Symptom or Behavior?

January 2nd, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Anger and frustration is one thing. Rude and obnoxious is another.

I never know with this kid…what’s a symptom of his neurological deficits and what’s just plain old bad behavior?

This is the question my husband and I are asking ourselves as we are nearing the end of a VERY LONG holiday break, one in which we shared our house with a kid who, for the past few days at least, hasn’t been acting like a nice person.

We’ve long ago taken the Big Nate, Calvin & Hobbes, and Garfield books out of his room because we noticed they seemed to have a direct correlation on the frequency of his disrespectful back talk and general wild behavior. But yet, here we are again, dealing with a 7-year-old who completely ignores us if he doesn’t like what we’re saying, flat out refuses to do something if it’s not to his liking, and generally acts like, for lack of a better word, a little snot.

My husband and I are at a loss, because, once again, this behavior seems to have cropped up in the past three days out of nowhere. And it leaves us wondering: Are we not being strict enough? Are we somehow encouraging this behavior? Are we letting him get away with things that are truly behavioral? It also leaves us wondering, how can we change what’s going on here? And lastly, which is it? Symptom or behavior?

We don’t know the answers. We only know that something has to give. And perhaps the most frustrating piece of this puzzle is that tomorrow morning our son could wake up and be the sweet, fairly flexible, joyful boy we’ve enjoyed so much over the past year. And that would be that. But then again, maybe he won’t. Maybe this isn’t a brief regression. Maybe it’s the new normal?

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