I got it yesterday. The big “I HATE YOU!” with a nice addition of “You’re and IDIOT! and The. Worst. Mom. Ever.”
No. Not for the first time.
It came because I suggested my son go to his karate class. I thought I almost had the fury under control when I surprised him by agreeing that I was indeed the worst mom ever. But no. The meltdown included throwing socks and then key chains at me while I was driving. Later, the raging got even worse. Today, some things are broken, not the least of which is my spirit. Today, we talk calmly about what he can do to “clean up the angry.”
Oh the joys.
I love this kid. Fiercely. He loves me back fiercely. He loves and hates big. The big love is awesome, the other, not so much. But, the big hate is the other end of the proverbial stick we picked up with him. This was not his first, nor will it be his last meltdown. Not the last time he will ask me to pull the car over because he’s done with this family. Not the last time I will try but not quite keep my cool in the face of his steam.
It’s not all rosy colored over here in my neck. Bet there’s some ugly in yours too – am I right?
Some kids are hard. I can do hard. It’s one of the reasons I felt okay about foster care and volunteered to take older kids with problems. After what we’d been through, a kid who would come with a file, caseworker, therapist, and diagnosis seemed like a breeze. Bring it on!
Getting to a point where we had a file, therapist, and diagnosis for our guy was the most discouraging journey we’ve undertaken to date (infertility? please. cake walk). Thank heaven we did it though. Everything has been better since we listened to and trusted wise doctors who sometimes just extend empathy and nod when we say things are unusually bad.
Last Saturday, my mom spent 15 minutes with me and my two boys before asking, “Are they always like this?” and then volunteering to take one of them home with her for a while.
My guy has a couple of mental health diagnoses that explain why his rages don’t stop, why he doesn’t respond to consequences or “normal” discipline tactics. So try, if you can, not to judge me when you see us at the grocery store and wonder why I’m not “doing something” about him. Try not to tell me he is out of control. I already know.
Listen. I know we sometimes make things worse because we falter in the face of the rage. Sometimes we are tired and we match rage with anger and we are culpable for those times. Judge us for those times but only if you understand that mostly, we model calm, we walk away, we let the rage burn itself out and then we talk about how to do things differently the next time. Ask yourself what you’d really do. What would work that wouldn’t cause further damage? And then tell yourself that those people with that “out of control” child are probably talking to other people with PhDs in behavior like this and offer, like my mom did, to love that child.