Thursday, February 2, 2012
Bad decisions and self punishment
That doesn't mean we should tell our kids to go out and do bad things. We should guide and advise them to the best of our parental abilities. The problem I want to address is when our spectrum kids start to punish themselves for those mistakes. I know I was angry with myself as a child. I didn't know why I kept "screwing up" and began to take a self punishing attitude. Today I have a better understanding and I try to use that with my son. Even so, I still see the possibility of self anger in him. So what can I do to help him understand that we all make bad decisions?
I'll put myself at his level. I remember bad decisions I made and what happened. I can tell him about my experiences so he knows that Dad was a kid once too. I'll be sure to let him know that, today, I'm not proud of those decisions but I sure won't mess them up again. Allow me to give you two examples.
Revenge: I was picked on mercilessly in school and it started in elementary. I was in 6th grade and one of my tormentors was coming at me with a snowball. He intended to shove it in my face, or so he said. He didn't see my friend, Big Jim, coming up from behind him. Jim gave him a bearhug that made him drop that snowball and I did something that surprised them both. I balled up my fist tight in my glove and threw my first right hook ever. Jim was so shocked he let go and that boy hit the ground. I got into a lot of trouble and the Principal asked if I was a bully too. My explanation fell on deaf ears, but I wasn't suspended. All the same, what I did was wrong. I'm not happy about the fact that I did it and I prefer not to get into fights. I'll still defend myself, but I'm not up for revenge. I'll tell my son that hitting didn't solve anything and was a very poor choice on my part.
Bad choices, we all make them and certainly made them in childhood. We all went through something or other that we aren't proud of today. We survived and hopefully learned a lesson, tough or not. And we all want to be our kids heroes. We want to be that larger than life power for them. But, sometimes, I think it's okay to share our pitfalls with them so they can see it's not so different and not the end of the world. It's a good example for the truth that we must learn from our bad decisions and need not punish ourselves forever on them.