Last night my son and I got into another arguement. There are few people who would disagree with the fact that my son can hold onto his side of an arguement better than a starving dog hangs onto a t-bone. But last night was different. Last night was about lies.
First of all, let me say that I live in a condo with six units. Five of these units are owned by my landlord who lives right above me and my son and I are the only people who aren’t related by blood who live in any of the five. The sixth unit is owned by friends of my grandparents. I love the place, but if it weren’t for my son the median age of the building would be closer to 45+ than the 30 it currently hovers around.
So when I say I was down at my best friends place while my son was finishing cleaning his room I was a grand total of fifty feet (actual walking distance or about 12 feet floor to celing) away from him. When I went back up after about an hour to check on his progress (also…he’s almost 11, and our building has locked entrances) I was happily surprised to see how far he had gotten. He had cleaned up every area I had told him I wanted clean. Which when you’re dealing with someone with ADHD is not as easy as you’d think. Instead of choosing to come back down and hang out with the “old guys” he wanted to stay upstairs and play video games. This has worked well in the past and I saw no reason not to trust him again, even with everything else that’s been going on lately.
So when I went back up after another hour or so and found him playing games like he’d said he would I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I checked my computer and found the web browser on a different site than the one that I’d left it on did I begin to wonder. I called him over to the computer and asked him about it. At first he tried to say that he didn’t know anything about it, then that he’d only visited there by accident.
At this point I should point out that the site was just one for getting cheat codes online. However, those sites very often have virus’ or spyware on them and can be very harmful to your computer.
But when I pushed him on it he admited that he’d been lying. By this time I had started yelling at him about lying to me. I’ve never had a particularly violent temper but I can get really loud really fast. And I was really irritated. The sad thing is, I’m not even sure I could tell you why besides the obvious. But my temper seemed out of proportion to what had been done.
He told me that the reason he’d lied to me was because he’d been afraid I’d yell at him.
That kind of thing makes you stop and take stock of what it is you’re doing. Which may have been the point. But it was a valid one, regardless of whether or not he was trying to manipulate me. I told him that the reason I yelled was because he doesn’t listen when I ask. He tried to pout and wanted to go to his room but I made him sit in a chair facing me and we talked. Or tried to. He started kicking the blinds so I sent him to his room to get ready for bed.
At that point things got really interesting…
He fussed and curled up in a little ball in the corner and then started kicking at stuff and banging his head. So I went over to him and set him up in my lap and held him in my arms in a big bear hug. He tried to push me away but not very hard. He’d push me just hard enough to show independence then pull me closer to comfort. He cried. He wished things were different, that she wasn’t gone.
When he had calmed down enough we talked about what had happened and why I was upset. We talked about why I yelled and what I could do differently. We talked about what we could do differently in the future. We talked about staying safe, trust, and how we both were feeling. We talked about his consequence for lying and about what I need to do to keep from yelling. We agreed to one week suspension from video/computer games and I agreed to walk away when I felt like yelling until I was able to get my temper cooled off.
We ate spinach ravioli on his bedroom floor and listened to Ella Fitzgerald singing in the background.
It was the best meal we’ve had in quite a while…