Well, we definitely have pushed past many of the big issues with our son lately. He’s generally calmer, less aggressive, and much more willing to listen and ask for help rather than sort stuff out in his own…um…less…diplomatic ways. Of course all of that is really exciting. I found out though that I have to manage my expectations a bit and make sure I go along with the changes he’s made. When he changes, so must our parenting to keep track with the new skills he has and the new frustrations he faces.
I got a little excited about his social interaction improvements and that sadly led me to being more disappointed than I should have been recently when he had a small set back in his martial arts class. Nothing serious, just a return of his anxious behaviours in class, not listening, not staying with the group, not waiting his turn and eventually leaving the class altogether and leaving the building!
It’s so crucial that I remember all the progress he’s making and how hard it’s all been for him. I very nearly allowed myself to get all upset that he was going back to square one. Luckily I managed to knock myself out of that idea and get back on track with being patient and allowing things to move at his pace of improvement, not mine, or anyone else’s.
Today is the first day of school holidays, and he’s had a lovely day so far. We’ve had rain day after day for nearly two weeks in Sydney, and today the sun finally came back out so we rushed off to the park as quick as we could! There was a minor altercation on the round-about-spinning-tower thingy, which led to some fists meeting with flesh. Fortunately, mine wasn’t the one who started it this time! He was on his way to being the one who ‘finished’ it though, when I stepped in and said that was enough and there was to be no fighting. The crucial thing was that I didn’t single out either of the boys. I simply separated and insisted that either they both play nicely or neither of them could play at all. My son handled himself really well and calmed down. The other kid left… presumably to inform his Mum, who wasn’t anywhere near the apparatus he was playing on.
That sort of stuff is the biggest challenge for me still. I still track him around a playground, but now I do it from the edges rather than right in there with him. I tell myself that if verbal stuff is being thrown around, then I don’t need to do anything about that. He’ll soon work out whether that’s making people leave or bringing them in to play. I have to keep my own bias aside and not always assume that my son is the instigator of trouble, because quite often now, he isn’t!
There was a brief moment of tension on the spinning tower thingy when a little kid started skwarking at a bigger kid who was spinning it too fast and my son yelled out,
“It’s the centrifugal force! He’s too light and it’s making him slip!” The bigger kid kind of looked at my son a little confusedly, but then just shrugged and stopped running.
Then there was another tense moment this afternoon when my son and his little friend came back to our house to play with Lego and they decided to tell each other what each planned to build. My son explained that he was going to build an articulated dump truck. His little friend looked at him for a moment and said,
“I’m going to build a wheels up sing! (thing)”
I watched my son roll his eyes, but then he just let it go and allowed that his friend had no idea what he was talking about.
So, these tricky situations are going to keep arising for him. He’s just different, and that’s the way it goes sometimes. He’s really learning to deal with those situations now though, and not get so angry about them. Now I’ve just got to let him get on with it and not jump in too quick with the assumption that he won’t know how to solve the problem himself.
Managing my expectations of both him and myself I suppose!