Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday FUA: Being Grounded

Last night I took Hayden to get his glasses fixed. He was still in his karate outfit from TKD.

The sales lady saw us and said, "What happened?"
Hayden: "No, I'm Hayden."
Sales lady, smiling: "I remember you. I hope you didn't break them doing karate."
Hayden: "No I was angry and wanted to be on a rampage."
Sales lady: "Oh. Well. Let's take a look."

It was an easy fix and we were in and out of the store in 5 minutes. I spoke to Hayden about the consequences of throwing his glasses, and what would happen next time.  As I mentioned to him the day it happened, his consequences would be a big deal.

Me:   "Maybe, if you throw them again, you should have two days of no screens..."
Hayden:   "TWO DAYS!!!"
Me:  "...AND, another consequence too."
Hayden:   "WHAT?!"
Me:   "Your glasses cost over $100. If you break them it's a big deal. You need to know that you can't just throw them because you're angry."
H:   "A hundred dollars?!"
Me:    "Yes. So you see that it's a big deal?"
H:   "But what's my other consequence?"
Me:   "I don't know, we'll have to think about it.  What do you think it should be?"
H:   "I don't know... sigh."

[image is of Hayden at a birthday party last week, doing the zipline unaided for the first time!]

Later that night, we told Joe about our conversation:

Me:   "... and what will your consequence be next time?"
H:   "Two days of no screens."
Me:   "... and?"
H, sounding really bummed:   "And something else but we don't know it yet."

Joe:   "I think maybe you should be grounded."
H:    "Uh, what's that?"
Joe:   "When I was younger and I got in trouble, I got grounded. I had to sit in my room all night and not do anything else."
H:   "I can't eat dinner or ANYTHING?!"
Joe:   "You can eat dinner in your room."
H:   "But I can't even play with toys or anything?"
Me:   "You have lots of toys in your room."
H:   "Grounded is like forever and ever! I don't like grounded. I have to stay in my room all day and not get to do anything!"
Me:  "Which sounds like a good consequence for you."

[Hayden halfway there, smiling and saying, "I'm doing it! I'm doing it!"]

Based on his reaction to the conversation, grounding will be a great new consequence for him. Previously 'letter writing' and 'no screens' were huge, but he's become less worried about those. I'm glad Joe thought to mention it.  I like that Joe views him mostly as a typical child, which helps break me out of the 'babying your special needs baby' mold. I wouldn't have thought him ready to understand the concept or handle it without melting down. But he did. And I know this will be a deterrent to him having behaviors in the future, to help him be more successful in school and daily life.

As we ended our discussion I thought again of FUA. Not too long ago, the concept of being grounded would have been too abstract for Hayden. He wouldn't have been able to talk about it prior to an event, or think of it as a consequence for his actions. He wouldn't connect the punishment to the behavior. He would have over-reacted to us even mentioning it. And if we tried to ground him, likely it would have been a very noisy and destructive evening.  But I have a feeling (a Hope?) that, should he need to be grounded in the future, this won't be a huge issue.  He will understand and connect the dots. It will help him prevent the behavior in the future.

All I want for my son is to be able to understand the world around him, and see what the rest of us see. To not have to try so hard just to be the same or have the same as everyone else.

And every day, he gets a little closer. A little to closer to 'Typical'.  (Whatever that is.)

It makes my heart soar. It makes me feel like I'm flying on a zipline. Even if it does mean... he might have to be grounded a couple of times.  :)

[He made it all the way to the end and landed on top of the platform. He was very proud and so are we.]    :)  FUA!

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