Friday, January 17, 2014

At 6yo, How Would You Behave If Mommy Was Sick?

Ask yourself, if you were 6 years old, how would you behave if your Mommy was sick?  I do...all the time.  Our son has really been acting out at school and I have to think, again, Cancer is going to catch some of the blame.  Granted, he is 6 and, well...enough said (especially for those who have raised a child, you know what I mean)...but, still, it has gotten a bit beyond the normal misbehaving.  The school he attends seems more worried about tests then anything...I am sure that does not help, either.  After all, I am not at the school to guide his decisions...though, I am not far from just that.

Today, while in my constant daze of worry, I did seem to connect a few dots.  Though he has not been great all year, the last month has been rough and that seems to directly line up with when my wife began not being able to eat or get out of bed I went to "Google'ing".

This one really seem to help me understand a few things...

Shadow Children

A kid his age worries about things like, "What's for dinner?"  "Who will tuck me in?"  "Who will take me to school"  "Who will make me breakfast?"  but also, "Will Mommy die?"  "Could I die, too?"

As I read about this, it all seemed to make sense.

  • Acting out in school.
  • Being disruptive and/or disrespectful. 
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits.

What we seemed to have done wrong:
  • Keeping a regular schedule.  Who can do this with Cancer "wrecking shop" in your life?  We certainly have room to improve this.
  • Staying honest about the situation.  Relate to them on their level, but do not hide or "candy court" the illness you are dealing with.  Well...we have been open and honest the whole time...but never really explained things and God knows what he could have overheard....surely room for us to improve here too.
  • Play with your child and give them more attention.  I have to admit, we do not do this enough.  I try to...but his mom does not, really.  We both need to improve here.
  • Keep your child socially active.  I need to make some contacts to set up some "play dates" for him.

Then, of course, are the ways to potentially deal with the situation:

  • Do NOT punish them.  Ok...ok...really?  I use positive reinforcement for the most part, but have to admit, not I can try this...somehow.  Need creativity to pull this off without looking like a full on retreat, though.
  • Explain "you will ALWAYS be taken care of".  This is something most parents would never need to say out loud, but a kid with Cancer attacking his mom and life, he needs to here it.  I can do this.
  • Discuss the situation with the school.  Though communicating and explaining any unique situation to this school is hard, I am making this call today (and emails).  They are some-what aware of our ordeal, but not the recent events that seem to be part of this.
For any child, there are many other factors.  For our son, the pressure to learn to read has been really thick the past month too...and I have to say, that is part of the cause too.  I expect to mention this when I call his school, as well.

One thing is for certain...I am so tired of feeling like I am responsible for everything.  The house, our son, the dog, our laundry, my job, our bills...oh, the woes of a Cancer spouse.  I am a man, I will just suck it up and do what I need to.  I just need to do better.  One day, I hope to share this blog with my adult son so he know just how hard it is to be a parent and husband.

I heard someone, somewhere, say, "When you stop having things to worry about, you die.  Stay worried."  

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