March 30, 2012

He’s a Runaway

Recently, my older son, who is now eight, has been learning to deal with his emotions.  He has a tendency to turn small episodes into large emotional outbursts.  After talking to friends, I have discovered this is a normal developmental stage that he will outgrow, though not soon enough for me. 

Last Saturday, after getting up, I suggested he clean his room and the basement to earn his allowance.  After about a half an hour, I go down to the basement and find that he and his brother are playing with their vast Lego collection.  I told them that this is not how you earn allowance, and no allowance will be given if the room is not cleaned.

That comment sent my older son into an emotional tizzy with a barrage of outbursts, including: “You don’t love me!”  “You think I’m a rotten kid!”  “Nobody likes me!” All followed by a stomping up the stairs to his room. I went to the living room, sat on the couch and listened to the banging, wondering what the heck was going on, but hesitated interrupting him.  About five minutes later he came stomping down the stairs with a tote bag full of all of his clothes.  He marched right past me and headed to the front door.  I asked him where he was going, and he yelled, “SOMEWHERE WHERE PEOPLE WILL LOVE, WHICH DOESN’T HAPPEN HERE!!!”  He went to open the door but the top lock was locked, so he tried to unlock the bottom lock and still can’t get out.  Then he tried to unlock the top lock but had inadvertently locked the bottom.  Needless to say this went on for what seemed like 20 minutes.  He kept trying different combinations of locks but couldn’t get the door open.  I finally said, “Well, I knew life as a runaway would be hard, I just didn’t think it would be so hard so quickly.” As much as I tried to not laugh, I broke out in hysterics.

He threw his bag down and stomped back upstairs to, most likely, rework his plot.  I gave about five minutes to cool off before I went up to talk it out.  I sat on his bed, asked him why he was so upset and just listened without interruption.  Finally, I gave him a big hug, told him that I loved him and tickled him in his arm pits. Before I knew it, he was cleaning up his room and earning his allowance.  I just laid down on his bed to tried to regain some energy.  After all, it was only 10:00 a.m.  I might have three more of these episodes today.

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