To discipline or not…

We got a puppy. 

The puppy was meant to be a companion for my son.

He’s missed the last 3 months of school from illness and we thought it would be nice to have a pet in the house to make him happy.  Pets bring joy into our lives, right?! 

Anytime John meets someone new it takes awhile for him to get comfortable with them. He test his limits. He is anxious. He swears, a lot! Its no different with a puppy.

In my mind it was a beautiful joining of two souls that just needed a companion. But, in reality….

Every morning there’s a battle at the top of the stairs. One won’t go down first. John, attached to his long 25-foot oxygen tubing trailing behind him, sits at the top of the stairs cursing and screaming at the dog because he’s being licked. The dog seems to think that this is something that John enjoys and continues to do it. When I try to call either one of them down the stairs they both look at me like I’m crazy. I carry the dog down the stairs go back up and get the boy, while the boy chants and screams at me. At this point he’s nice and irritated so it really starts our morning off with a BANG! Most days when I go back up to get the boy, the dog follows me up. Eventually, my brilliant mind realized I should probably put the dog outside and then go back up and get John. That only took me a few days to figure out.

Once we’re downstairs and settled things normally are pretty smooth. Unless the dog comes in the house and wants to play. God forbid the dog wants to play. Our dog is a boxer, it doesn’t bark much other than when it wants to play. So when our boxer, by the way his name is boss, comes in and wants to play he barks. With every bark my son throws out an F bomb. 

So we have a started a new regiment of visuals, rewards and consequences for bad behavior.  Swearing had always been an issue with John but was under control before this illness. He was going to school and earning his visit to Chuck E Cheese every Sunday.  

The balance between discipline and loving him too much is an act most days. When we are home how much do I tolerate before taking the only enjoyable thing he has in his life, technology.  The other leverage I have is Chuckie and bowling. We get Chuckie for using a level two voice all week and we get bowling for not using any bad words. But, only if you’re feeling OK and it’s not too crowded. 

We are building a system that works for us daily. Considering there are so few things that he enjoys it’s easy to find the consequence. The hard part is allowing myself to be okay with taking these things away and making sure he feels loved. He’s surrounded by so few people while we’re at home. We have so few visitors. 

I want to make sure he feels loved while balancing the discipline so I don’t go crazy. 

Meanwhile, tring to explain to an autistic sick child why he can’t have his reward right now even though he earned it is probably the toughest part!  

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