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March 25, 2010

Whew. What a day. It started with Lawson coming to the bathroom door while I was in the shower. “Mom, Autumn just slapped me in the face and said ‘you don’t like me’!”

“Go on and eat your breakfast, Lawson. I’ll deal with it in a minute,” I called back, and began hurrying.

This happens every now and then, unfortunately. Autumn tries to boss Lawson around, he rebels by refusing to listen to her, and she retaliates by hitting him. It is nearly always accompanied by the classic “you hate me!” complaint. I have learned, in my research, that this sort of behavior is very indicative of ADD/ADHD  personalities, so I’m somewhat comforted by the knowledge that I’m not really doing anything wrong as a parent. My kid just has some neurons misfiring or something. I’m still trying to figure out exactly which type of ADD/ADHD Autumn has…she leans toward Amen’s Type 4 Temporal Lobe ADD, but also has plenty of the Type 6 Ring of Fire characteristics.  I’d love to see a scan of her brain. That said, I’d love to see a scan of my own ADD brain.

Once showered, I wrapped a towel around myself and went to the kitchen. Lawson was quietly eating, as was Autumn. “Did you slap him in the face?” She looked at me.

“Yes.” Her easy answering of the question took me off guard.


“He made me mad.”

I felt my own mad rising and stuffed it down, pulling the towel more securely around me. “That’s not acceptable, Autumn—you know that! You don’t hit your brother, ever, for any reason!”

She just looked at me, with that sulky tween expression I’ve come to know and love to hate. “I’m going to talk to your father about this. You can look forward to a consequence.”

She started to whine. “Not right now,” I cut her off. “Finish getting ready for school.”

I pondered the problem and how best to address it throughout the day, and finally decided to take someone’s advice and let Autumn come up with her own punishment.

When we got home from school I broke the news to her. “Remember how you hit your brother this morning?”

She nodded. “I’m going to ask you to think about what you did, and come up with what you feel is an appropriate punishment.” Her lips started to form a complaint. I halted her with a raised palm. “It doesn’t have to be right this second, or even in the next ten minutes. But before the end of the evening, you will come up with a punishment for your behavior. Your father and I will either approve it or disapprove it.”

Autumn flung herself on her bed in a wailing heap. “I can’t come up with anything!” she moaned through tears. I took this as my cue to leave.

She came to me a few minutes later, somewhat composed. “I can’t think of anything.”

My Aunt Fanny. If my parents had unleashed the whole “come up with your own punishment” on me when I was a kid, I would have reveled in it. Creative stuff…like scouring the toilets with a toothbrush for potty mouth. 

“Autumn,” I tried again, “this is an indication to us not only that you understand what you did wrong, but also how sorry you are about it. It also shows that you’re going to make a real effort not to do it again.” She left in a huff.

After another ten minutes or so, she returned. “I’ve come up with something, but you’re probably going to disagree.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“No computer for a week.”  She crossed her arms over her chest in discomfort.

“No computer…tell me why you think this is a suitable punishment.” Inside, I was incredulous. No stinking computer? That’s it? That’s all you got? Are you my kid?

“Because I really love it and I’m on it all the time.”

 “Do you think maybe an apology is in order, or is that enough?” She tightened her arms, but didn’t reply. I sighed and rubbed my forehead with the heel of my hand. “Okay, I’m going to discuss that option with your dad when I see him tonight. Go get your leo on for practice.”

Later that afternoon I discussed her suggested punishment with Duane and with Lawson. He was, after all, the injured party. “How do you feel about that,” Duane asked him. He thought about it for a second.

“Not good enough,” he pronounced.

“That’s kind of what I thought,” I told him. “When you shot her in the arm with the bb gun, you had the computer, t.v., video games, and all of your guns taken away from you.”

Lawson nodded. “So we should probably do the same for her, what do you think?” He nodded again.

So that’s it. Decided. Autumn’s suggestion, with the ante upped just a bit.

***                        ***                                ***

I informed her of our decision, and the reasons for it, later. She took it well—no screaming, crying, hurling of items. I’m sure there will be occasions like that over the next week, when it sinks in that she has access to none of her fun things…but, oh well. Actions have consequences.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2010 11:23 am

    Lori! You are a great mom. This parenting stuff is dang hard and when you throw in a special needs child into the mix……well, it is downright exhausting beyond any exhaustion you can imagine. Well done mom! You done good!

    Oh that more moms were like you……..

  2. March 25, 2010 5:36 pm

    I got this punishment from my SIL and it is wonderful! When there was a conflict between two of my sons, they had to sit down looking at each other and tell 10 things that they liked about each other in a nice voice. They weren’t allowed to say things about their atheletic ability either making it much harder. After having to do this a couple of times, many of the disagreements vanished. WARNING: the first time, it took them over an hour to come up with the 10. Oh and once it was used it couldn’t be used again next time.

  3. March 25, 2010 8:29 pm

    Stick to your guns, you’re doing good!

  4. March 25, 2010 10:32 pm

    My friend’s mom tied she and her brother up to one of the kitchen chairs made them sing a religious song, “Love at Home” before allowing them to be untied. She said it only took about 10 minutes and it worked, instead of hating each other, they both started to hate their mom instead…

  5. Anaise permalink
    March 26, 2010 8:01 am

    What a marvel that she took it so well. Way to be a model parent, Lori! I tend to be as hot under the collar as my kids are; I’m sure trying to take a page of cool and calm from your book.

  6. Lori permalink*
    March 29, 2010 7:07 am

    Rachel–your words are such an encouragement. ADHD/ADD is special needs, without a doubt. It requires constant monitoring not only of your child’s actions and thought patterns, but also of your own (and others) perception of and reaction to those things. It’s not easy.

    Bonnie–I had the opportunity to use your suggestion when the kids were arguing last night. It.was.hysterical. I put them on two stools in the den, and they had to sit a foot apart. They had such a tough time–kept wanting to compliment clothing and eye color. Fantastic suggestion! It’s a keeper from now on!

    Gerb-thanks for that…

    Jason–too funny–that’s right up there with Bonnie’s suggestion. Maybe I’ll try that one next time… 😉

    Anaise–the times I could describe myself as calm and cool are few and far between. It’s getting better now that Autumn has been diagnosed and I actually understand the way her mind works (somewhat)…I know that she has very little control over her impulses, and that helps me to not get angered as swiftly. We’re working it out…

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