After school, A doesn't bound to the car with the usual upbeat manner.
Me: "Everything okay?"
A: "I got my Science assignment back and I really bombed."
Me: "Why was that?"
A: "I didn't 'show my work'."
Me: (perplexed) "Did you have mathematical computations?"
A: "We were calculating mass. So my overall grade now is ..." (lower than I want to print) "but I brought my textbook home so I can study for my mid-term exam on Tuesday."
Me: "So you didn't study for anything before this?"
Me, thinking about loss of college scholarships instead of my son's candid transparency, (for crying out loud, he's in grade EIGHT), I allow the conversation to disintegrate over the next 5 minutes from encouraging mom to angry authoritarian. Don't you know I have a university degree and I'm just waiting to help you if only you'd ask!! I kept asking questions that seemed to frustrate him and didn't really like any of the answers. Will he never learn?
He actually sounded so much like me, I think I got scared. When I get scared, I get angry. When I get angry, I raise my voice. He hates it when I raise my voice. He doesn't hear me, he interrupts, he shuts down. He got grounded for disrespect. I grounded myself for losing my temper. We hugged and made up and watched Batman Begins together.
Escapism. Yup. The solution to all conflict.
A: "So, am I grounded from video games?"
Me: "It's 11:33 p.m. Why are you still up?"
Avoidance. Yup. The deferral of decisions.
Now where was that "Focus on the Family" magazine?