Interpersonal Problems

I was lazy this morning and didn’t make my ten-year-old truly repent after being upset with the seven-year-old who reneged on a deal. Of course, the ten-year-old traded him for something that belonged to all the kids, not just him. The seven-year-old wanted the yo-yo. It was a Christmas present from one of my aunts. There were two of them for all the boys, but he couldn’t find the other and needed one for a special project. The ten-year-old had one in his desk. He had staked a claim on it, although not rightfully so. I couldn’t follow all the details of the deal (can’t say I was really trying to), but he bought the yo-yo and then found the other, and then wanted his stuff back that he had bought the other with. The ten-year-old didn’t want it back. He wanted the stuff he traded it for.

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They were both wrong to some degree, as is the case most of the time. It’s draining, guiding them along to work things out and making sure everyone’s heart is in a good place. Usually with some time alone they will forgive and let it go. Other times I make them just hug until they break down and love each other.

But I was lazy this morning and just told him to get his heart right, and then had to deal with a diaper. I didn’t make it back to check on things. The younger one moved on with his life; the older one just redirected his angst at another brother. He ended up putting himself in bed (his only place to himself, not the room, just the bed), and he got his heart right. He knows the Lord and can pray and get himself turned around. It’s easy to tell when that happens. The next we heard from him, he had made all his brothers grilled cheese sandwiches.

Do you intervene? Do you let them work it out? It’s tiring trying to make sure everyone is forgiving and loving. It’s a lot of work, maintaining relationship. Most evenings we have a family Bible time. Don’t ooh and ahh; it’s underwhelming, but we try to check in and make sure everyone is loving everyone else. Often it’s just a “Does everybody love everybody else?” but if I know there’s been arguing, we’ll stop and make them ask for forgiveness and talk it through. Why can’t we just get along?

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Like a Piece of Pumpkin Pie

I had a two hour standoff with my five-year-old this morning. It took him two hours to nicely ask for something to eat or drink. He didn’t get breakfast until almost twenty after ten.

It’s not that he was being rude and demanding. He just wasn’t willing to use his words, which he’s perfectly capable of doing. He has physical disabilities, but no speech disability! (There’s a story to that, but for another time.)

Nathaniel in Walker
From the summer of 2015

To help me keep from caving when he came close, asking with a nice tone but refusing to add please, or saying please but refusing to ask, I watched a show I had recorded on the DVR. It’s about adults going undercover into high school. I don’t know if I’ll keep watching it, but I do find culture and interactions fascinating. I’d like to tell a lot of those kids about how they could homeschool and be saved from so much of that grief.

So I successfully distracted myself, and it was a big victory. He has asked a handful of nice questions since and is peacefully napping now. It takes it out of you, though. Standoffs are emotionally draining.

This is our youngest and the least trained. His disabilities multiply the affect of being the baby in the family. There’s always someone around to make him happy and do anything for him. I can’t be with him constantly to make sure others aren’t reinforcing his bad habits. He knows how to put on a pitiful face and use a pitiful voice to get people to fall all over him to get him what he wants. I have to buckle down, but I haven’t made the effort with him all day, all the time to make sure that happens. His oldest brother may be the biggest push over. “But he wanted it…” It’s hard to tell his brothers to not be sweet to him, even if it’s for his own good! And so, little guy gets away with it, too much. So where to draw the line? I don’t know. I want them to be sweet, but not too sweet, like a piece of pumpkin pie.

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