Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Root, Not the Drama

The root, not the behavior. I keep telling myself that over and over again. Don’t look at the kids’ behavior- think about the root of it.

Except when they burp out loud at the dinner table. That’s about behavior. Period.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster lately with Ben. I had a friend suggest that Ben’s meltdown while I was away was perhaps because he wanted to be my project- instead of all the “dumb politics” as he calls it.

Hmm.

There is a parallel, of course. Dumb politics often focuses on the drama de jour rather than digging for the roots of the problem. Bailing out the economy isn’t the answer- it’s a Band-Aid. We will go down the same tubes again if we do not change the fundamentals.

The loss on Prop. 8 in California is about deep-rooted ignorance, not which television ads were used or not used. People voted against a faceless categorization of people. Often, because their church told them to.

Ben had a moment last night. I’m not going to get into the specifics because I realize it’s not the point. The point is I have a boy who is desperately struggling in a society that is not very open to him. He loves music, facebook and being fashionably dressed. He is kind, at heart.

Every mom says that, he responded last night when I said that to him.

But you are going to great lengths to never let anyone see it, I replied back.

How do we get to the core? How do we get past the words, and the news reports and see what lies underneath?

The Dow reaches 9,000 and everyone sighs relief. They shouldn’t. It’s still broken and the people who broke it are still in charge.

The loss in CA has been responded to by some of the most negative, personal assessments of those running the campaign. It misses the point.

We live in such an instant gratification society it’s hard to slow down and stop. Examine. Evaluate. Underneath all the bad boy bravado, my son is scared. He doesn’t feel normal at an age that normalcy is at a premium. No, where conformity is all anyone strives for because none of them feel normal.

With all those hormones in full swing, who could?

He has an added layer, with two moms, two dads, no divorce to explain it. Not to mention other parts of his life he is beyond reluctant to address. He writes, “Ben is awesome” all over his notebooks.

I know who he is trying to convince.

And yet when he gets in my face, his brothers faces, it’s hard to remember this is a boy turning into a young man. It is often so hurtful, his brothers lash out at him. They call him the names he is most afraid of.

He doesn’t feel good about himself. He continues to sabotage everything, screaming out for help and screaming when he gets it.

I thought I needed Valium for the election…

Instead, I’ve been taking long walks with my dog when I get too upset. I go back to the root, and try to think of how to address it. He is furious, currently, that we are moving him to a private school.

You will get a second chance, I said.

The kids are all the same everywhere! He shouted back.

Yes, they are. But who you are, if you let yourself be who you really are? Will attract different kids. It won’t be so hard all the time.

I know his secret. He knows I do. He wants me to fix it and wants me as far away as possible.

I can’t fix it. I can only understand the root and open doors for him. He will have to walk through them.

Mostly? I must remember, every day, to look past the drama de jour and focus on the cause. It’s pointless and engages me in the wrong way to do anything else.

Now if we could only learn that in the political arena, we might actually get somewhere for once.

20 Comments:

Blogger Sue J said...

As I've said before, excellent post. Hang in there.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Tim and Louie said...

Sara, if you haven't read these books already, I would highly suggest you check them out. At least read some of the reviews that people have given them before you decide on whether to purchase them or not. I think they will really help out with all three kids.

How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk
http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Teens-Will-Listen/dp/0060741260/

Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children
http://www.amazon.com/Parent-Effectiveness-Training-Responsible-Children/dp/0609806939/

Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication
http://www.amazon.com/Between-Parent-Child-Revolutionized-Communication/dp/0609809881/

Best of luck,

Louie

8:55 PM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

I can feel how you love him so hard.

He needs you to be there and he needs you to be away.

He needs you. You're a good mom, maybe the best I've seen. You'll do it.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

Those are good, but for my money, go with "Parenting From the Heart," by Inbal Kashtan.

You're right, Sara, great post. We need to get to the root - state the reality clearly, envision the goal clearly, and set out on the way to create that vision.

I'm going to envision a nation where all families are valued equally, regardless of who the parents love.

Okay, that needs work but you get the idea...

10:42 PM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

p.s., you don't have to be perfect. Who you are is plenty good enough. You've got a lot of slack. You can screw up way worse than you have or ever will, and it will work.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

well, I remember that I don't hit him, I don't drink excessively, he's never been sexually abused, and...

mostly?

it's not about me. it's about him.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I'd suggest this one: Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values for the Family (Paperback)
It did me a world of good. It doesn't "fix" the child, it fixes the parent more or less - but I do NOT mean to suggest that you are doing anything wrong.
I've said this before: I hope you realize that not only do your kids read your blog, their class mates may do so, too.
You know by now that I'm the type to always suggest solutions, which, again, does not imply that I think you are not doing the right things, but here goes: a therapist might be a good thing. And secondly: It might help him if you toughen up a bit and insist that he behaves in a certain manner, no matter how unhappy he feels. He'll get into fewer self-esteem-damaging conflicts that way, maybe.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

ulla, excellent point about the blog.

it is why I have not said much...

9:24 AM  
Anonymous a friend said...

you are saying a lot, sara. i know why and i understand it, but maybe some things, that he can appreciate later (like what you know and how you're dealing with it, from a place of love) may be best said in private letters that he could read in a few years?

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about a child psychologist?

10:54 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

just because there is a root does not excuse the drama. Just got to keep reminding him that there are other ways to deal with it other than the drama.
I am still working on it with the 16yr lol. Good luck.

I would trade with you but your better off with the male version I have 3 female version but let me know if your up for the challenge.

mantra: your a great mom and no matter what you do they will still find a reason to need therapy.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

To clarify about the therapist/child psychologist: He may not be needed right this minute, but still, it's easier and better and may even be cheaper to start now, and then, when he is really needed in a couple of years, he'll be an old friend. I woundn't suggest it if you were stretched for money, but as it is, it's something to consider.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of his classmates that found this. Do i care what you write here? Heck no! You are a great writer and I think what you write is really touching. Does he want to move to private school though?

9:07 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

okay, if you are really a classmate, that means this discussion is over.

I may just remove this tomorrow.

I can't have that happen.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Susanna said...

Hi, I can't remember if I've commented before-- I found your blog recently and have enjoyed learning your writing. Is it ok if I post your link on my blog?

- Susanna

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Susanna said...

oh goodness-- "enjoyed learning your writing"... what kind of writing is that?! I had changed "enjoyed learning your story" to "enjoyed your writing"....

12:56 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I wouldlove a link, susanna!

I'm still trying to determine if the "student friend" is really one. if you are, you've been reading this in chinese.

which doesn't mean for one minute you're not a classmate of ben's.

he seems to think he knows who it is.

and he's smiling about it.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

I've lived my life in the open on the net since 1989, except for the past several weeks when WordPress broke posting to my blog and Charter broke my USENET access.

Not one bad thing has happened to me becuse of it. Not one.

Not that it might not happen to you, but I can't live any other way. My freedom is too important.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

bob, it's more about ben's privacy. mind you, he knows what I write, I told him one of his classmates might be reading it and he seemed amused.

happy. the kid is obsessed with reality tv- he sees the blog as a mini-series.

it's about him, his friends. not me.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

Wrt being about Ben or you or Jeanine or whatever, what was it EE Cummings said in his first nonlecture about "peripherally situated egos" and "boxoftricks"?

Hell, I revel in it.

2:14 AM  

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