We were out running errands today. One child hadn't taken his ADHD medication and it was obvious. We walked through WalMart to get a few specific items on my list. He was ornery and ranting and was getting more out of control by the minute. I stopped him and told him I wouldn't have any more of that kind of behavior. He calmed down - for about 20 seconds - and then continued. All the way out to the car.
I was on the verge of creating a scene! I finally turned to him and asked what was going on. "I have to go to the bathroom." Was that all it was? I sent him back in the store with his brother to take care of business. So glad I finally caught on and asked. Seems like I'll never learn that lesson.
It reminded me of a time ten years ago when my big boy started taking money. Nothing I said or did seemed to stop the stealing. One afternoon after discovering money missing from my purse - again - I got so frustrated that I marched over to the elementary school, took him out of class and drove to the police station. I figured this child needed some major intervention or he'd end up a career criminal.
When we arrived, I dragged my reluctant man into the building. I pulled him up to the clerk's window and asked to speak with a police officer. In due time a uniformed man came out to see us. I explained the situation to him. He showed us to an office and sat us down. After a few preliminaries, he point blank asked my boy why he took the money. The answer made me feel like such a heel: "I want to buy hot lunch at school instead of bringing a cold lunch."
He HAD been asking for hot lunch for months. All the while, I had been trying to save money by sending a sack lunch to school. I realized that my stubbornness had driven him to this thievery. It was MY fault. From that day on I paid for hot lunch. Problem solved. No more stealing. It was that simple. So, I guess, when all else fails, ask! I may figure it out yet...