Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Knocking down the brick wall

Sometimes as parents we wonder if we are talking to "brick walls". No matter how much we talk to our kids, it seems like they just don't hear us. I deal with this with both of my boys, but with Hunter, the job is a real challenge. Aspergers makes the communication much more difficult, and he is also a pre-teen, so whatever I say normally goes in one ear and out the other. My husband always reminds me that it is our job as his parents to keep talking. No matter what, we have to keep pounding the messages, until eventually they hit home with him. Eventually, some of it will sink in and he will get it. Well, here goes hubby...deep breath...YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

Since Hunter was old enough to go to school, he has hated it. He has loved many of his teachers, but the actual schoolwork has always been tough for him. Due to his fine motor skill issues, handwriting is so hard for him, and his ADHD makes sitting and concentration difficult, so homework is a real nightmare most of the time. Eventually by the first month of school, we are fighting every night to get him to do his homework. He shuts down. He gets frustrated, and we get more and more worried about his future.

He is in middle school now, so I have really started the conversations with him about what he wants to do when he grows up. How does he want to earn a living? How will he buy the many things he says he wants? How will he support a family? What career can he see himself doing in the future? I try to explain to him that the study habits and work ethic he develops now will carry him into his future. I normally have these conversations with him in the car on the way to school. I figure it is the only time I have him trapped and there are no distractions. He normally stares out the car window like he is staring into the abyss. I usually drop him off and wonder if he actually heard a single word I said. Then, he comes home from school and the lack of interest in schoolwork continues, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

Last week, during one of my "I have you in the car and you are trapped" conversations, I asked him what he would like to do when he is an adult, and he looked at me and said, "What do you think I would be good at?"  What? Huh? Excuse me, did you just ask my opinion? Just a reminder, I am the Mom who know nothing at all, and you just asked me what I thought. I had to hold back a smile. I felt this glimmer of hope run through my body as I answered, "Well, I think you would be a wonderful football historian or a sports reporter. I think you could also write books about the history of football." He looked at me in surprise and excitement and asked how he could do that, so I suggested he speak with his counselors at school to find out what classes he should take as electives. I also suggested that he start writing blogs during the football games on Sundays to help get him used to writing and reporting. He seemed excited! I was in shock.

Nothing else was said about our conversation until the next morning when I received an email from his resource teacher asking if I knew why Hunter wanted to go see the counselor. I about spit my coffee all over my computer. I was in shock. I called and explained it to her, and she was as thrilled as I was about this little spark we were seeing in him.

 I don't know what caused the sudden excitement in him. I don't know if it will last. What I do know is that he heard me. He actually listened to me and took my advice. He also understood that I believe in him and that I know he can do amazing things.  My wish for both of my boys is that they make a living doing something they love to do and end each day knowing they have done their best at whatever that happens to be. For right now, I am going to take my husband's advice and just keep talking.