaning sound as he cries. He's screeching how he "sucks" at this game and how he'll never get it right and how he should just "kill himself forever".

Fortunately, we had to go to see his therapist, which was so needed. He's been so off kilter lately. Lots of issues at school, and at his afterschool program, usually involving a meltdown of some degree. I went through all the possibilities
 in my head, wondering what the hell was the problem. As I reviewed all the past issues and his demeanor at home, I came to the conclusion that it was purely behavioral. Nate was having full blown rotten awful behavior. It was affecting him at school, at home and pretty much anywhere else he was. And it needed to stop. 

I saw his work ethic at school, which was really poor. He was doing the absolute minimum required, which was like scraping the bottom of the barrel. He wasn't practicing his recorder. I know I know, who does, but he was saying, "Well it's not HOMEWORK, so I don't have to do it!" and doing the epileptic seahorse routine he does when he has to do something he doesn't want to do. His writing prowess had diminished, as he was not practicing at home, and not having a lot of opportunities to do it here. With no 1:1 at school, and him not the best at keeping track of his work, it's no wonder I was left in the dark half the time. 

Home wasn't much better, as he would roll his eyes at any little request. Asking him to pick up his laundry would get me a dramatic intake of breath and then him saying that I was the worst mother in the world. Giving him a talking clock to remind him of the end of video game time would have catastrophic consequences, where I was truly worried my neighbors were thinking I was tearing Nathan apart with my teeth. 

Nathan was expecting the world on a platter. And for the most part, the world would give it to him. But he needs to know that is NOT the case. He was making my job as a parent REALLY difficult. The Mom Hammer had to come down. 

In the car on the way to therapy, I had the hardest conversation I've ever had with my son. I told him that I loved him so much, and that I wanted him to succeed. In order for him to do that, he had to put in the work. When you work at something, you will succeed. When you do your work, you get privileges. When you put work into practicing a skill, no matter what it is, you will get better. I told him that his work ethic was poor. I told him that he needs to learn how to do things on his own and that the best time to do it is now, while he's young. I told him that if he continues on this path of doing the least amount of work possible, that he will get the least amount of results possible.

I told him that he will fail. Fail a whole bunch. I told him that life is hard and sometimes life really SUCKS. I reminded him that he needs to make these good choices now, which will help him during the times when life sucks. I told him that regardless of all the rules & regulations, I loved him and was proud of him.

His therapist was very sympathetic about our situation and was very patient with Nate when we got there. We had a good conversation about what our expectations are, and to use our words when we need to communicate to each other. We left in a much better place than when we started. 

I know there will be so many more times like this. A broken record for when he gets older, and emotions get more complicated. I know that he loves me, even when he says I'm the worst mother ever. It's hard juggling so many occupational plates at once, when I want it to be so easy. I will never have that Easy Blue Plate Special. Nobody will. We all better work, like RuPaul. With a little faith and a lot of fabulousness, we can succeed. 

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