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Learning to really listen is no easy task

The boys didn’t have such a great weekend. Kit popped a crown on one of his teeth and lost the earring I made for his birthday. Tio was told not to come back again if he didn’t want to be there, after suggesting the only reason he came was to give me a break, and a threat of police intervention came when he tried to separate Doc and Kit in a fight. All three boys fought and argued and said tempers were high and the tension was through the roof pretty much from the moment they left here to when they came home. They said no one sets any limits and they stayed up all night watching horror movies and R rated television. Grandpa yelled and Grandma cried.

I wasn’t there and I imagine the reality was a variation on most of this, rather than gospel truth. But I do know that when no strong limits are kept with the boys, chaos is the result. I wouldn’t blame Tio for being ambivalent if that’s what a weekend away is like. On the other hand, he can dish as good as he can get so he probably deserves a good share of the blame for the trouble. Kit hardly settles down at the best of times and I know just how capable he is of making those around him miserable. Right now, being there is a hard reminder that his mother has abandoned him. He’s afraid she won’t come back and if she does, what will stop her from taking off again. That’d send any 10 year old through the roof but this boy especially because he dotes on her. And poor Doc is locked in an emotional bind because he feels the loss and trouble but doesn’t understand it. All he can do is act out.

So who’s in charge of this adventure to mom’s family home? Who steps up and says ‘I will make this work for us all no matter what.’? If no one does, things will only deteriorate until there is nothing left of their relationships except fighting and bickering. That serves no one. The boys need some patience and understanding and limits. But most of all, they need someone over there to really listen to them so they can express themselves in ways other than through anger and frustration.