Ugh, the idea of even starting to think about this is exhausting because I know this well is deep. This is an idea that you hear often in foster care training but you dont really appreciate until you live with it full time.
Our son is 10 years old and I’d say 75% of the time acts about how I’d expect a 10 year old boy to act, a young ten for sure, but 10. The other 25% of the time tho hes a completely different person. Sometimes he acts like he’s 18 and just about ready to move into his own apartments, and other times, especially at night, he acts like hes about 4 years old and he doesnt want to go to bed right now and he thinks bedtime is stupid, and he cant sleep in his room by himself because hes too sad.
Then mid act, seemingly out of nowhere he’ll snap right back to 10, and act like none of that ever even happened. It’s as if he just says “Scene” and Nano, thats what I call little Orlando, disappears.
Today was the first time this happened to me so dramatically but I know it happens to Amy almost every night. It’s exhausting because it feels like he is consciously trying to manipulate you.
In some ways he is manipulating me, but I also think there’s something real buried in that performance. It’s too good. Normally he's a pretty terrible performer if I’m being honest. Especially when it comes to lieing, but with this it feels authentic, at least partially.
So the way i see it there’s two ways to look at this
- He is just trying to take advantage of us and he has just been trying to figure out what works and he does this baby stuff because he thinks its what we want to her. It’s what makes us soft and mailable.
- He really didnt have anyone explain emotions to him in a way he could understand, no one helped him understand his feelings, and he really does have a bit of arrested development. Maybe his performance is so good because of how much of it is truly how he feels.
I think it doesnt really which of these is true, at least not right now. In someways the answer to either situation is the same. If hes taking advantage the best thing for him is to let him, within reason. He needs to feel taken care of and a little bit of us spoiling him isn’t something for any of us to feel guilty about. Similarly its really it needs to be met with kindness and patient. He needs to believe that we wont break down, that we got this, no matter what color the shit he throws in our face is.
Maybe this is why writing in here is so important. If writing is the way I think through things at work, is the way I figure out what needs to be done. Then why would it be any different with my job of being the best dad I can be. And I didn’t wade into parenting gradually, we dove right into the deep end as they say and I dont even know how to swim yet.