Posted by: DD | May 4, 2009

WHEN WILL THE DAMAGE BECOME IRREVERSIBLE?

I’ve mentioned before how Mr. DD can be a real asshole when it comes to what I loosely term as “parenting” XBoy. Before I rant about it, I will say that most of the time he’s great. It’s just when he’s not, he’s really not.

This morning? Mr. DD hit one of his low points.

XBoy has a hard time in the mornings. It’s not because he’s still tired or sleepy. He just can’t seem to focus on what’s important, which is to wash up, get dressed in his school uniform, and let Dad know what he wants for breakfast (I’m usually getting ready for work and dealing with ZGirl, but I have to overhear the inevitable arguments). It’s not unusual to find XBoy in is room half-dressed and playing with something instead of taking to task. We understand that he’s 7. We understand that his room is full of tempting toys. We understand ADHD. We understand that it can take up to an hour for his meds to take hold. But it tries our patience to the limit since this is something we have dealt with every.damn.school.day for the last three years. It infuriates Mr. DD. Granted; it pisses me off, too.

On this day, XBoy was looking for some money he was given by Mr. DD’s hobby group members for helping them out at the track. He wanted to bring the money to school and buy something at the book fair. Mr. DD had picked it up off the floor last night after XBoy had went to bed, and was peeved at his carelessness and instead of giving the money back to XBoy when he asked where it was, he simply told him that he might get it later, after XBoy had gotten dressed and had breakfast.

Unfortunately, XBoy got upset. He started to cry. And whine. Two things most hated by Mr. DD. He told XBoy to “dry up” and then he did something I’ve never heard him do to XBoy: he started to mock XBoy by mimicking him. Even when Mr. DD is being a total prick to XBoy, I try not to intervene openly. Instead I’ll glare at him or give him the finger across the throat sign for “That’s enough!” without XBoy’s notice. If crying and whining are the sparks to Mr. DD’s anger, me undermining him in front of XBoy is fuel.

I was in the bedroom during this most recent exchange so I could only listen and feel my own face burn in embarrassment and anger on my son’s behalf. After things settled down, I called Mr. DD into the bedroom under the guise of needing help with something. When he came in, I had him follow me into the master bath where I proceeded to rip him a new one.

“Did your parents mock you like that?!”

“Hell, yes!” he responded as if that an everyday occurrence with him (and knowing his parents like I do, it probably was).

“Then that’s YOUR problem. Don’t make it XBoy’s. He’s already got issues with you as it is (hinting at the comments XBoy made about his dad in counseling). Stop comparing him to his classmates (he was doing this after XBoy’s poor behavior in church, “Soandso was saying the Lord’s Prayer! Soandso was sitting still! Why can’t you? Etc. etc. blah blah blah.”) He’s not Soandso. He’s Xboy! How would you like it if I said, ‘This Boyfriend did this for me,’ or ‘That Boyfriend did that for me,’ when you’re being a total Fuck to me, huh?”

“You mean, why don’t I beat you like That Boyfriend did?” he replied.

*screech!*

Oh, yes. He did.

And yes, I did have a boyfriend who I would have to call abusive. If  I had stayed with him after he slapped me – once – in anger. But when that happened, I packed my shit out of his apartment and was gone before the end of the day. And completely irrelevant to anything but purely a knee JERK (can I say “literally” here or that pretty much implied?) response from him!

After he walked back out, I thought of several things I could have said to make matters worse (like, “Was your Mom sober when she verbally abused you??”), but I bit it all back. Move on, I told myself. But I’m pretty angry about it because we’ve had these kinds of discussions before. XBoy doesn’t take criticism well (who does?) and we are impatient parents to a child that needs infinite patience.

It’s a total sonofabitch to want so badly for your child to mature into a responsible, caring adult if the adults raising the child can be sonsofbitches. It’s a volatile mix.

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Responses

  1. Ya know..the one thing I have learned from raising 3 boys is that each one needed to be treated differently to get them to pay attention to the task at hand.

    I had to remind myself over and over that they WERE NOT just short adults.

    I had one that not only kept his room clean, but enjoyed it..yeah, I know, bizarre kid.

    The next one is a tornado in creation. He has ADD to the maximum possible. I swear if I hadn’t have checked him everyfuckingmorning he would have gotten on the bus in his shirt and underwear. I would screech and plead and he would chuckle and promptly forget what I had said 3 minutes before.

    The last one is also a pigpen, with ADD, but takes the criticism VERY differently. He is extremely sensitive and can be knocked to his knees by “the look”.

    Mr.DD needs to remember that the little boy will grow up to be a reflection of him and will soak up Mr DD’s “ways”. If he can get something across to Xboy, without belittling him, I know it will be absorbed in a positive way and can almost guarantee you that Xboy will live up to the positive goals that are set.

    (Then again, he is a boy and we all know that boys are,,,,well,,,,different with their grasp of the implied!)

  2. Man, that’s so tricky. Ben reminds me of X-Boy in his issues with getting distracted and getting ready in the morning and it infuriates me (as does the crying) too.

    I wish I knew what to tell you about this. I’m sorry your husband loses his temper and I understand how much that must bug you. I don’t know what I would do here.

    Hang in there DD.

    • Some day I’m going to have the video camera handy and I’m going to tape him
      so he can realize how hurtful he can be to his son. It’s easy enough to
      rerun the words in your head, but to see the look on the faces as the words
      are said? It’s gutting.

  3. I’m so sorry he was an ass. But this post and it’s honesty are just why i love the damn internet so much.

    And you!

  4. As the volatile one in this household this post made me feel guilty of the things I do when I am wound up or miserable and take it out on the kids when they are being frustratingly obtuse. I know I am always sorry when I turn into the immature kid maybe he is too?

