I have always believed that we are responsible for our selves and our own actions, no excuses and no exceptions. Part of what I want to hopefully instill in my boys …. you don’t brush things off because they might be difficult or you’re not in the mood and you don’t blame others for your mistakes.
This has been on my mind more and more lately because the oldest is doing so well with his mental health that I’m now able to shift gears from triage to responsibility and maturity. And I don’t mean for just one boy I mean for both, the mental health issues from the oldest caused anxiety and stress in the youngest as well.
Our days were spent trying to avoid holes in the walls and broken doors, trying to avoid thoughts of suicide and angry violent outbursts. At its worst I would say that there was a least one episode almost every day from the oldest and the youngest was basically shutting the world out around him as a coping mechanism. Going to school was sometimes too difficult for him to bear and I remember one week specifically where the youngest was pacing back and forth like a caged animal, eyes wild and emotions over flowing …… He wanted to run away, he wanted to cause harm to himself so he couldn’t go, he wanted to do anything to just not have to go to school. It was heart breaking to watch ….
Two boys in my care and both suffering at the same time … different but in many ways the same. Needless to say clean your room, do your laundry and take out the trash were just not really high on my priority list of teaching responsibility.
Eventually with time and medical intervention we were able to come up with a working plan to help and ‘fix’ the issues the oldest was having. As the oldest healed and stabilized the issues of the youngest also disappeared. There is no more anxiety, there is no more fear and now in his first year of high school he is getting more social, more confident and excelling in every way I could hope for. So what’s the problem, right … ?
Well they are now 14 and 16 and the last time I remember doing anything that was placing ‘normal/basic’ responsibilities on them they were about 9 and 11. There has been a lot of time pass and a lot of behaviours that should have been learned by now that are way behind, or simply forgotten. When they were younger and before all this stuff started I used to be up Saturday mornings while hubby was at work and the boys stripped and made their beds, brought laundry down and washed and dried and folded. They helped get the garbage together and bring up the bin when needed. They helped, and they took some responsibility. Not so much anymore ….
I know what I need to do, it needs to be put back into place and it has to be done one thing at a time but they are now teens and although the mental health issues are in check they are still there. Most of the time now it’s just lazy teen attitude, I think. It can be hard to tell and I certainly can’t read their minds so when are they actually in need of time and support and when are they just ‘playing’ mom because she is a pushover?
Don’t get me wrong when I need something there is usually at least one of them ready and willing to help, they stand up to bullies at school and in the world at large, they support their friends and family and they actually make it a habit of standing up and supporting those in their circles who need help and protection, for whatever the reason. They are really shaping up to be good, kind and strong individuals that a mom can be proud of….. it’s the mundane everyday chores and boring stuff that they are more than happy to fluff off.
So like I said, time to switch gears … I think the emergency protocol can be put to rest for now and move on to the more boring everyday ‘make your bed’ initiatives! Wish me luck, there is a lot of reprogramming that needs to be done and to teens no less! LOL