In Which Aengus Learns the Value of an Apology

Posted: March 12, 2010 in Parenting
Tags: , ,

Though Noah would claim that I spoil Aengus as the baby of the family (and he’d be partially right, I admit), I would say that my mothering style simply relaxed quite a bit from one child to the next.

Case in point: I scaled back on Noah’s academic work at the same time that I stopped giving Aengus time outs and worrying that the Legos be put away in the right (read: color-appropriate) bin. I relaxed across the board, not just toward Aengus.

Noah wouldn’t notice that, of course, given the self-centered nature of the stage of development he’s in. So I bite my tongue whenever he dishes the parenting advice, hoping that one day he’ll come asking for mine.

But this super-relaxed atmosphere we’ve got going in da Hood has its downside: the jolt of culture shock when the law is eventually laid down. And Aengus is starting to experience that now. I’ve always just let him be himself, with some gentle guidance whenever the shit hits the fan. Well, it hit the fan in a big way this week, so I’ve started being more proactive in guiding him.

PMS has nothing to do with it, I assure you. Maybe.

Aengus and his bff got into a huge fight during a game of Nazi Zombies earlier this week. Aengus took the game as seriously as any competition he ever becomes involved with, which is to say COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY TO-THE-DEATH SERIOUS. His bff . . . not so much.

When he felt abandoned and unarmed (and therefore left to die/LOSE) by his friend, Aengus went ballistic. This is a typical reaction that I always figured he’d eventually grow out of, but it has become clear that he’s going to lose friends before he figures it out on his own. Time for me to step in, big time.

So the next morning, he received a message from his friend that made it clear they had to actually talk this one out; they weren’t going to be able to just shake it off and move on this time.

So Aengus and I had a very long talk. We talked about the importance of keeping our cool or asking for a minute to collect ourselves, which led to a discussion about tone of voice and word choice when expressing ourselves.

We also talked about loved ones’ quirks that might get on our nerves, and loving our friends in spite of those eccentricities or helping them overcome them (such as extra encouragement for someone with low self-esteem). And taking responsibility for our own annoying quirks.

And how important it is not only to apologize when we’ve done wrong but  also to try to understand how we could have handled things differently. And how important it is to see things from our friend’s point of view, which is neither right nor wrong but simply different from our own.

I guided him through sending an apologetic reply to his bff, and they were friends again in no time. Luckily, his bff is a very good friend.

I’ve also been on Aengus more this week about taking care of his things and cleaning up after himself. He’s always been helpful around the house when I’ve asked it of him, but now I’m upping it a notch: he needs to start taking care of his own messes of his own accord, at least some of the time. My god, he’s nine years old; by the time Noah was his age, he was doing his own laundry and straightening up at the end of the day without being asked.

Needless to say (though I will anyway), Aengus thinks I’m a mean mom this week. He feels like he’s constantly being nitpicked or yelled at, and I feel bad about that. But once he’s gotten used to my new expectations, he’ll be fine.

Noah? I’ve hardly seen him this week. He’s had quite a few sleepovers, and on days he’s been home, he’s been catching up on sleep. Because one does anything BUT sleep on a sleepover.

But I hear him now, upstairs, playing his baby: the acoustic named Fender. Shelby‘s hanging out with him, so he must be a happy guy. I’m running on that assumption, since the only thing he’ll probably say to me for the next 24 hours is, “What do we have to eat?”

  1. Stephanie says:

    How did I miss all this drama? Another Bad Mama Award for me this week. 😛

    • homeboys says:

      I look at it this way: if you and I pass the trophy back and forth, we’re saving all the other moms from suffering this guilt. It’s a service we’re providing, see?

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