Monday, May 18, 2009

Testing My Parenting

Another way for me to look at what has been going on lately is this is a test of my parenting skills. Let me give you a peek at my day so far:

George wakes up at Joe is leaving for work, he is instantly angry. So angry he won't even say goodbye to Joe. Joe looks at me and say, "You are going to have one heck of a day!" Thankfully, Joe called an hour later to encourage me :)

I tried to give George his breakfast - oh, I am so tired of the drill - he pushes it away. But, within a few minutes, as he sees his siblings eat, he grabs his plate and eats. The day starts going a little better until...dum, dum, da-dum...Lincoln put on the bike helmet! Oh, no - you scream!!!

We are talking about a skateboard helmet, actually, that belongs to Harry. Harry has put some cool stickers on it, and I have to admit it is pretty cool. George found it in the garage on Friday and wore it all day! I mean, all day! That thing was on, along with an old life-jacket until it was bed time. Saturday, same thing. Bike helmet on George all day.

He would look at us and point to his head and ask, "George's?" and we would repeatedly answer, "No. Harry's!" Eventually, he was pointing to the helmet and saying "Harry's!" We then used the word "share" over and over again. In fact, we use the word "share" hourly between George and Lincoln!

So, today, after a morning of grocery shopping, Lincoln put on the helmet. And George went berserk! Screaming, sitting in grease in the garage with the horrible, high-pitched shrill scream we call the tribal war scream. I picked him up and brought him to his room reminding him, "We don't scream like that", and "Lincoln is sharing the helmet". George was so mad! He sat on his bed, continued to scream until I had it and gave him a spanking.

Side note - to all those who don't agree in spanking - trust me! This is working and has worked with many, many Ethiopian boys. Please don't judge me - I am doing what God has led me to believe is the best way to discipline George.

So, now George stops screaming, but decides to throw everything we have ever given him out his bedroom door. One by one shoes come flying out. Then some crayons, a toy airplane, all the stuffed animals anyone has given him (which numbers about 6 Build-A-Bear animals), and he tries to rip his comforter off the bed.

I have a split second to decide how to respond to this behavior. This is where the constant testing of my parenting comes into play. I know I need to be un-emotional, calm and decisive. So, I pick up everything, calmly and state, "I am taking these things and putting them away. You can now earn them back."

Oh, the drama! This goes on and on and I continue to pick things up out of the hallway and calmly state what I am doing with the items. After about 30 minutes - and not much left in the room - George comes out and eats lunch with Eleanor and Lincoln. He asks for more, and as I am dishing out a second helping, sighing to myself about being a servant to a child who has just been a little brat, he jumps off his stool and holds open his arms to me. He wants a hug!

Of course, come here you precious little boy! I know you want to love me! I know you want me to love you! I will always hug you, no matter what you do! I promise to always forgive you and always welcome you back. You are mine, now, please don't forget it.

George was saying he was sorry and he was saying, in his own way, "I love you, Mommy!"


Heidi Mehltretter said...

You should meet my friend Mindi, her Ethiopian son has some of these same anger issues. We are both doing a therapy with our kids right now that might help you. I think our sons (well, my son-to-be) were in Soddo together, and likely in Addis together. I saw you post on Fouse, so that's what made me think that. Write anytime.
hm cine at yahoo dot com

Katy said...

I thought I should post a comment since I have been faithfully following your blog and your experience with George. You have been so inspiring to me. Your posts encourage me so much. Not because you have it all figured out, but because you are truly relying on God for your strength. Thank you for sharing and being honest. I have already learned so much from you. Even in this time when you feel weak and stretched beyond your limits, God is using you more than you know.
P.S. And I am still praying for you also.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Katy's post!!

growing with you,