Thursday, November 09, 2006

Guilt...


This note was posted on the refrigerator by my oldest. It reads...I know you want us to obey you but it's hard for us. This came after the previous day was spent in various modes of conflict. I smiled when I read it because he can be so frustrating and cute at the same time. He is surely meant to be a lawyer. Every conflict between us results in a very lengthy, detailed explanation of why his behavior was not only justified, but actually the most correct way of dealing with things. He's six going on thirty.

A few minutes after finding the first note, I found his next one. It reads.......I hate doing bad things. Boy, can I relate to that. I can think of quite a few times in my life when I could have written that little note. At least I don't have to guess about what he's thinking!

4 comments:

Like a Child said...

My daughter is going through a phase of admitting every single bad thought, but they are rather scary. She started her first year in public school and I am just not that thrilled with it - she has become a different person. I feel like pulling her out, but I'm trying not to make a rash decision, so I was curious if you saw any correlation of the bad thoughts to any other life circumstances?

terri said...

Well...After several years have passed since I wrote this in 2006, I have discovered that my oldest son has mild OCD tendencies. I am being serious when I say that.

He is very regimented and very concerned about doing things right. He says the same prayers every night and occasionally adds a new link in the prayer list that becomes a permanent part of the nightly prayer.

His hands also started getting chapped because he was becoming obsessive with washing them.

He also has and other little "ticks" that show up as repetitive behavior.

It makes it sound serious when I type it out, but none of these things are particularly serious, out-of-control, or interfere in his daily life...so I just keep an eye on him and discourage him from obsessing too much on guilt.

Just yesterday he had given himself a checkmark in his behavior lists from school because he knew he had not followed directions...even though his teacher didn't know or care.

Did I mention that he is a saftey patrol?! ;-)

His personality is tailor-made for regimentation and rules. It actually helps him excel in school because he is self-motivated and takes the initiative to make sure he gets things done.

I write all of that to give perspective (cont.)

terri said...

Initially when my son would obsess about things, especially feeling guilty, or having overwhelming emotional responses of remorse about things, I thought that I had done something wrong.

I must have focused too much on discipline. I must have messed him up somehow. It must somehow be all my fault.

Now that he is ten, I see that these quirks that were so hard for me to understand, and made me feel like a bad parent, had nothing to do with me. They have persisted, though they have become more mild as he has gotten older.

Paret of the problem is that both of my children a re gifted..and I think that in my oldest's case his emotions simply hadn't caught up to the rest of his mind.....so he could feel sophisticated emotions like guilt without knowing how to overcome those emotions.

As far as your daughter goes....I would say to give it some time and just constantly reassure her that it's OK that she's had bad thoughts...that everybody has bad thoughts sometimes and that it doesn't mean that she is a bad person or that you will think she is a bad person.

Acknowledge her feelings and then redirect her to a more positive aspect of herself or the situation.

Not sure if any of that helps.

I sound much more together than I really am! ;-)

terri said...

One more thing...my other son never struggled with this issue even though both of my children are only 20 months apart and were raised with the same general guidelines/discipline/attitudes.

I really think it is a personality thing.