    • Yes, he usually is remorseful after the fact. Unfortunately, he can’t seem
      to recall that feeling the next time he’s frustrated. I’m guilty of that as
      well and we often are saying to each other “practice what you preach” in
      angry whispers.

      Remember the recent question in blogs about whether parenting or marriage is
      harder? For the record, my answer is unequivocably parenting.

  5. My husband criticizes my parenting techniques and I crumble. I criticize his and he ignores me or tells me that I’m crazy. My 2 year old tells me to stop talking to daddy when he winds me up and I start yelling at him. It’s a tough time trying to behave like the person you think you are.

  6. I have no words of advice. Only that both P and I get wound up over K being a typical 2 year old.

    I really liked a’s comment, “It’s a tough time tyring to behave like the person you think you are”. I’ll add it’s a tough time trying to behave like the person you want to be.

  7. Oh my. So sorry. I got a similar comment (had to do with STDs though) from my husband once and I’ve never forgotten about it and it was nearly a decade ago.

    Parent-child stuff repeating. That’s hard. I find myself doing things like my mom sometimes (the yelling). It’s so hard to stop.

  8. Oh yikes! What a sucky way for all of you to start your day. Part me wishes you had said, “Oh no not THAT boyfriend. I meant the one that totally rocked my world in the bedroom. The one with the super big d***!” But I’m petty and vengeful that way!

    My dad (who is super in so many ways) also has very little patient. I was a HORRIBLE teenager. HORRIBLE and we got into many arguments. I know we said some not so nice things to each, but don’t remember specifics. I do remember the quiet knock on my door afterwards. And the heartfelt apology from my father. And the talks we’d have about both of our quick tempers and how we were going to go forward. It was nice to hear my dad say he was sorry and admit he wasn’t perfect. Sure he wasn’t going to win dad of the year award, but we have an amazing relationship now. Which is good, because I know that I’ll be doing a little apologizing to my own kids over the years!

    Is Mr. DD able to apologize to Xboy? I know it would mean a lot.

    • Yes, that is something at least, Mr. DD does feel crappy enough to realize
      what he said or did was hurtful. It takes him a while to come around (he
      talked to XBoy about it when he picked him up from school). We each have
      done our fair share of apologizing to both XBoy and each other.

  9. ugh!!! not cool on Mr. DD’s part

  10. *screech* indeed! I cannot believe he would say that. whew.

    I’ve recently read a few books about ‘Positive discipline’ by Jane nelsen. Would Mr. DD be willing to read something like that and give it a shot? I’d recommend the A to Z solves all your problems one if he would… just a thought!

    The upshot, for a scenario like getting ready in the morning, would be to let Xboy go to school hungry or not fully clothed (with clothes in a bag or something) – let him experience the consequences of his meandering in the morning… I have no idea if it would work with ADHD but I thought it might be worth mentioning. You know, assvice and all.

    • Read? Mr. DD read??? Ha!

      Also, we have taken him to school without his shoes on and it doesn’t really
      make an impact except to embarrass him, and that’s the last thing I want for
      him as he has a hard enough time with his peers as it is.

  11. Wow. You handled that so much better than I would have… my not so sober mil would definitely have been dragged into that situation. But then, like Betty M, I’m usually the one screwing up hugely and apologizing to everyone around here so… yeah. When people can be patient (or at least bite their tongue) with my kind, it’s really appreciated. It sucks to learn *as a parent* that one might’ve preferred to have been raised by wolves. Sucks for ones kids too, but I don’t ever remember my father apologizing to us – and there was cause, I assure you – so well played to your husband, too.

  12. Oh no, that’s absolutely awful of Mr. DD. It is so hard when a child is on your last nerve, but parents do have to remember that they’re just kids. Has Mr DD heard what XBoy has said in therapy? It might be a good idea if he hasn’t, because I wonder if he realizes that his actions are having those consequences.

    Wow, I can’t believe he said that to you, though. That was a truly bad decision on his part. I think it demonstrates how he doesn’t think about what he’s saying before he says it. Ouch.

    I have to admire your ability to bite your tongue and say things in private because I am terrible about that. J will criticize P at times, seemingly forgetting that he is only 5, and it drives every rational thought out of my mind to wait until we’re in private. I hate to think how often I have criticized his parenting in front of our kids, so I really admire that you can wait to do that in private.

  13. Maggie has been really……whiney of late. She wants to stay up later at night, but is a bear to get out of bed in the morning. When we tell her that it’s bedtime (8:00 – 8:30) she starts with the waterworks. “Why does Will get to stay up later? He’s just a baby! I PROMISE I’ll get up on time!”
    Joe doesn’t deal well with it. JUST GET TO BED! ENOUGH!! STOP BEING SUCH A BABY! I have to remind him that she is 5.

    • That makes me NUTS: “stop being a baby!” “grow up!”. Really? Isn’t childhood
      too short as it is?

  14. Your son is old enough to remember these things for the rest of his life, so the damage is already happening. I remember every hurtful thing my dad ever said or did to me from the age of 5 on. I also remember a few things from when I was 3 or 4. Fortunately, my mom left him when I was 5 and he was lax about visitation, so he wasn’t around enough to do too much damage.

    It sounds like some parenting classes are in order.

  15. And yet, Mr DD is still alive – kudos to you for not taking him out right then and there.

  16. I too, have a 7 year old without ADHD. He has the same problem in the morning. He cannot keep his hands off of the things in his room. It is a daily struggle for me too. I use the touch it again and lose it for 24hrs technique. It has moderate success.

    Did you know that there is no difference in the number of times that boys and girls cry in a day until they are twelve?


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