As I write off the rest of my working day and appear at the school my partner works in, I notice the Restorative Justice aide memoirs hanging on a lanyard around his neck. The irony isn’t lost on me. Being a practitioner and professional in a particular field doesn’t mean that managing the behaviours of your own children is any easier than for other parents.
The next day, and my finely crafted plan to get everyone to their respective places of study and work has failed. I’m a twin down. During these scenarios I use a risk assessment approach. What is the worse that could happen? He’s thirteen now. Chronologically anyway. Still eleven in many aspects. And positively primeval when things aren’t going his way. He has an over developed amygdala and I mustn’t forget that. So he’s not going to wander into the road and get killed. He could get picked up by the police and brought back to me, waiting for him in the house where I’ve told him I will be when he’s ready. He returns ten minutes later. He tries to take his school bag and phone. I distract him with the offer of a cuppa. Ten minutes later his head lifts and his eyes open, and for the first time in about 30 minutes (feels like a day) he can see and hear me.
While I’ve been waiting, checking and adjusting my body language to be open to him when he is ready, I’ve been running through my contingency plan and selecting the option that best matches this scenario. It’s part of my risk management approach that stops me feeling panicked and helpless. I know that today of all days I can afford to reschedule things in work. In that alone lies a silver lining: he has chosen a good day for a melt-down. It’s one I can work with.