Monday, September 17, 2007

Disentangling Rigid Thinking

My son has developed some rigid behaviors around his use of the treadmill. I am at a loss as to how to help him disengage his rituals so that he can be successful.

The climax today was when he told me after two tries to get his "run" under 35 minutes, that he wanted to try again. To have a do-over again, making it the third run of the day all so one of his runs would be under 35 minutes and the first two "don't count."

When I told him he needed to have his shower and get ready for bed, he said he needed to be on the treadmill tomorrow at 3:15:15. Yes, at fifteen minutes and fiteen seconds after 3. He is 15 years old. Many things are connected to 15s for him. He said he blamed his lack of success today on not being home at 3:15:15.

I told him I could not allow him to dictate the time of his treadmill use. This has been an issue for months. Before this, he decided he had to wait until the mail was delivered before he could use the treadmill. He is required by his Dad to be done with the treadmill by the time Dad comes home. This is not really hard since he has all day to do it in. It is only hard because he makes it so.

And, if he does not achieve the run in less than 35 minutes, he claims that he can't do any written work that evening. He has been told they are not related, but in his mind they are.

Why can he do the run in less than 35 minutes sometimes and not others? I am not sure. Dana says it has to do with the t.v. show he watches while he is on the treadmill. He doesn't run fast except during certain parts. He walks slowly. He sounds to me as though he is running quite steadily when I listen from the floor below. I do not want to have to go into the room to monitor him. I need the time free from him and I need him to be responsible for his treadmill use.

I do know he has a thing about how many calories the machine says he has burned. I have repeatedly told him I am not interested in the calories. I am only interested in time and distance.

My great frustration is in not understanding this obsession well, and also in not figuring it out, I don't know how to help him.

He won't record it and doesn't want me to write it in the daybook unless he does it in the required time.

He is collecting the mail again once in a while. I allow him to do it in a random fashion. That is, I do it most days and now and then I will let him get it. He likes to get it. I can't allow him to control my life to the point that I don't get to use the treadmill or that I have to listen to him pounding on it over my head for more than 70 minutes a day. I think I may have successfully got the treadmill unhooked from getting the mail into the house.

The hard thing for me is that he is making this a conflict between us. I need not to have to have a power struggle over his p. e.

Suggestions are welcome.



Blogger The Glasers said...

Pamela is not as rigid as Alan, but I think it is because she is more docile. I have her nag about the office at noon reduced to one reading of the nag note first thing in the morning. Sometimes, my eyes are blurry with sleep, but it matters not for I have the thing memorized! Occasionally, she might remind me, but it is not the never ending nag it used to be. It is reasonable enough for me not to go stark raving mad!

Is Alan precise enough to the clocks set to the Naval Observatory?

Does he have the abstract reasoning to understand the placebo effect and how people taking sugar pills can fool their bodies into acting as if they were on a real medicine?


7:58 PM  

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