The renovation went well and about a month ago we moved back to our brand new old condo. It was hard to be away, in a small place, sometimes crowded with three active boys. Ian was not always happy there and I had probably the hardest time with him since Ricardo passed away. On top of that, Grade 1 started and we had to adapt to fewer hours away, more hours together, which means some entertaining and more work for me.
Almost at the same time we moved back, I found a book that changed the way I was dealing with Ian. ‘Setting limits with your strong-willed child’ (buy here at Amazon) was the answer I was looking for to stop power struggles and insanity at home. In a very respectful and caring way, Robert MacKenzie, the author, explains how to set limits and stop manipulative or aggressive behavior. I didn’t even finish the book but the changes are visible!
As he explains in the book, Ian is an aggressive researcher and I have to stick to the plan. Consistency is key. Consequences are very important. And the way to stop a power struggle is not even start one. A clear verbal message followed by an action step seems so logical but I had to read many examples to understand the power and beauty of it. No more warnings, second chances, arguing, debating, negotiating, repeating, reminding, giving long explanations, offering special rewards, pleading and begging, cajoling etc. Just listing it is exhausting!
Ian continues to research to make sure I mean what I say. I continue to follow through the suggestions in the book, with a huge success rate in my favor. Life is calming down in my home and I am in love with my son again. What a pleasure to be around him! Even if he is researching aka negotiating, complaining, asking, arguing etc. At least, now I know what to do.
A few weeks ago, Ian started saying that he wanted his dad and mentioned his dad during a school activity (see image below). We often talk about Ricardo and how much we miss him, how much we enjoyed having him around and how silly he was. I told Ian I miss his jokes a lot and I miss my friend. It is OK to miss someone we love that is not here with us anymore. It is OK to say we miss this special person in our lives as often as we need to.
Yesterday, Ian and Nick, my partner, were watching TV and I said, in Portuguese, to Ian: When you and Nick will hug and say you love each other? Ian answered me: This may never happen… It took a six-year-old to teach me that it is also OK if this never happened as they may like each other and live a happy life together but love is a whole different thing.