Last night I was sitting outside trying to get my son to focus on the task at hand, which was to pull together an outline of sorts for his final English paper for the school year. It’s 7pm and we are sitting on the patio with the computer open ready to create greatness. Not really, but was at least hoping for some words on a page. Us working together has often been a recipe for disaster, often ending in yelling and crying; him yelling and me crying.
I was starting to get impatient as he did everything to avoid starting, yet I remained silent. He then went inside and got a blanket and wrapped himself up in a like a burrito with only his face sticking out. Now, we are talking about a 16 year old boy here, not a toddler.
I was thinking about walking away, and he then looked at me and smiled and said; “Mom, this is really hard for me, I am trying”. I burst into laughter, it was just so funny, and then he started to laugh as well. It broke the tension and we got to work. I will admit, he didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked, but the time we did work together it was productive and stress free.
I wondered this time, why I was able to tolerate his lack of focus/desire, whatever you want to call it. I realized after the fact that his admission to me that it was hard for him and he was trying, was the key.
My frustrations with him were not because he couldn’t do something, they were because he always presented with that it didn’t matter. However, when he acknowledge it was hard for him, it made me pause and appreciate his vulnerability. It made me want to help him more, thus have more patience with him.
I am not saying it will always work this way, but for this one time, it was great, and it provided me with some insight to his inner thoughts.
On the homework scale I would give it a 6, but on the connecting with my child in a healthy way, a 10.
I hope you find a 10 somewhere today.