By Kodey Toney
Right or Wrong
This parenting thing is hard…ok, so I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know if they have a child. I’m also not giving anyone with a child on the spectrum some crazy insight, but I have to share an incident that happened Sunday night. It involves Kruz mostly, but Konner was inadvertently drug into the situation. The problem was that he really didn’t understand what was going on, and felt like he was being punished.
Let me explain. We had been talking about taking the boys to see Jurassic World at the drive-in theater. Kruz was excited. He had been watching the three previous movies in preparation, and was psyching himself up for Sunday night. However, he decided about an hour before time to get upset over something and throw a fit. He yelled at Jen and he yelled at me. He had a full-blown fit. So…I decided to pick this as a teaching time. I know I’m probably going to be seen as a bad dad for this one by some, but I spanked him and told him he wasn’t going to get to go that night. That caused another meltdown…oh, wait, this WAS NOT a meltdown (for those who have not read my previous columns about the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown visit http://pervasiveparenting.blogspot.com and search for “I Melt Every Time You Look At Me That Way).
As I’ve said many times before, when raising a child you have to pick your battles. That night I was in combat mode and was ready for whatever casualties may ensue.
I know you armchair parents will say, “You should have done this, and you should have done that.” As I’ve always said, children don’t come with an owner’s manual. You have to do what you think is best at the time, stick with it, suffer any consequences, and learn from your mistakes.
You will make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up about them. I say that only because I tend to do that. I try to do what I feel is right, and then have regrets later. I feel like my child is going to completely turn out horrible because of the things I do, but I can’t think of that. I can only do what I know and learn.
This regret came a few minutes later, not because of Kruz’s punishment, but because of Konner. He didn’t really want to go to the movie and decided to stay with his grandma. He was excited, and because Kruz didn’t get to go to the movies he didn’t get to go to the movie. He came in and I explained to him the situation and he said, “But dad, I didn’t do anything. Why can’t I go to grandma’s? Kruz was the one that was bad.”
The worst part is that he really doesn’t understand. I explained it to him, and I think that he gets it, but he really feels like he’s being punished for his brother’s actions. And, he really is. However, I was not about to give in for Kruz because of Konner. I was in the thick of this fight and unfortunately Konner was going to have to be a casualty of war.
In the end I think it worked out. Kruz learned his lesson, Konner, I think, understood what was going on, and we are going to try again for Jurassic World for another night.
If they are both scarred later down the line then I can at least tell myself that I tried what I thought was best at the time. Only time will tell.