Any attention is good attention?

Last night, we got a bit of insight into our son’s inner mental workings. As you can see by the title, it had to do with his thought processes surrounding how to get the attention he needs. It has all left me feeling somewhat lost and unsuccessful today, but as I have said on many occasions, I will get over it and get on with it.

So it was bedtime. We had read two stories and daddy came in to do the goodnight stuff. We told our son that daddy needed to go to Melbourne early in the morning and that he would be gone until Thursday. This wasn’t the first time he had been told, this was just a reminder. He seemed to take it well and asked if he could write a little note for daddy to take with him. We agreed and he wrote a short little I love you note.

There were kisses and hugs and dadda left the room. Almost immediately my son spun around on his bed and lashed out at me kicking and trying to hit me. I knew exactly what was going on in his little head and proceeded to execute the restraining hold. This is the conversation we had at that time.

Me: “I can see that you are really upset about something right now and I think it might be that daddy is going away and you are worried that you will miss him.”

Son: “Yes! But I want to hurt you!”

Me: “Sweetie, how do you think hurting me is going to help your feelings?”

Son: “Because then Daddy will come rushing back in to help you and he will have to put me to bed!”

Hmmm. Lightbulb. This kid still goes for attention in a negative way without even thinking of the consequence!

Me: “Don’t you think it would be better not to have daddy coming in all cranky with you for hurting me? Maybe it would be better if you had just told me that you are feeling sad and really want daddy to put you to bed tonight?”

At that realisation, he relaxed and then burst into tears and asked me to release him. Then he came in for a hug and some comfort. Once he was calm, I said , “OK. If you can follow the bed time rule of staying still and not talking, I can go and let daddy know that you need him to stay with you for a while. He did, and daddy had him asleep in ten minutes!

The whole thing just made me realise how far we still have to go in teaching this child how to recognise his feelings and react appropriately. Sometimes you really just wonder if it will ever actually be done. Will we always have to deal with this or can I actually ‘fix’ him with hard work on myself?

I don’t know. I guess there is really no other choice but to just keep trying though.

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2 Responses to Any attention is good attention?

  1. a name says:

    I’ve stumbled across your blog and enjoy your writing despite the heartbreaking content. Some things you’ve mentioned make me wonder if your son (and maybe your husband) have been diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome. Is this the case?
    My thoughts are with you. Good luck.

    • KL says:

      Thank you for your kind words. My husband has never been tested, and I’m pretty sure his issue is just that he’s a Virgo! My son has been tested for everything and aspergers was ruled out although he definitely has some of the traits so I can see why you would think that. Hope you keep reading!

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