Friday, October 22, 2010

Trust by Robin Gorman Newman

I am disgusted with my son today (Sunday).  I woke up this morning (while he was at ice skating with his father) to find out that various cables, cords, etc. had been unplugged to my computer, modems, etc. in my office.    I was livid and unable to function until Marc, my husband, came home to help put things back together.  Technical matters are not my strength.

It got me thinking.  There was a horrible story in the news last week about a son (30 year old) who brutally killed his parents and then took off on a plane to Israel.  Granted he had documented psychiatric problems,  but it led me to consider the fact that as parents, we never know what/who we are raising.

We do our best....and especially if a child is is my son....we don't always have all the biological information we would otherwise be privvy to from our own lineage.  Not to say that adoptive children are any more troublesome than others, it's just that we are operating often more from a place of unknown.

That said, I am in a state at the moment of  distrust with Seth.  

What he did to my office was a total violation of my personal property and a complete lack of respect for my things and the time I spend at my computer (too much I recognize).  It felt like a huge slap in the face and one that I am still having trouble grappling with in my mind.

Additionally, during my senior dad's latest weekend stay with us, Seth took bills from his wallet which we discovered as he was preparing to return home.  Seth denied it, then ultimately admitted it.  It was upsetting, especially to my father, and I've told my dad that he should never leave his wallet in the room they share at bedtime.

I plan to go to the hardware store later today and purchase a padlock for my office....or will call in a locksmith if it comes to that.  I'm not thrilled feeling the need to go this length...but I DON'T TRUST my son.  And, I told him so.

In a fit of rage, while he was at skating, I took out two large garbage bags and loaded them up with some of his favorite toys in the living rooms, and took his wallet, and various other items, and tucked them away/out of sight in a closet in a garage.

I asked Seth why he did what he did, and he offered no explanation.  I also asked if he thought an apology might be in order, and he said "sorry."  He looked sad.  But, was he truly remorseful or was he sorry because I took away his toys and he wanted them back?  Can you teach regret or remorse to a child?  And, if so, how?

Was this punishment the right choice, especially for a child who has so much?  For how long will he miss the toys?  And, will it truly bother him that I said I don't trust him anymore or will he be over it tomorrow?  Does having my trust mean anything to him?  I feel like it does...or at least it should.  Other than my love, if he doesn't care about trust, then what?!

I love him, but I can't look at him right now.  I know my emotions are raw as I write this, and they will ease.

It's just that we put so much time and energy into our children, if we endeavor to be what to us feels like a good parent.  Everyone's definition and perception of that is different, and there's no right or wrong. 

But, how do you raise a child who values their property and that of others?

Is this a phase typical for a 7 year old? What was his motivation?

I may never know.

But, I would love to hear from you.  Has your child exhibited behavior that felt destructive or wrong?  And, if so how did you handle it so that they learned a lesson that would stick with them?

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Blogger adena said...

Reading your post, I first thought you were talking about a teenager! Only when I read it through to the end did I realize that your son is only 7. My sense is, that for a 7 year old, messing with computer wires and taking money out of a wallet isn't the end of the world. You can definitely sit him and down and try to find out what was going on for him. There can be appropriate punishment. But it sounds like maybe something else is going on? I'm concerned a bit about your very strong reaction as well. Good luck, and I hope you figure this out.

11:25 AM  

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