The Last Therapy Session

He’s been seeing her because of an uncontrollable rage that began in kindergarten when he hit a friend with a toy truck in the sandbox. The little girl needed stitches. In first grade, his teacher would bring him down to the basement to kick a beanbag chair. By third grade, therapy had helped him transfer his anger from his fists and his feet to his words… and I received a number of reports of him screaming in a wild rage at his teachers for not understanding him, siding with his classmates, not listening.

He morphed from the class Buddha one day to a whirlwind of anger and self-doubt the next.

But he’s a fourth grader now. Importantly, he has a couple of best friends who he seems to have figured out will stick by him when things get rough. The rage is thawing.

So, I wasn’t surprised when his therapist said at the end of yesterday’s session that he doesn’t need to see her anymore. “Let’s move to an as-needed basis.”

The funny thing was that she didn’t “re-neg” when he told her about Christmas Eve – and an unique experience he’s been sharing boldly for almost a month now.

“I saw Santa!”

She didn’t understand at first. “At the mall? Downtown?”

“The real one. I woke up in the middle of the night and forgot it was Christmas, and I thought I heard something downstairs. So, I went down,” his eyes sparkled and his smile lit up like a Christmas tree., “and there he was!”

She grinned back, trying not to look at me. “Wowwwww! Did you say anything?”

“Nope, I didn’t want to get in trouble. So, I tiptoed back upstairs.”

“He didn’t see you?”

“I am very good at sneaking around.” So proud.

“I have never heard of anyone actually getting to see him. You are the luckiest kid in the world,” then with a vigorous nod from him, she transitioned, “So, did you get anything good?”

He listed his presents. A small drone. A t-shirt from his favorite Youtube channel. A game called Timeline. But when she asked which one was his favorite…

“Seeing Santa! That’s the best gift anyone could ask for!”

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My Fault: Road Rage in Our DNA

Don’t butt in line. Don’t take the red crayon when you know it’s his favorite color. Don’t hog the ball. Don’t sing when he is trying to concentrate. Don’t sit next to the girl he wants to sit with at circle time. And certainly don’t push him out of your way so you can be first.

My first grader has to figure out how to contain his anger at school, but I respect him for standing his ground when he feels an injustice has been done. The third of three boys, he spends much of his time proving himself, keeping up, playing with the big dawgs. He adores his friends, but just can’t stop himself from letting loose when someone butts, pushes, brags, pokes.

The school psychologist called me a few weeks ago after meeting with him. “I was trying to give him an example of how most of the time, anger is not appropriate, but sometimes it is. We talked about how when someone cuts me off in traffic, I want to yell….”

What did my seven year old tell him about me?!

“But usually, it’s just someone being careless,” he continued. “Nice person. Doesn’t deserve me yelling at them.”

Ugh.

“But one time, a reckless driver almost hit my wife and daughter, and I was so mad that I chased after his car and pounded on the hood.”

Redeemed. No scolding for mom!

“That was a real reason to be mad,” said the counselor to my son. “The other times weren’t.”

Well…

Later that very afternoon, we were racing to a guitar lessons across town, and everyone was driving slowly.

I lost it. “Do you not realize that the rest of us have someplace to go?! HELLO?!”

And in the rearview mirror, my seven year old looked at me wisely. Peacefully.

“I shouldn’t have gotten so mad at that guy, should I?” I asked.

“Nope,” responded my seven-year-old sage.

I don’t need therapy. I just need my kids to remind me of who I should be… and then follow their lead.

Can Joining a Parent Group Make Us Better Parents?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how many phone conversations I have with friends wondering if we are making the right decisions for our kids, asking each other how they are handling certain issues, worrying about the next stage in our kids’ lives. I attended a lecture a few weeks ago by a writer and psychologist who basically provides group therapy to parents looking for guidance. While many of us do not need group therapy, I think we do need the encouragement and creative ideas of fellow parents. So I keep wondering if I started a monthly parenting group, would people come? And would they pay a nominal fee to come so that I did not have to hold meetings in my home with three boys and a puppy climbing all over everyone, probably demonstrating on many evenings that I should not be the one in charge of a parenting group?

My thoughts on why such a group would be great for so many parents were published by Yahoo. Please feel free to read them and let me know what you think. Thank you!

http://voices.yahoo.com/parents-seeking-guidance-11021592.html