Bed Time – Pete Schwartz

Transitions are sometimes difficult with my adopted son, Neil, age 10. Bedtime is a prime example. One night last week, I didn’t hug him goodnight because I asked him if he wanted a hug a few times and he didn’t respond. When I walked away, he yelled that I shouldn’t leave, but he didn’t calm down, and I told him I couldn’t respond to his dramatic display. I told him good night and that I love him, but I left despite his crying demand for a hug. I don’t know if I myself approve of my decision or not, so it’s OK if you don’t approve. In any case, I thought it great to consider what is happening for him. It was past his bedtime, so he was tired. He was in bed, and I brought in Hula, our dog who sleeps with him. He was taking his time getting her situated… he has a routine of getting the covers just right and was not ready to be interrupted. My request for a hug was untimely, and he dismissed it as he was still getting things settled and settling in. My walking away greatly disrupted his nighttime routine and he was sad he no longer had my attention. I can think of a time that I expected to have someone’s attention, and I didn’t. I was disappointed. Additionally, if I thought I was doing my best (as he must have thought he was doing his best to get the bed in order), I would be mad if someone just walked away without letting me finish and dismissed my efforts to finish what I was doing. I can imagine that for him this was upsetting, as he had an expectation that I would be there when he was done getting the bed ready. In retrospect, I could have just been more patient and enjoyed watching him get the dog settled. I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities.

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