(most days this is my child)
It all started with a fight, the first real us against him situation. Until now any disagreement we’ve had has been one parent and him getting frustrated with each other. But the other night we came up to a big stumbling block, something that we weren’t going to let go of. We try to live as consensual as we can as a family. But there are points where we as parents we have to make choices for our son, because we can understand things that he doesn’t. Regardless of what we fought about it was one of those moments that crystallized a lot of things for me as a mother.
There was one moment when he scooted himself into a corner, his bangs in his eyes, and was telling us how he wasn’t okay with the change we were making. In that moment I saw the next thirteen years worth of disagreements. I could see in him a little bit of who he will be in the future. I also realized that no matter how hard we try he and I will always butt heads occasionally. We’re too much a like, both to determined to create the worlds that we see as right. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t work hard at creating a relationship of love more than discord, just that I want him to have ways to deal with his emotions, ones that I am still learning.
In seeing this I also realized that there was something so important I have to give him. I need to teach him tools for dealing with his emotions. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about what would be useful and reasonable. I think there are three categories that I should focus on: general calmness (to help avoid fights), ability to say what he feels and means (in hope that he will learn to disagree with out fighting), and outlets for dealing with the emotions that come from disagreeing with people (especially parents). As soon as I started thinking about these things I realized that while I want to help him to find these things I need to do it in a way that they are truly of his own discovery. I may have ideas about things that I think might work for him, but none of them will work without him making his own connection.
I think I am going to go into more detail over the next week about each of these categories because I think that in many ways these can be the most important gift I could give him.