Friday, June 5, 2009
As I have mentioned previously, we are having issues with our teenager. Above and beyond your average teenager issues. It's been sapping every ounce of strength and energy we have, hence the lack of blog posts. The behaviors have been escalating, resulting in interventions by mental health professionals and the police. It's sort of like watching this dark cloud form over his head, growing darker and angrier, until it erupts in thunder and lightning and a deluge of acid rain.
But I saw a sunbreak yesterday. It was a subtle shift, but it was there.
Without going into detail, one of the hallmarks of Tyler's anger is that it is usually so blind that any attempt to disengage or calm him down usually results in an explosion of rage (and me spackling holes in the wall the next day). Not surprising, considering the trauma he's been through in his short life.
But yesterday, in the midst of conflict, when I was just settling in for the long haul, he applied the brakes, turned the angry car around, and altered his behavior on his own accord, without outside coercion. Now, Tyler has exploded and come back calm before. But this was completely different. It was a conscious decision to disengage from the conflict and re-engage in a totally positive way.
While Raechelle took Kayleigh to her martial arts lesson, Tyler and I walked to the store for supplies, then came home and made spaghetti with meatballs, fresh fruit salad and a mixed green salad with ingredients from our own garden. At one point, Tyler said to me, "I like cooking with you." I told him I liked it too. Dinner was a success, and afterward we watched the freaky storm whip through our neighborhood. Tyler went to bed at the correct time without incident (usually a high-stress time as TFMD and I wonder what form his outburst will take).
As his father, nobody has been burned more by these apparent changes in the past. By all rights, I shouldn't feel as optimistic as I do. But I do. Something changed. It was small, but profound nonetheless. And now he's in a partial day program which provides him with solo and group therapy, anger management, health & wellness support, and follow-up care.
I'm hoping to build on the success of last night. For the first time in several weeks, I saw my son emerge again. It was wonderful.