This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm an idiot

Earlier this week, Hubby told the kids that on Saturday he would take them to practice scuba in the dive pool (Hubby is a scuba instructor), but only if they weren't in the FAIR Club. Bear instantly dove into action on his writing assignment.

Thursday Bear told me he'd completed his assignment. I told him to leave it on the counter where I could review it. Of course he had only finished the writing assignment, not the extra chores for earning the $110 he needed to earn for the MP3 player. I debated long and hard on whether or not to let him participate in this fun activity with Hubby, and finally decided he needed some fun memories, and couldn't be in trouble all the time. I wanted to reward his at least getting the writing assignment done.

Friday nights we eat dinner out with Poppy and Grandma (have I ever told you how much I love my Mom?). I let Bear know how proud I was of him completing his writing assignment and told him that I had decided to let him go to the pool with Hubby even though he hadn't finished his FAIR Club assignment.

Bear claimed he thought the whole thing was done because I had mentioned he could use his allowance to pay off the $110. For over a year we have put the kids' allowances in "savings." We couldn't afford to pay them an allowance, but we wanted them to still feel a motivation for doing chores. We didn't think it would be for very long.

I had made it very clear when I mentioned using allowance to pay off the $110 that Bear could not just use saved allowance, but that we were planning to start paying allowance again and he could use that. I did not state outright that even if he used his weekly allowance that he would be in the FAIR Club until it was paid off, but it was implied. Bear always uses stuff like that... or he just claims not to remember it that way.

We discussed the fact that I had no fast and easy way to make money. None of the chores on the extra chore list (we keep posted for any kid who wants to earn extra money) are for more than $3. We just don't need much done around here that can be trusted to a kid. Did I mention that Bear has completely on his own, managed to completely tweak and "fix" two lawnmowers and the weedeater so they will never work again?!

Bear asked why he can't just go to the neighbor who pays $100 just for some quick landscaping help. I didn't bother to tell him why not. I just said it needs to be for the family. (Now, I can think of all the things I should have said... "because your lying effected the family, therefore the family should benefit from your labor.").

Of course a real part of it is that I want to stretch this out. I want him to be in the FAIR Club for awhile so I don't have to argue about letting him do stuff I don't trust him to be able to do.

Oh I forgot... the idiot part. The idiot part is that Bear didn't leave the finished writing assignment on the counter. Friday was crazy and I didn't think to check the assignment until Saturday morning. The boys left the house before I was ready for the day so I had to call and ask Bear where the assignment was. He said it was on his desk in his room (umm, wasn't it supposed to be on the counter?). So I went to his room. What I found was only half done. So I called again. He claimed the rest was in a yellow notebook which was "somewhere" in his room. I looked and didn't find it. By that time it was too late to stop the swimming.

From the dive store we went straight to therapy and then straight to Grandma's where all the kids were spending the night (Hubby and I had a date for our anniversary!). So it wasn't until tonight that I told Bear I needed the papers. He tried to put me off, but I insisted.

Of course the half done assignment was all there was. He said it was too hard, he didn't understand it, he needed something else to get it done (it mentioned an auditory version, but it was just a reading of what he had in writing - I'd told him this already), he'd lost part of the reading... he'd done all he could/would do. I told him all he had to do was ask for help with the part he didn't understand. He didn't have an excuse for the unfinished Bible verse copying so he blustered around that.

I feel like an idiot for not checking the assignment was complete sooner. Usually I'm really good about checking their assignments so I guess that's why it surprised me that he tried this. He knew he would get caught and this is the first time in forever that I didn't check him right away.

So now it's Spring Break and I or Grandma gets to deal with him all day. The good news is I don't care how long he stays in the FAIR Club so no pressure for me to make sure he gets his writing assignment done.

Is it just me or is it ironic to anyone else that he cheated on a writing assignment about integrity?


Anonymous said...

No, Mary, no. He didn't cheat. No cut-and-paste from Google. No copying off another kid's paper. But then he lied? Maybe. What did he actually say on Thursday. If he'd said "I'm done with the assignment", then what he meant wasn't what you thought he meant. (He meant "I'm not doing it anymore") so it wasn't actually a lie. But he did let you believe what you wanted to believe.

When mine was 8, he could out-logic me. I was a hot-shot software developer -- a trade that relies on logic if ever there was one.

Makes you want to be able to set a bear trap to catch him ... "no, that isn't my foot in the trap. It just looks like my foot because I lent my sneaker to this midget, and the midget decided he was cold and he crawled up my leg to stay warm ..."

marythemom said...

You're right Struggling. I should have said isn't it ironic that he lied on an assignment about integrity.

It doesn't matter what he actually said on Thursday because even if he'd said, "Mom, I answered every question and wrote out every bible verse," and then when I discovered that he didn't... he would have denied it, changed it, and rewrote history. I think he wasn't letting me believe what I wanted to believe, he was believing what he wanted to believe. It's not logic, it's denial.

When Bear lies I think he could actually pass a lie detector test. It is very common for 5-6 yr olds to have "magical thinking" -they actually want it to be true so much that it becomes true in their mind.


Anonymous said...

I'm a bit of an idiot too, given how many times you stress "words of affirmation." The top paragraph was meant more tongue-in-cheek than not (e.g. from his point of view), but I didn't make that clear. I'm sorry.

I wonder how much of what my eldest did that I always saw as intentional was actually true mis-perceptions on his part. Now that he is older, we can see that he doesn't have a firm grip on reality.

When I was in high school I did acid a few times. My first time was the best, and the most profound. I wrote in my journal, but I'd remember it anyway. After 5 or so hours in an altered state, I came to the conclusion that "Reality is what you want it to be." With my brain largely un-altered, that statement rings true only through strong belief and metaphysics. On the other end of the spectrum, those with DID (multiple personalities) can so completely alter reality that you can stand a short, white, male body in front of a mirror and the tall black female inside swears that she sees herself.

Fascinating, and scary. They can't learn about brains fast enough -- there is still too much we don't understand, but we need the answers.

Annie said...

You have more followers than me! Will that make you happy?

marythemom said...

Hi Annie,

Yes, that will make me happy! *grin*

I headed over to one of your blogs. Your 4 youngest children are almost exactly the same age as my 4. Cool! Looking forward to getting to know you!