So last week my son’s teacher sent me an email advising me that she was in a conversation with my son and at some point in the conversation, he mentioned he wished he could see his mother.
Now I know my children well and I have watched my son use the absence of his mother as a manipulative tool. A tool he pulls out on women at school. Its what he uses to divert their attention from his bad behavior. Thus I was a little suspect for unless I ask them, my children rarely mention their mother.
Personally, and I’ve mentioned this previously, their mother and how to facilitate an appropriate rewarding relationship between she and them is a nut I’ve yet to crack. I know they would love to engage her but I also know that her inconsistency with them has caused more harm than good. Because of this, I made a decision some time ago to limit/cut off her interactions with them.
Now I had this bit of information and for a few days I tossed it around asking myself what to do with this information.
Yesterday, out of the blue, I casually asked my son whether what his teacher said was true.
He confirmed it…and so I needed to ask a few questions to understand what was going on with him and why decided to take his comment to her.
a) Why would you say that to Ms. XXX? He doesn’t know.
b) What did you hope Ms. XXX would do once you told her? He doesn’t know
c) What do you think now that Ms. XXX has told me? Nothing
d) Is there a reason why you told Ms. XXX and not me? I was scared
e) Why were you scared? I didn’t want to get in trouble.
f) Have you ever got in trouble before for mentioning your mother? No
g) Why did you think you would get in trouble this time? He doesn’t know
Well I reassured him he wouldn’t get in trouble but then asked him if he had any questions about his mother that I could answer for him. After a pause, he wanted to know why his mother doesn’t live with us and as best as I could to a six year old…I told him why.
I asked if he had any other questions…and he wanted to know if his mother ever lived with us…and I told him she had not.
Then he asked what color was she…and I told him, she was the exact same color as he was (he self identifies as tan).
And just like that…he was done and moved on to something else.
I however, haven’t let this go just yet…and in reflecting I had some realizations that I too must deal with. I also realize that unlike my oldest boy, his struggle with this is not over. That even though he’s spent very little time with his mother, he is probably mourning her absence in his life. That no matter how comfortable/safe I think I make things, I am clearly not doing it well enough for he still has fears associated with asking.
I realized that at some point, my previous position on this may have to change for nothing pains me more than to see my children struggle with something that I can not make better for them.
And as I remind myself to deny myself, I just say…damn!