Saturday, July 01, 2006

David's Story Part 36: Talking to David

Rossecorp asked if I talked to David. Of course, the real question, "What approaches did you use in talking to David."

First, I should be clear that I don't usually give orders. I tend to point out problems. "Andrew, your coat is still in the living room." Sometimes I express my feelings or my needs. "It makes me very angry when you leave your messes everywhere." "I need for the television to be turned down."

I'm real big on letting the kids deal with the natural and logical consequences of their actions.

Evan recently joked about my non-confrontational way of dealing with things. How can he refuse to help out when I say things like, "Evan. I really need for the dishes to be washed. Is now a good time, or would you rather do it in an hour?"

David had lived with us for 18 months and we had not really had any significant conflicts. He did get himself "stranded" in The City more than once. I picked him up, told him calmly that if he could not arrange firm rides home, then I would not be able to give him rides. He would pout. I would find myself unable to give him a ride for a couple of weeks. Then he would come and assure me that so and so had promised that he would give him a ride back before 11:00pm, would I please drive him to The City?

I have got angry at the kids. If they speak to me disrespectfully I have demanded that they apologize and rephrase.

So when David was sick and first wanted to go spend time with his friends in The City it made sense. He was worried and uncomfortable. There really was nothing I could do for him. If he felt better hanging out with his friends, it made sense to let him spend some time there.

What did I say? I told him that I wanted him to come home; I drove out and brought him back. My old trick of refusing to give him a ride again didn't work; his boyfriend came and got him. I remember sitting down and having a very civilized conversation in which I explained that I was not comfortable with him staying there so long. He said that he would come home if there was any reason to, but there wasn't. Why did I just want him to sit around our house instead of theirs?

And so I debated whether to fight with him, and decided not to. Just let him stay.

When he did finally come back he was hostile for no apparent reason. He did not want to talk to us. I did start arguing with him the last weekend. I finally drug him home on the Sunday before school started. Though I had not fought with him, he acted as though we had had a huge fight. He went into his room and shut the door.

I tried to talk to him. He shut me out. It was like I was dealing with a different kid. I did not know how to get through to him.

It was bizarre. Wednesday rolled around and he annouced that he had his ticket and wanted to be taken to the youth group. It was after the group that Hubby tried to talk to him.


I had a talk with David. As I expected, all he heard from Hubby was, "You should talk to Ruby about finding a family in The City." He was crying a little when he said that. We talked. He said that he wanted to be here and I told him that I wanted him. We hugged. He seemed to understand that we needed for him to be part of the family. I tried to get him to understand what Hubby was trying to say. He claimed he did, but he won't talk to Hubby. That cannot continue.

Anyway, he is spending all of his weekend with his friends again. They are going through major drama. The short version is that he friends are fighting and everyone is possessive of David. When he is with one person the other one is mad at him. When he is home everyone calls him trying to get him on their side. It is all very childish of course -- and David is horrible at dealing with all this. They play tug of war and he allows himself to be the rope.

David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 37: Asking Ruby for Help

1 comment:

  1. rossecorp4:40 PM

    This is so interesting. First of all, I want to say that you sound like such a good mom! All the things you do, I TRY to do--make statements, use natural consequences, etc. My son however is a master at engaging me and getting me to negotiate what he wants--even when I start out saying flat out "no." For the past year or so, my son, who is 17 now, has been doing pretty much the same thing as David did--spending all his time out of the home. He comes home every night, but immediately gets on the phone and talks to his girlfriend. I have had no idea whether this is normal or not, or how much family/home time to require of him. So I'm following the David story very closely!


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