Saturday, October 03, 2009

Saturday Sum Up

We are settling into a nice routine around here. After a few hellish days with my 12 year old, things seem to be turning around. The big boys are getting their core, independent schoolwork done quickly and quite well, and for that I am extremely grateful. I am even finding time to fit in daily reading, printing and math lessons for my littler kids.

Things came to a standoff with the 12 year old about a week and a half ago. I was tired of watching him waste 5 hours NOT doing his school work, and giving me attitude and then wasting more time not doing his chores. I laid it out for him. He either does what he is told or I was going to stand behind him, with my hands on his shoulders to make sure he stayed in his seat and on task. I figured if he was working, I could gently rub his back and if not, I could give his shoulder a little squeeze to remind him to stay on task. He needs a LOT of attention and positive reinforcement. He acts out continually if he does not get those things. He especially needs physical touch, hugs and cuddles and back rubs.
I have been praying and worrying and praying some more about his behaviour and how to help him to find motivation internally as well as give him what he needs. As well as praying for patience so that I didn't end up yelling at him and hurting his heart.
Well the day started off badly and only got worse until lunch. Finally, something broke and he decided to get his work done. I was praising God! The next day was a honeymoon and things were pretty okay. Day three was hell. I just kept praying that God would give me guidance so that I would be helpful to my son and never hurtful.
Finally my son just outright said to me that I could not make him do anything. And I told him that he was right. I can't physically make him do anything. But I can make his life a living hell. (Maybe I lost my temper a bit with that statement, the outright defiance will do that to a person.) I told him that as of that moment, he no longer had any privileges, toys, electronics, activities. He could not go to youth, go to a friends, play with toys, play video games, go out of our yard without express permission. He was done. He would have to earn every privilege, every outing.
Then I went to my room for a quick cry and headed back down to continue to supervise and guide. I knew that I had to follow through and stay vigilant with him. I couldn't even leave him unsupervised. I convinced his Dad to go with me on this and back me up.
The next day was pretty hard. But we kept following through. On the third day, he sat down to do his bookwork before I had even brought the little kids down for breakfast. He smiled. He laughed. He was polite to me, kinder. And we praised this behaviour (once I got over the shock). He started earning back privileges. He missed the corn maze trip with the youth group last week, but this week he was able to attend the service. His better attitude and behaviour has continued and I have continued to be vigilant and to reinforce the good behaviour. I just pray that we can create new habits together that will last.
It was like having a brand new family culture this week. What a blessing. Thank you God.

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