Getting Through the Rough Patches
We are going through an interesting transition in our household that we didn’t quite expect. The other night I actually got so overwhelmed that I got into bed in tears after tucking my son in for the night. I had punished him that evening by taking away his electronics privileges and he did not take it well at all. My son does not have fits very often…this is in comparison to his sisters, who have them every five minutes…but when he does, they are pretty intense. I had punished him because he had failed to get a passing grade on his spelling test twice. He had spent a couple of hours of the day, when I had told him specifically to study his spelling, and not done anything at all. I knew that this was the case, and that he was totally capable of passing the test if he simply focused and put in a minimal amount of effort, hence the punishment. I was proven right the next morning after he spent ten minutes studying and passed the test just like that. The punishment worked one hundred percent effectively, but man was it hard on me.
My daughters are both already acing like they are sixteen, and then there is my son, who isn’t maturing as quickly as the girls are. This is absolutely typical for a boy. I am totally ready for my son to be a teenager. I got along great with my teenaged foster boys. Boys get easier and girls get harder and I think that I am stuck right in the middle…heads up for anyone who has girls and boys all around the same age. There seems to be a squeeze right here in the middle for our family, and we are going to have to be very creative to make it through to the other side with minimal damage.
So what do I do? Well, breaking down and having a good cry every once in a while is never a bad thing. Beyond that, family meetings are very helpful, it is good for everyone to get a chance to voice where they are at, and how they are feeling about the family dynamic. This go-round, we have decided to try out a kindness point system, where the kids earn points by being kind to each other and lose them for being unkind. At the end of the week the child with the most points gets to do something special with mom or dad. Working through this current transition we have a lot of head butting-happening with the three kids. My son is still amused by annoying my daughters. All three of the kids get frustrated with one another easily, and say mean things. It is not surprising considering how much time we all spend together. We are also in pretty close confines, our house does not have a giant square footage, and our two girls share a bedroom, so it is understandable that the kids often get on each other’s nerves. I believe that making kindness a goal and bringing awareness to its existence or lack thereof in our interactions will be helpful.
These situations come up in life. They are great opportunities for us to gain perspective and learn new coping skills. I love my kids so much, and it is hard to endure them lashing out at each other. They are amazing little people, but it really does take time and work to figure out how to control ourselves and manage our own tempers. I have to remind myself often that we expect a lot out of kids. Mine completely throw me off because of their intelligence. I expect for them to be as emotionally mature as they are smart sometimes, and the maturity just hasn’t caught up yet. At least we are able to give them the foundation of the mental understanding of how they actually would like to behave, before they are emotionally capable of it. We still get short little glimpses of the utopic future where they are all going to get along…those are what are keeping me going.