Thursday, May 27, 2004

prodigal son

Boy was listening to a kid's story on CD which happened to be the parable of The Prodigal Son.

Boy said, "I love this story, it's the best one in the Bible."

"Why? Why do you like it so much?"

"I dunno. I just do."

"Do you think it relates to you? Reminds you of you?"

"Nup. Well... yes"


"Because I ran away too."

"Why did you run away?"

"I dunno... (much quieter) because Mummy yelled at me."

"That's no good. What else?"

"Because Mummy hit me. And Dad hit me... And sometimes I went to bed with no dinner... And went to school with no breakfast..."

His eyes glistened in the weak light of the bedside lamp.

"Well, you know, that's terrible. Sometimes people do things because that's all they know how to do. They just don't know any better. This doesn't mean Mummy and Daddy don't love you, because they do. They just get so frustrated at not being able to deal with you that they yell at you. It's not all your fault"

He nods.

"You know, this is part of why you are here with us - to help you deal with things and help Mum and Dad to deal with things. It's not easy to change but we can, we can all change. We just have to try. It's not like magic where it happens instantly, it takes time."

Boy nods again.

"We love you and we're here to help, okay?"


This conversation confirms something I promised myself after one outburst a few weeks ago - I determined never to use a basic human requirement such as food as a bargaining point or a punishment. Extras like icecream, sweets and dessert sure, as they are 'special' and shouldn't be taken for granted. But never dinner, supper or breakfast.

This is part of his ingrained insecurity - he feels sure that misbehaviour will result in something foundational, like food, will be taken away, and in some reverse psychological way, he accepts it before it happens and then anticipates it and so feeds his own anger and sense of non-importance.

The reality is, in this case the parents are prodigal - rashly wasting their son's life...

It won't happen again.

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