my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


My kid lost it last week, in PE. They were playing basketball and some kid was apparently guarding him pretty aggressively. My kid told him to back off twice, and then just hauled off and punched him.

The teacher facilitator*, instead of sending him to the lead facilitator and him getting suspended, had Charlie cool off and the two of them talk (apologize?). Considers it done.

*I know, I know. It's how they phrase it, so I'm trying to honor it. Old habits die hard.

So Charlie told me when I picked him up for social-skills group on Thursday, and was stunned when I didn't reward him for being honest--and instead imposed the "nuclear bomb" consequence that he's had for hitting (or kicking or pushing) since the fourth grade. ("Nuclear bomb" = no screens of any sort, and no reading for pleasure. He can write or draw. 24 hours.) Stunned! He got so worked up that I ended up driving away from the drop-off location and taking both of us to the Whole Foods cafe, instead of just me with my laptop to get work done. We got something to drink, and talked it out.

After a while of talking it over, I finally came out with something useful:

Don't perseverate about being done with having anger problems. It won't happen. What you need to strive for, and will learn, is better control over your anger problems. (And also? Stop hitting people. Because when you're 18, you can go to jail for assault and battery for hitting someone. Yes, really.)

Once I got to that point, and reviewed the past 3 years with him (with a serious pattern of lessening violence), showing that yes, he's making serious inroads, but no, he's not done learning, we both calmed down a bit. I did a bit of shopping with him helping me, a sweet mom-and-kid time, and we went home.

I just wish I had the answers to start with, rather than having to argue them out and finally come up with someone sensible and useful. That must be the parent's lament.



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