Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A little tenderness: Follow up to yesterdays blog on spoiled brats

‎"This is what the Almighty LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: You can be saved by returning to me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting me." Is 30:15

That's how God says "Shut up."

So yesterday was a very bad day. A bad weekend with The Drew-bug was followed with a bad morning. My patience was gone and I handled him badly.

I have been told before that I expect too much from my sons and there may be some truth in that. I have high standards for them and for the most part, they meet them. My goal, as a parent, is not to raise a good kid but a great adult. My sons will not be the kind of men who needs a mommy and so then looks for one in his wife. They will be capable in their own right and will look for a partner, a yin to their yang. (Oh the inuendo! I digress.)

I don't expect them to behave as an adult now but I do teach them with their adulthoods in mind.

Where I messed up with Drew yesterday was not trying to handle him like an adult but handling him like his brother. They are as different as night and day. From a very young age Gabriel has responded well to talking it out. He is a thinker. Ideas start in his head and then move and take root in his heart. He is very philosophical and likes to mull thoughts and ideas around out loud.

Drew is like me. He's emotional. He's also not going to let anyone tell him what to do. Tell me I can't and I will have to do it. (When I lived in MO I made 12 dozen tamales by myself because my grandmother and mother told me that I could not make them alone with two babies underfoot. Watch me.) This is not a terrible trait. It could be detrimental if not weilded appropriately but it could also be a great help in life. That will not change in Drew and should not. It's one of the spices God put into him when he mixed up the Drew ingredients.

Catherine had great advice to "try a little tenderness."

I knew as soon as Drew said he was going to head back to Texas that part of this ugly attitude was adjusting to the move. His tone with me was not a home-sick tone but a snotty little "I'm challenging you with this one" kind of tone. That did not evoke a feeling of sympathy. It pissed me off. The other big player in Drew's recent behavior is that this is the first time for him to be in school full time. He went from 3 half days a week to 5 full days. The boy is tired.

Instead of considering those things and responding to his emotional needs I reacted to the immediate Turd-ittude. I promise things started out with a full cup of patience (3 days ago) but by Monday morning I was done. I didn't include the half of it in the blog either. The kid was ridiculous and he knew it. He was throwing everything he had in his arsenal out there.

I wanted ideas to drive the unthankfullness out of him. Truth is, he is a pretty grateful little guy. He was just acting out to, what has to be, a stressful time for him. What I got, instead of punishments for Drew, was a big spanking. I felt so bad for trying to put Drew into the Gabriel box. I felt awful for not getting down on my knees to see his circumstances through his perspective.

So I walked down to the bus stop to pick him up with tears in my eyes.

When he got off the bus, he thanked the bus driver for the ride home (like he does every day) and apologized to me for the ugly morning.

"I'm sorry about this morning mom. I'm sorry about the sausage biscuit sandwich." I wrapped him up in my arms and kissed his head.

"I forgive you baby! I'm sorry too. That was a bad morning."

So we walked up the hill to the house together and talked about the rest of his day. We did homework together and then he asked to watch tv.

"Buddy, I'm sorry but because of your bad attitude this morning you are grounded from the tv tonight."

"What?! But I said I was sorry!"

"You did and I appreciate that but there still has to be a punishment."

"Well, that's lame!"

A few minutes later I hear the tv on.

"Buddy! Are you seriously watching tv? Now you are grounded from tv for the rest of the week."

"Aw man! This stinks!"

I sat with him on the couch and put my arm around him.

"It does stink. You made a bad choice to disobey."

The rest of the night went pretty well. This morning he would not get up. I'm alright with that because I'm not a morning person myself but after about the 5th time I had to walk by and say "get up," I was done. We argued some more and then he finally got moving. He was ugly all morning. I reminded him of yesterday and that we did not want another bad morning.

He responed with "Yeah, so you better fix YOUR attitude!"

I promptly sent him to his room and spanked his little butt. (Am I going to be flagged for that? *sigh*) Then we sat together on his bed and I held him in my lap while he cried a bit.

"I'm sorry I said that mom!"

"I forgive you."

"I just don't want to go to school! I don't get home until the evening time! Can I stay home?"

"Not today."

"Can I stay home on my birthday?"

"No because we are going to bring treats and celebrate with your class that day."

I have decided to have lunch with him tomorrow. I let him know that I will be picking him up from school on Thrusday for a cub scout meeting and he liked that. I told him that I would take him out of school early on his birthday too. (My sister will be here and that way they can take her to the airport with me.)

We finally got off to school and he even held my hand down to the bus stop.

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