Yesterday we had a few errands to run. My son needs some of his clothing replaced again, so we needed to head over to the local (and wonderful, I might add!) thrift shop. I also wanted to pick up some local honey and some rice bread at one of the other shops downtown.
My son didn't get up til after lunch and was only ready to leave with an hour to spare before the thrift shop would be closing. He chose not to bring a snack with him, but he was in good space throughout the afternoon. We went to the thrift shop first and he did a good job in picking out appropriate shirts and a pair of shorts.
As he was waiting in line, I asked how much his clothing would come to and he said he didn't have enough money for what he was buying because I hadn't given him "all his allowance." I reminded him of how allowance works; average allowance for him right now is $5/wk. If he has taken care of his responsibilities, does not have to repay for damages to anything, etc., he receives the full $5. If not, he will receive $2. He has the opportunity to earn up to $8./wk if he chooses to take care of his responsibilities and do extra chores. I then asked him again if he had received all his allowance for the past 3 weeks, given the choices he'd made while camping, while away at the cultural event, and since we've been home. His immediate response was "Oh. Yeah. Yes." He then stated that he only had $4 with him rather than the $6 that was on the table for him. I reminded him that he then needed to make sure of what he was able to afford before he got to the check-out. My son nodded, and I stepped back a few feet so he was in line on his own with his clothing and his money.
When it was his turn at the check-out, he put all the clothing items onto the counter and informed the woman that he didn't have enough money. The woman beside him immediately offered to pay the balance and my son nodded and put out his hand. I stepped over to the counter and asked my son if that was the appropriate way to go about this. He said, "no" and looked away from the woman who'd offered to help him. I smiled and told her that he was learning about responsibility. She smiled back, as did the woman behind the counter who also added, "I appreciate what you're doing with your son." There are staff at the thrift shop who are aware of my son's challenges with clothing and stealing; they've done well with supporting him in learning to do the right thing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon together without incident and my son gladly ate supper without any issue.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.