I need more challenges to being a dad than I need another hole in the head.
Wait for this.
You may not want to read this.
Last night I nearly had another hole in my head, inflicted by my 13 year old son.
Airsoft guns. If you are familiar with BB guns, but not with Airsoft, think of Airsoft guns as BB guns that shoot plastic BBs instead of metal. I had an air rifle when I was a boy that shot both BBs and pellets. Nate and his friends have Airsoft guns, powerful but safe if used properly. Normally my son does use his gun properly and he has a lot of gun fun with his friends.
The black cloud is lingering over my head right now. When I arrived home last night, I noticed that little pieces of roof shingle were scattered across my front lawn. Uh oh. There has been a little leak in the portion of the garage roof where the garage roof meets the front porch roof. As I walked into the garage, I looked up at the front corner of the garage where that leak had been. It’s still a leak, but it’s also now a gaping hole. I saw sunlight. Stink. We have very little in our savings account. A look at our 25+ year old roof showed me what I already knew. It needs to be replaced. Our cars both need repairs. The needs list for our children rivals War and Peace. I walked in the door, sat down at the kitchen table, and my forehead met my hands as I talked to Mir about it all.
I had also bought an ice bag at Walgreens on the way home. My left foot is so bloated it resembles Lindsay Lohan on a binge. Mir sighed in recognition of my pain as I removed my walking boot and the sock. She knows that waiting for the foot to heal has been torture for me, especially as my friends have started to get out for bike rides.
Yes, I was having one of those “it sucks to be me” evenings. Really, I have been at this family thing long enough to be used to life’s challenges, so even if it seems bad I know that these things will pass. Call me simple if you want, but I have come to know that God will take care. He has so far and He will continue. So I was feeling OK despite the weight of the circumstances. I took care of the tasks required for the evening, filled the ice bag and settled in on the couch to tend to the rest my foot needed.
Have I mentioned that it is school Spring break for the kids? It is. They are on vacation all week. Nate is having a lot of fun with his friends. His friend, Kyle, came over and goofed off with Nate upstairs as I watched American Idol . As the show finished up, Nate came down and asked if I would take him to the gas station with Kyle for a soda, then take him to Kyle’s house. Mir had already approved it and had told me so before she went out for the evening. So the boys piled into the back seat of my PT Cruiser-To-The-Auto-Parts-Store and I took them to the gas station.
*click* from the back seat. Then I saw stars.
Nate thought it would be funny to aim his Airsoft gun at my head and shoot me while I was driving. Before the click, I could hear them chuckling to each other. Boys do strange things, things they might not do if their friends are not around, and Nate pulled the trigger. Point blank. The plastic BB hit my right temple and then bounced around the car.
This should be where I go ape, right? It was actually where I restrained myself, but intentionally showed enough anger to show them that what had just happened was seriously wrong. I didn’t stop, didn’t slow down, just told Nate that what he had just done was incredibly stupid.
I waited while he and Kyle went into the station to buy their drinks. Should I just take Kyle home and tell Nate his evening of fun was over? I knew that I was angry. Maybe it was best to give myself time to cool off. It was very near my bed time, something I need because I get up before five in the morning for work. If I took him home and inflict punishment, it was going to be a confrontation that would likely mean I would not see sleep until after midnight. So I decided to let it go.
As Nate returned to the car and got in, he tossed a pile of napkins from the station’s snack station at me.
“Here, you can clean up the blood with these.” Sarcastic. As if I was making a big deal about nothing, basically challenging me to make an issue in front of his friend.
I refused to bite. I took him to Kyle’s house, letting him know I was going to talk to Mir and decide on a punishment. It was time for me to start getting ready for bed. No one was home. I took a little time to say a prayer, felt the calm overtake the bit of anger and my heart rate returned to normal.
Then Mir got home. As I told her what happened, Nate came home with Kyle and two other friends in tow. And they started mocking me. I told them to go home, but Mir said she had given them permission to stay until 11 if they were quiet and let me sleep. But they weren’t. They gathered in Nate’s room while Nate played his guitar while he and the boys made up lyrics about my being angry about my head.
He’s not going to like his punishment. The boy is very privileged, has too many things. Those things are going to be taken away, locked away so that no one but me can give them back. He is going to have to earn them back, not only by doing but by respecting. I am not only tired, but I know that I need to be serious about doing the things he needs to be able to learn. That is not going to be easy for me, mainly because I am married to someone who does not believe that punishment is love. She is going to have to learn also and I am going to have to be tough with her as well.
