Friday, November 19, 2010

My Head is Spinning by Robin Gorman Newman

If you regularly read my blog, you know about the recent, highly challenging antics of my 7 year old son.

Thought you might be interested in a follow-up.

In response to his latest behavior, which was to take the key to the recently installed deadbolt lock to my office and then return it when I threatened to take away all his toys.....we took away his beloved toy safe (where he hid the key)....and proceeded to reach out to various experts and others to weigh in.

And, what has resulted is a total lack of consensus.....and enough frustration and confusion for any parent who just wants to do the best for their child.

The school psychologist said he will speak with Seth, so we are awaiting his feedback.  Our goal with him is to see if he might be able to ascertain Seth's motivation.

A close friend of mine who is a therapist, said that she thought Seth was directly crying out that I spend too much time in my home office, yet he couldn't express it verbally.  She said, while I might not like to hear it, that I need to adjust my schedule.  Get up earlier in the morning with him and carve out time to meditate (teach him) with him.  She knows I'm not a morning person, and my response was also that I can't watch him 24-7, nor do I want to feel that I have too.  And, as far as meditation, she said she's had success with children she's done this with professionally...I didn't see this as overly viable for a busy child like Seth (maybe I'm wrong).  Not to mention the fact that if we do this in the morning, I will likely nod off.

She also suggested we create a Behavior Chart.... where we record positive behaviors we want to encourage and those we want to discourage and set up a reward system.  So, this past weekend, we sat down with Seth and did this together.  It seems to be having some sort of impact....mostly because he's waiting with baited breath for the rewards when he gets a certain no. of positive tally marks.  I wonder...should it truly take a reward to instill in him good behavior?  And, is this setting him up to expect that that's the only reason to do what is asked of him?  If we took the chart down, would he just resume his old ways?  Hmmm..........

Another friend suggested we consider seeing a family therapist.  We might actually give that a go for one session (my husband isn't overly keen on it) the very have the opportunity to share our challenges. It would feel good for both of us to get it off our chests and not feel judged or inadequate.

I spoke to a parent trainer who sometimes consult with us who has been very helpful in the past.  Curious to She initially recommended, after the first incident, that we urge Seth to try to stop himself before he acts impulsively and to ask, "would mommy and daddy be happy if I did this?".  I sat him down and share that he should work on doing this, to no avail.  Now she is recommending that we take him to a cognitive behavioural therapist.

A good friend who is an experienced psychic, and knows Seth, shared that she thought it was important to make sure, that however challenging Seth is, to work on creating positive energy in the house and have a consciousness of our body language and facial expressions that we might not be aware of.  Seth could be picking up on these unspoken signals and reacting to them. will try to work on that.

Another friend who works as a coach...and is a wise soul.....said that she just thought Seth thought it was cool to unplug the wires in my office.  He is a talented technical kid who loves to explore. It wasn't his intent to be bad, nor should we read into it that he was striking back at me for working from home and logging too many computer hours.  She said it could be as simple as the fact that he was curious....bored for the moment....acted impulsively...and that rather than punish him, we should try to engage him in discussion about it.

Yet another friend said that we should empty out his room entirely of toys to teach him who's boss.  That she has done this with her daughter and found it to be effective.  That it's a control issue, and you, as a parent, need to communicate who is in charge.

All I can say is that my head is spinning.

Parenting has got to be the most complex and gray task in the world.  Mentally and physically is far from a science....yet we work so hard to try to understand the little people in our lives, when they might not understand their own actions.

What's a mom to do?  Who to listen to?  There is no one way to parent.  Everyone means well when they come up with suggestions, and I appreciate the outpouring of love and support. 

I'd like to say TRUST YOUR GUT....but my gut is working overtime right now, and I'm worn out.

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