School has started which means daily monitoring of behavior reports of my kid. So…trust me when I tell you I’ve been emotionally shattered for two weeks and counting down the 34 weeks before summer break.
My dad raised two kids who rarely – if ever – got in trouble. I did not have any friends who got in a lot of trouble growing up. My other two kids have never gotten in trouble for anything major, or hell, even minor. Parenting Wes has been charting unknown territory in 100 different ways.
It started with constant frowning faces in preschool and it has extended to Red Dojo marks today and we have never had a break where we were not in constant communication with faculty and staff and coaches and caregivers about his behavior.
Over the years of doctors and counseling we have learned that – for him, it boils down to not having good coping instincts when faced with anxiety or shame. His instincts are to lash out in anger when he is hurt or anxious. And while we’ve come a long way with the help of many trained professionals, we still have a long way to go.
Parenting these kids is difficult and exhausting when you are just one-on-one living your daily lives. You are trying to remember everything you’re supposed to do based on the advise of the doctors and the counselors to help your kid process extreme emotions and sometimes you forget or your own emotions get in the way and you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do and things spiral to BAD very quickly. Or sometimes there are gray areas that you have to make a judgement call and when you make it wrong, things escalate out of control. It makes you raw and sensitive and constantly defensive to every look and comment when you’re handling public tantrums and fits. You are beat up and wounded and every night you try to think of the things you did well and the progress you made and you stitch up the wounds so that you have the strength to start again the next day.
But then you have family and teachers and coaches and counselors come to you and tell you the things that happen when you are not there to coach and guide, and it’s basically like they take scissors to the stitches holding all of your wounds together and cause them to bleed all over again. They don’t have the natural pull of unconditional love driving them to help your kid, they’re often just wanting peace in a crowd of many and your kid is the disruptor and they want it to stop. And these words and attitudes from these other adults create entirely new wounds and those are harder to heal so they lay open and raw and you find yourself crying on the other end of the phone to an adult who is probably now marking down in a file with your kid’s name: “MOM IS A BASKETCASE.”
Many times I think about home schooling. Saving both of us from these struggles because we don’t have these problems one-on-one. But then I remember that the end goal is for him to be a productive member of society and I can’t help him learn better instincts on our own. There are always going to be triggers of hurt and shame and stress and he needs to learn to deal with those and so we keep getting up and putting on our brave pants and going out into the world to face our demons and try to win more battles than we lose so that maybe our wounds can finally heal.
But the scars will forever remain.
edited to add: just like all of my parenting posts, this one will not be archived so please don’t fret about this coming back to haunt me later 😉