There is nothing easy about being a parent. Just when you think you’ve figured things out… bam! Everything changes and what works doesn’t work anymore.
One thing that I’ve also learned as a mom is that whenever things go wrong, I am the one they get mad at, even if I had nothing to do with what they are mad about. My sons get so frustrated when they can’t do things perfectly, especially things having to do with school. For the most part academics comes very easy to my kids, this is good and bad. The challenge with this is when they have to work at a task or struggle to understand a concept they get really upset.
For example, Colby has a really strong understanding of math. He understands many math concepts before they are taught to him. He just has a way of figuring them out on his own. One thing that this did not translate well to was multiplication facts. Now, don’t get me wrong, Colby totally understands multiplication and can do it in his head, just not fast. Colby is my creative son, and this includes school. When Colby does math he does it Colby-style. And, Colby-style isn’t always fast, it’s right, it works, but it isn’t fast. In class right now they are taking timed multiplication tests daily. He has 1 minute to complete 40 multiplication facts that are mixed. Colby knows the facts, he just doesn’t have the memorized to the point that he can do them that rapidly. He doesn’t want to memorize them because… why should he? I can do the work. I can do the math problems. I know how it all works, why do I have to do these problems this way in this time frame? And for that I don’t have an answer. Why… because he is the same as me. I always struggled with memorizing math facts. I love math. I love problem solving. I took high level math, but wasn’t happy until I could use a calculator because then I didn’t have to struggle to do the computation to prove the answer that I already knew how to solve.
So, when Colby does not do well on these timed multiplication tests, he has to practice at home, and get the paper signed. This means that Colby has to remember to bring it home. Colby is my creative child… he is also my forgetful child. We always say Colby would forget his head if it wasn’t attached. Colby is smart, don’t get me wrong. Colby is just somewhat scattered and distracted. His brain is going so fast that simple things like packing his backpack, putting away his dirty clothes or closing the door to the garage don’t register as important in his brain.
Needless to say, yesterday Colby left his folder at school, again. And, couldn’t complete his homework, again. And he also knows that he will have to figure this out himself again. I will not go to school after the fact, I will not “rescue him”. So when we were talking about this yesterday, he wasn’t mad that I wouldn’t get the folder or that he won’t be in the “homework club” or that he has to tell his teacher and get a second form signed by me stating why he does’t have his homework… Nope he was mad because I wanted to work on his multiplication facts to help him get ready for the test today. This I guess was the wrong thing. There was yelling, there were tears, there even may have been a door slammed. All because he didn’t want to hear he needed help.
So, yet again I’m in a stage that I have to figure out. One thing I already know about Colby is that when he gets into the state of I hate the world and especially you… you have to leave him alone. Typically I leave him for a good half hour and then go talk to him. I always remember to tell him. “I love you, I will always love you, but I didn’t like your choice to _______, and we need to fix it.” Together we work on fixing the problem… when we can. But, I also leave thinking ok what can I do differently to fix this issue. How can I help him deal with what is going on before we get to the explosion.
I think every parent wants to help their child, my kids just know that in doing so I won’t fix everything… I’ll help them fix it himself.