Sometimes choices don't work

by Della

Dealing with my son and his anger issues has been a very difficult experience for our whole family. He is now 12 and his anger/outbursts are occurring fewer and farther between episodes. However, today, he wanted to use the laptop to do his homework. Unfortunately he wanted to hold it on his lap, but my husband told him no. He was given the choice to use it on the kitchen table or the dining room table. He refused and continued working with it on his lap. It fell off his lap, he realized he made a mistake and looked at his dad. My husband had a fit and took it away. Our son started crying and saying inappropriate things. I tried to coax him to work at the table, but he left and went to his room. He is now banging and throwing things. I know that if I go to the room, it will only get worse. So I listen to his banging and throwing. It's difficult listening to this, but I believe my other children have learned to tune him out which I suppose is the best thing to do. What upsets me more than listening to the chaos in his bedroom, is the knowledge that he finally on his own wanted to do his homework. Homework has been a struggle also, but laptops are expensive so what do you do? Well, joy, the banging and throwing has stopped and he is now downstairs. He won't look at us, but he his now using the computer at the kitchen table and doing his homework.

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a point of view
by: Anonymous

Hi Della,
I can empathize with you on so many levels. But first I just wanted to mention that despite it all going to hell, you managed to see some of the good stuff about your son (wanting to do his homework - fewer tantrums).

I find that sometimes its difficult to reason with our child too and yes, accidents do happen and I can't tell you how many times my reaction has been the same as your husband's. What I have learned about offering choices is that sometimes if your child won't make a selection you'll have to do what's right by them and make the choice for them. Maybe that means taking the computer away until he's willing to co-operate? Or physically moving the computer to one of the locations you specified? Or whatever will motivate your son—you know him best.

I find that firm gentle pressure/guidance (I'm not being literal here) works better than a harsh reaction plus there's no aftermath (or less of it I hope).

I suppose I'm just writing this to say I empathize and I wish you well.

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