Thank goodness J came home from visitation yesterday morning in a good mood. I believe he got a pep talk from his dad. He touted how he would be behaving positively when he got home from school later. And he was true to expectations, although he didn't do the Scouting requirements he'd promised to do in the evening.
I later asked him what the difference was in his behavior. He was quite succinct. It was about me not allowing him to do the plans he'd concocted to hang with the guys. We have had and will have again conversations about him needing to be flexible. And remembering that Mondays, a day in which he gets home at 1:30, are for Scouting, at least an hour or two.
My therapist thought his outbursts after school might be because of his ADD and mixed mild dyslexia, although he makes very good grades despite them. She said that they did brain imaging studies of kids with regular brains and kids with LDs (I can't remember if she was more specific about the LD), but normal kids doing mundane things have a cold/relaxed brain. Kids with LDs have a red/revved up brain, even when it isn't necessary. For this reason, they have to decompress somehow, because their brain is tired due to being in first gear all day while others could shift down to fourth and cruise.
She suggested allowing him 15 minutes of play when he gets home. However, when it comes to having trouble shifting gears in regards to his intended way to spend his time, I don't think a quick snack of physical activity is a good thing. He won't want to stop. (I'm just talking Mondays here; probably three days a week, he does go outside and play football or basketball for a few hours.)
I don't know if it's related or not, but he refused breakfast Monday and Tuesday. I made it a requirement the rest of the week. If there's no breakfast, then if lunch sucks, he's hosed. There's no getting that in his noggin, though. Plus he eats so slowly, that it takes up a chunk of the morning.
On a related note, during our walk the other night I asked Norma's 12 year old son how gracious he was about doing Scout badges. He said his dad has to push him some, but he does alright. Later in the conversation, however, I learned that that is during meetings and they don't do Scouts outside of Scouts. Their den leader covered the required stuff during meetings. J's den leader has covered badges, but there are four required (read: mostly boring) ones and they've only done one of them. Because I don't really trust him (he is quite unorganized and forgetful), I figure that I need to make it happen for J. I am hypervigilant once again.
These are two examples of me apparently pushing J too hard: changing his plans and Scouts. I don't think that what I ask is unreasonable; it's just that I have an uncooperative kid. He has a huge sense of autonomy, something I certainly instilled in him. I know, as does he, that I push him because my parents never pushed me. I was a good student, but I think I could have been a great student with more support and, well, interest. I don't want J to think he's going it alone like I did. I also know that, because we don't have money, he'll be better off earning some achievements to help him get into a good college with some scholarship money.
I don't want him to be in the habit of cruising.
Chalk this all up to secondary infertility, too. If I had more than one kid, I wouldn't have all my eggs in this basket. If I had more kids, I wouldn't be feeling that I am on the downside of my life with him; he'll be gone in eight years and the last 10 have flown. With more children, I also would be able to spread out the energy for achievements, so that no one kid has to shoulder the entire "burden," that each would find something they liked to excel at further.
Parenting is so hard. There are so many layers, his and mine.