Lunches made, Check! Snack packed, Check! Husband left for work, Check! Got child to school early, Check! What a morning! Everything was going great, morning routine done, morning meeting at work went very well and accomplished so much.
It was such a nice day out that I decided to put the top down on the jeep to pick up my son from school, thinking this would make him feel like the cool kid. He got in the car, no reaction, but oh well, not the end of the world. Got home and made him a snack…. then he was hungry again so I made him another snack. Put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher and started on dinner.
My husband came home and we all sat and had dinner at the table as a family. We talked about our day, the mail that came in etc. Then it was homework time….
I thought when I asked him to get his math homework out he was going to explode, like he normally does, but he didn’t! I was going hallelujah inside; we were going to keep having a good day! Then it all fell apart when a math problem was wrong. For a little background, our son has only been living with us for ten months now and gets very frustrated with school. He is a smart kid but was never made to do homework or study in the past. You may be wondering why I call him my son and not foster son, that is because he is my son who happens to be in foster care; my husband and I do not look at him any different.
Our son may be a teenager and have the mouth of one, but he throws a fit like a six or seven-year-old. Part of this is due to frustration with the work, frustration with us making him do the work, and part of it is because it is the only way he knows how to express himself. Now in the heat of the moment not all of this is going through my head, I am across the table deep breathing and taking dessert privileges away for being disrespectful and mouthing off. We tell him it is okay to not know the answer and that we are here to help him solve the problems but that seems to make things worse. In the heat of the moment we are all frustrated and my husband and I are each kicking each other under the table when we each start to raise our voice or show too much emotion. (This did not work out well for me tonight as I did not have shoes on and he did. Haha) After he gets so frustrated he stomped off to his room.
If a social worker or therapist was to look at this they would think, what was the age of removal? Did something happen at school? Do you have parent history? Has he been tested? Does he need an IEP/504? Is he medicated? Is it a mental disorder? Was he born early or addicted to drugs or alcohol? The thing is even though I know the answers to these questions, that is not what you think about during the frustrating moment. I am thinking about how do I handle this without taking every privilege away and not destroying the relationship we have built over the last ten months.
I do not have all the answers, even though I wish I did sometimes. I am his mother and I am human, I am not perfect. What I do know is that it is my job to teach him how to express himself appropriately. How to do that? I guess I teach him by showing him patience and leading by example, but that is much simpler than it sounds. We will figure this out one day at a time.
As great as this morning started off and how crazy of an evening it turned into, does not mean we have to end on a bad note. At the end of the day, when it is time for bed, I will tuck him in, tell him I love him and turn out his light.