Heal foot, heal. I need to get away. I need to ride away some of this frustration!
*speechless* (I’ll be back when I know what to say)
I’m waiting for Mir to get home. Nate is out with his friends. When I got home from work 30 minutes ago, I went to Nate’s room and took away the controllers for his Playstation, his Nexxus tablet, and found the gun he used in the back seat of my car. They are stashed at a friend’s house. I warned Alyssa that upheaval is probably going to ensue, but this needs to be done.
I’m totally with you. He needs to learn and if this is the only way to get through to him than this is what you need to do. His behavior lacked all respect.
As my dad used to say, “As long as I pay for everything you abide by my rules in my house. Don’t make me stop paying for you!”
We never tried to find out if he really would …
Mir and I just talked about what to do and she agrees with me, including that I have taken the things away from the house, even suggested that I take the things to work. That is a good step for the two of us, one that shows not only that we are beginning to work better together but that we are listening to each other.
Wow, that is indeed a huge step forward! I’m so glad!
I’m a bit sore physically at the moment. Mir and I sat down together with Nate together, told him the situation. He got angry and aggressive, challenged me then punched me several times. He said he would kill me or at least hurt me if he had the chance. Said that I hate him, then when I told him that wasn’t true, said “Well, I hate you.”. He refuses to accept that we are not punishing him because he shot me, but because we need him to show us respect, that even if shooting me was an accident (as he claims) it is the attitude that he demonstrated afterwards that is the issue. Mir had to hold him back again tonight or else he would have kept hitting me. His friends came over afterwards and Mir thought it might be a good idea for me to leave the house. I am at a McDonalds right now.
Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. You leaving YOUR house because Nate has friends over? He still wins, doesn’t he? He is having a ball with his friends and his dad has to leave.
Just for hitting you he should have been grounded – with NO friends in sight. How dare he hit his dad!
You really need to stand your ground even more with him. Don’t ever leave your house because of him and he needs to learn how to respect you.
Mir handled that one real well. She knew that the situation would continue to escalate with me around. Nate had texted his friends to come over. He doesn’t have a cell phone now either. When I left, she took Nate and the boys for ice cream as a way to get them out of the house. Instead of taking them back to our house, she dropped each boy off at their home, politely explaining that Nate could not have visitors.
I am sore this morning and I am tired.
I agree. She did great!
You two have quite a way to go with this boy. I really hope he will “get it” sooner than later.
I so understand your tiredness. I hope you get time this weekend to rest a little and just enjoy Easter.
I must admit I too felt a little angry reading your post. In the playground, the justice is far more swift. Should he have done sometihing similar to one of his peers and shown them the same respect as he showed you, a bloody nose wold have worked well!!. As much as I am against punishment of this kind, peer justice sure puts issues, like this, to bed instantly. It seems even this kind of justice is something of the past these days. I remember my next brother up – who was disrespectful, overly confident in his adolescent reasoning and fancied himself as a tough kid on the block, challenged my father and likewise lashed out at him. My father was an ex naval fleet champion boxer and on single punch said everything that needed to be said. Not that I am recommending such to you but it did stop any more cockeyness in the home and disrespect toward my dad. I will add too that my father never his us as kids.
I had younger ones in the backpacker hostels with attitude too and like you I think solidly consistant, unmovable boundaries work best but in the family situation the result of crossing boundaries are more difficult to counter compared to mine (expulsion) but then you cannot just ask him to leave!!! I did learn when dealing with people in the service and hospitality industry that when they had issues with our service to them that I would include them in the solution process and ask their advice on what we should do to rectify the situation. Maybe this could be something for Nate – to include him in your issue with his behaviour and somehow involve him in the solution. No idea why I thought of that but that came to mind as I was writing.
As a parent I know that not one of us has it easy – even with those who do not misbehave there are issues that come with every child, all of which seem insurmountable. I know your anguish and frustration. Again, like you, I believe in prayer as the foundation to solving such problems together with all the other fruits of the Spirit – in particular longsuffering, gentleness and most importantly Peace because where there is peace you are actually standing in the presence of God – the perfect place to receive counsel. I think you are doing well and a great father who does have all the fruits when it comes to dealing with your family – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, righteousness and Truth.
I’m just afraid of what happens when he’s older and bigger.
Me too. He seems to have learned his lesson for the moment because his attitude is 100% better. I’m praying.