Parents talk and kids talk

I’m not sure how many times I written about how KD, my 10-year-old son, and I bang heads. This happens for umpteen reasons and I’ve gotten tired of it. KD goes to a school that prides itself on being peaceful, and if there’s a conflict, the kids go to a peace table and have “peace talks, ” which don’t finish until the problems are resolved. He and I don’t have a peace table…

Still, I know he and I need to communicate better about issues. But when something happens and I try to talk to him, he tells me he’s not ready and avoids them. Conveniently, one tenet of peace talks is that you don’t have to talk until you’re ready. Typically he isn’t ready. Since I usually come home from work after he’s asleep, the conversations don’t happen. The next morning seems like it has been too long and I need to “let things go.” The talks don’t happen. And this leaves me pretty annoyed.

I’m not sure why, but last Tuesday it hit me that there’s really no reason for me to get angry. He’s ten and acting like a ten-year-old. I tried to take my ego out of it (which is something my wife says to me ALL THE TIME) and stayed 100% calm when he did the acting-out thing kids do in the a.m.

I think this threw KD and he tried to suck me back in, but I stayed calm when he yelled. Knowing he wasn’t getting anywhere, he spun out of the room and got ready. A bit later he came out and apologized. I thanked him for saying sorry (another tenet of peace talks) and helped with his breakfast. After wolfing down his food, he hit the road to school.

In his rush, he forgot to clear his breakfast plate, which I cleaned-up. And then I had a thought and decided to try something out. I left him a note reminding him to clear his plate. I also said something very positive about the morning. I had no idea how it would go, and honestly I was a little anxious.

In the afternoon, my wife called and told me that he was overjoyed with the note. Apparently he jumped around as happy as can be. He screamed, “Mom, dad left me a note!!!” Then he broke down every word with her. If he had a frame, I think it would have been on his wall by the time I got in. When I walked in the door, he ran to me, jumped up and gave me a huge hug and said, “DAD, thanks for my note. I loved it!!!”

The next morning he told me again how much he loved the note and then cleared his plate before heading off to school. I left another note in “his spot.”  Later, I learned he loved it.  Maybe I was onto something…

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Fast forward to Monday, and we’re a week in. Prior to today he has done really well and I’ve left him a note with a small reminder and thanked him for all the good stuff he has done.  Today, I didn’t even have to remind him of anything or stay calm. He just cruised along, happy as can be, and did the stuff he is supposed to do.  I was thrilled and on his note I simply told him how happy I was that we had such a great morning.  He got an A+!

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Yesterday was even more fun. Despite us having an unusual morning making sure all our family and friends were ok in the fires, KD stayed on task had another great morning. I had to rush out the door and told him I didn’t have time to leave a note. Pleased with himself, he said, “That’s ok.  How about I write a note to myself?”  As I sprinted out the door, he showed me the note and commented on how his writing looks just like mine!  Another A+ morning!  And then last night I got a cool treat when I walked in the door.  KD left ME a note telling me how great a father I am and how I could have an Otter Pop if I wanted.  It was late and I needed no sugar, but I headed to the freezer and chose grape.

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For now, this parent, spouse and therapist is enjoying peaceful mornings, father and son notes, and grape Otter Pops.

Until next time…

 

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