A child trapped in a man’s body

My kids are driving me bonkers today. They’re fighting with each other over stupid, pointless things. It’s almost like they’re fighting just to fight. I just defused an argument between Gavin and Elliott that was very quickly exculating.

While this wasn’t stupid or pointless, it was completely avoidable.

Gavin had been doing something, on purpose, to annoy Elliott. Elliott had asked Gavin to stop half a dozen times and but he kept right on going. Elliott eventually got up and left the room. Gavin then proceeded to follow him and that’s when Elliott finally began to lose his patience.

This final confrontation took place outside my bedroom door, which is how I became aware of what had been happening.

Elliott handled himself quite well but Gavin, not so much. Gavin kept making excuses for not stopping and I tried to get him to understand that no one cares about excuses. In the real world, if someone asks you to stop doing something, and their request is reasonable, and you don’t stop, it can become a problem.

I don’t think that Gavin was being malicious, but I also don’t believe that he forgot that Elliott had asked him to stop 6 times. Life isn’t going to allow for that as a get out of jail free card.

What I do believe happened is that Gavin was having fun and got carried away. He simply didn’t know when to quit and wasn’t paying attention to the impact his actions were having. This time around it was just annoying behavior that was upsetting Elliott and wasn’t that big of a deal. This does, however, raise the concern that when told to stop, Gavin doesn’t stop. This time it was harmless but next time it may not be so, or it could involve someone who doesn’t understand Gavin.

This isn’t the first time that Gavin has found himself in a situation where he doesn’t comply when asked to stop. Clearly, it’s an ongoing issue that I need to nip before he gets himself into trouble.

I explained to him that the next time something like this happens, there are going to be very real consequences. I told him that if he’s doing something that is upsetting someone or causing them distress, and you are asked to stop and you don’t, you’ll lose your phone for a period of time. His phone is his currency. I also made sure he understood that I wouldn’t let anyone do this to him either. This big difference at this point is that he’s an adult and his brothers aren’t. The world will not see him as a child stuck in a man’s body.

Sadly, I don’t think Gavin learned anything from this and if he did, it’s a matter of time before he forgets. All I can do is continue trying to get through to him.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t believe Gavin would ever intentionally hurt someone. What I’m worried about is his lack of understanding other people’s boundaries. His behaviors could very easily be misunderstood by someone who doesn’t know him and I certainly wouldn’t blame them.

I’m feeling overwhelmed at this point because there is a bit much on my plate at the moment and I need to catch a break. I’m burnt out and looking for things to improve. It seems as though my existence is spent putting out fires and that’s fruatrating.

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Dotdash

I understand why you are worried about Gavin, but I would just say this (from experience): kids behave better with acquaintances/friends/strangers than with family. I don’t know if they feel free at home to let it all hang out or if they try to be on their best behavior when with non-family (or both), but you are probably seeing the worst of it at home. Just a thing I’ve witnessed with my own kids and other kids. It doesn’t lessen your responsibility to teach your kids good behavior, of course, but I believe you can relax a bit when you project their current home behavior into the future. He’ll do fine out in the world.

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