I was on a long run with a buddy the other day. He's a father of a six year old boy. They will not have another child. He asked me what I thought was the one thing I've told Marco (an only child) that had the biggest impact on him.
Regularly I feel like I talk in circles with our son.
Regularly I feel like he doesn't hear me or that I'm doing it all wrong.
But this reminds me daily that maybe we have done it right.
We made a decision that is so counter intuitive as a parent or at least is counter intuitive to me at times. Kids are going to explode. They need to break down and have their moments, get mad, throw tantrums etc. We made the decision that we wanted those breakdowns to occur at home where he was safe. We embrace the tantrums. As a teenager they get a bit louder and a bit hairy from time to to time. He never gets in trouble for the tantrum. He simply gets his time to let it all out and then we try to give him his space. It's hard when the tantrum is directed at us for something we did or did not do but I've grown accustomed to it.
It's counter intuitive because the home is supposed to be the quiet zone. Outside is loud and crazy and home should be quiet and calm. Our house is anything but quiet.
At the same time we have taught him or more preached to him how to act outside our house. Most importantly we talk about how to treat others. He generally brushes these discussions off like "yeah right that's how the world works." Or talks about others with annoyance and disdain.
It doesn't matter who we talk to or where we go, and what we observe. The kid that is so annoying is getting full attention from our son. The parents all tell us he is "The nicest boy". The coach simply nods to me that all is good. The teachers love him.
It's important for me to remember that he's going to throw tantrums. If he can't throw them at home he's going to throw them outside. We see it all the time but it's not usually in the form of a tantrum but in the form of aggression.
There are instances with the Slam of a door that I just want to run up stairs open that door and give him a strong peace of my mind. That slamming doors is not how we act. That your Civil Air Patrol voice does not belong in our house. That you treat your mother with the respect she deserves.
Those instances are always washed away when we see him do something like he did on Saturday. He had the race of his life but his running partner did not. All seasib the running partner was on track to make the state meet easily. Then over the last two weeks something happened and it came unraveled. Marco passed his teammate 1/2 way through the CIF Championship and beat him by a large margin. When Marco saw his buddy cross the line and collapse, Marco ran up to him, gave him a hug and then proceeded to remove the chip from his shoe. In that instant nothing else mattered to Marco but taking care of his buddy.
It's a good life....