Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Natural Consequences

The social worker who checks on me from time to time just left.  She was here for about an hour.  Seems Youngest Son has had some issues with me -- things he's blaming me for, but things he's been told he needs to do and hasn't.  For example, track practices begin on Monday.  He was told last week by me that he needed to go to the athletic office at the high school and get the forms needed for a physical.  He went by the office once and the secretary wasn't there.  So, he didn't get them.  And he didn't go back.  He didn't tell me.  But I was supposed to know.  I was supposed to get the form for him.  I was supposed to set up the appointment for the physical, whether I had the form or not.

I have not set up the appointment.  I do not have the form.  He has not gotten it.  I am not getting it.

The Plains are having a major winter storm today and tomorrow.  The doctor's office is closing early today.  School and the doctor are likely to be closed tomorrow.  Youngest Son works right after school on Friday and besides, the physical form needs to be in at the athletic office at least 24 hours before a student is allowed to participate in practices or any sports activity.  Guess who won't be able to have track practice on Monday?  Natural consequence.  My fault?  I don't think so.

Last night, I went into Youngest Son's room and reminded him we'd be having this winter storm.  Weather where we live is crazy in the winter.  It can be in the 60's one day and two days later, we could be getting 6-10 inches of snow -- like this week.  In order to be dressed appropriately for the weather, you need to pay attention.  He doesn't do that, so I remind him.  I let him know that there would be no snow and no wind when he left this morning, but by the time he came home, there would be a few inches on the ground and it would be very windy and cold.  I told him he should wear a coat because while he gets a ride to school, he needs to walk the six blocks home after school.

As I write this, the snow is coming down fast and furious and it's not even noon yet.  The wind is supposed to be a steady 15 m.p.h. by 3 p.m. with frequent gusts to 35 and blizzard-like conditions developing through the afternoon.

Youngest Son's coat is on the hook in the hallway.  I am not driving over there to pick him up.  I don't do that high school parking lot with hundreds of teenagers driving on a clear day.  I'm not doing it in snow and ice.  Youngest Son has his track hoodie on.  He'll be cold and wet when he gets home.  Natural consequence.  My fault?  I don't think so.

The social worker agreed.

I believe therapeutic parenting for much older kids, like my Youngest Son, sometimes means letting them deal with things on their own.  Sometimes, the dominoes just tumble.  We cannot coddle them forever.  We cannot save them forever.  We cannot talk them down from their ledges forever.  Letting go can be just as therapeutic for them as it is for us.

So, there will be a cold, wet boy who's not going to track on Monday.  He'll be angry -- with me.  He'll blame me.  My fault?  I don't think so.

1 comment:

Diana said...

Well done. I would have done the same thing. I've never been one to jump in and rescue all the time. There is a time and place for it, especially early in the attachment process, but it can't stay that way forever or everyone gets hurt by it. I'm getting more and more strict with it all the time, too. I'm sure this is where a lot of the judgment of others comes in, but a) if they'd do the same for their "neurotypcial" but often ill behaved kids and b) if they had any idea how desperately our kids need to learn the lessons their kids did when they were 2, they'd see things a lot differently.

Admittedly, sometimes it's tough to let those dominoes fall where they will and let them take their stripes. But, they need the experience...and so do we. Thankfully, being able to see further than they can allows us to brace ourselves for the fallout and anticipate the triggers. That is a good thing!