Posts tagged ‘bad behavior’
I’m pretty sure all the things I swore as a child that I would never say to my own children have come out of my mouth in the last four hours. From, “Because I said so,” to “Mommy and Daddy make the rules, not you,” I have broken all those childhood promises to myself in a very short amount of time. Geologically speaking, anyway, because the last four hours felt like an eon or twelve.
Yet like all good dysfunctions, I’m pretty sure I can blame this one on my mother. The price we pay, and it is the absolutely only price we pay, for having C spend a night at Ga and Pa’s house, is a complete hellion when we get home – to the point where Husband laughingly asked me to call Ga this evening and ask why she took all of C’s good behavior.
It never fails; we pick up C from “Grandma camp,” as we call it, and get the report that it was all sweetness and light. After all, it always is when C is with someone other than us, which leaves us no conclusion to which we can arrive except that we are exceptionally bad parents. Well, that’s the conclusion at which I arrive; Husband is far smarter than I. He knows, and fully believes, that a) C saves his worst behavior for the ones he loves the most; or b) that C works really hard to hold it together at school, for example, and then has to unload when he comes home, or c) C dumps on us because he subconsciously he knows he can and that we will still love him after it’s over.
It’s not as if he gets away with anything at Ga and Pa’s house – far from it. The kicker is that he doesn’t really even try to get away with anything at their house. Or school, for that matter. The Dr. Phil in me says that we are doing something wrong at home that sends C the message that it is okay to test each and every boundary as many times as possible in a single hour. But I think I’ll go with Husband on this one and choose option “a.”
There’s way too many people who say things about how kids with autism are really just poorly behaved children with terrible parents. For every person who says that publicly, I’ll bet there’s a zillion more who believe it but don’t say it out loud.
I’m here to say I get it.
As I stood at kid golf class this afternoon watching C behave just enough like a banshee to warrant some intervention, but not quite enough like a banshee to warrant complete removal from the situation, I understood why people might have the perception that he is only a poorly behaved child with parents who can’t control him.
In fact, sometimes C is a poorly behaved child with parents who can’t control him. I looked around this afternoon at the parents looking back at me and keenly felt what they were thinking. I almost wished C had a scarlet “A” on the back of his shirt just so everyone else would know. Not to excuse his behavior, but at least to explain it, along with our difficulty in managing it.
Ultimately, the lesson ended with my carrying a screaming, writhing child to the car. I made the what-seemed-like-a-mile-but-was-really-only-about-a-twenty-yard-trek to the parking lot, knowing that I was much closer than I’d ever been to talking C through his frustration before the behavior spiralled into a tantrum. I was proud of both of us for that. Yet I’ve operated under the assumption that C will grow out of these tantrums eventually, and I find myself wondering if they’ll stop before I am no longer able to physically relocate him to a safer, calmer place.
In the meantime, however, I’d like to invite the Michael Savages and Denis Learys of the world over to my house to see if they can do a better job than we do. If they have parenting advice for us, I’m ready to hear it. Bring it on.
C said tonight. He’s right, he did. Starting with the 2:30 a.m. wake-up with many, many tears, a night of restless sleep became a restless day. A somewhat happy kid deteriorated into the equivalent of a two year old. We never experienced the terrible twos at our house; we naively thought we escaped them until 4 came along. Then we paid our dues for a good long while. In spades.
Temper tantrums were finally mostly a thing of the past – until the last few months, when they started to rear their ugly head once again. Fortunately, they haven’t changed too much since age 4, so we’ve slowly gotten better at handling them. Not handling them, really, but rather just getting through them somewhat emotionally intact. I’m talking about Mommy and Daddy getting through them, not C. C is still left completely drained, teary, and wanting to snuggle. Surprisingly, today he still had the energy for a second one a few hours later, which quite frankly amazed me.
I hate these tantrums with a passion. Sure he was tired, cranky and frazzled today. But he threw both these tantrums with one of his therapists, which is unheard of. He never shows that side of himself to anyone but people he knows better than well – family only, and not even all family. I consider it a good thing he feels comfortable enough with Miss L to lose it in front of her, but in truth it astounded me. Worried me. I know whatever it is that’s bothering him is pretty bad when he lets it all hang out with someone he’s always trying to impress.
I know there’s a trigger somewhere, and I also know I’ll probably never know what that trigger is. Whatever it is, it’s something ongoing, as they are occurring more frequently lately. My Mom reminded me today that we have a toddler in the house, but interestingly she wasn’t talking about the tantrums. Yet she’s correct in many ways, and while I struggle with the knowledge that he is mostly capable of controlling himself, I know there are times he simply can’t. And while part of me wants to admonish him for his behavior – he is, after all, smart enough to know that 7 year olds don’t act this way – most of me knows the behavior itself is punishment enough.