Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Lot of Anger

There were early indications yesterday that the day would not go well.

My wife was out tutoring a couple students in Japanese in the morning, so it was up to me and Kai to walk the dogs that are staying with us right now.

We hadn’t gotten too far when Kai started to complain.

“My foot is uncomfortable!” he said.

Sometimes Kai doesn’t put his socks on with the heel side down and so his feet feel tight in his shoes. I offered to help him undo his shoelaces and put his shoes on again.

He refused.

But a short while later he complained about his feet again, and did not want to walk further.

I got annoyed.

I asked what was the problem. He said his nails needed to be cut. Mom had just cut them the night before, but I said that I would cut them as soon as we got back from our walk. But I wanted the dogs to pee and get their morning exercise, so I tried to keep going.

Kai got more upset, asking me to slow down even as I thought we were walking slower than usual.

He was also clutching his groin area. He said that hurt, too.

When we saw other dogs walking by, our dogs started barking at them. I had my hands full trying to control two dogs, along with an agitated boy.

When our dogs finally peed, I turned around and headed for home. Kai was clutching the back of my shirt and pulling on it to slow me down. I told him that if he wanted to get home, he would have to let go so we could walk faster. And when he did not let go, I forcibly removed his hand from my shirt.

He got angry, but by then we were near our house so I was able to convince him to go inside and use the bathroom. But by then he had already wet his pants.

I was frustrated, but we were both able to calm down.

I cut some of his toenails, though they did not seem too long to me. And after that we had fun playing on the Wii.

But it was not the end of our conflicts for the day.

In the afternoon, when Kai came home from his speech therapy session, my wife reported that it had not gone as well like it usually does. His therapist said that something seemed off, that he seemed really tired.

While my wife was telling me this, Kai was laying on the floor in the entryway. He was yelling that he wanted someone to carry him to his bedroom.

Sometimes, when he is like this, we use humor or other methods to try to get him out of his funk. On this day, I was not in the mood for humor.

I told him that he was too heavy to carry and that he was fully capable of walking to the bedroom on his own. But he was mad, and insisted he wanted someone to carry him to his bedroom.

We left him alone. A moment later, he was ripping up the shirt he was wearing.

And that got me mad.

I took the remnants of the shirt off his back, threw it at him, and yelled at him to go to his room.

He ran to his room, calling me an evil person along the way. And soon we heard him throwing things onto the floor. When I got to his room, he had cleared the reachable shelves, throwing everything on the floor.

Kai screamed at me to leave the house. He said that he did not want me to be his dad. He said he would kill me.

He also screamed that he wanted his shirt back. I told him that he would not get a shirt to wear as long as he was angry. I grabbed all of his shirts out of his cabinet and took them away.

He tried to bite his blanket. We took that away, too.

My wife suggested that I leave the room, as Kai would not calm down until we both had a chance to cool off separately.

I went to my home office.

I needed to get a lot of work done. But it was hard to focus.

I was upset that my son had such hateful things to say to me. And while I knew that was just how Kai gets when he is angry, it was hard not to take it personally.

I also was upset with myself. As much as I try to treat Kai like a typical child, in my more introspective moments I knew that I should have used a different approach. For whatever reason, something was causing him to get agitated quickly. And I should have tried to be especially patient with him instead of getting frustrated and upset.

After awhile, I could tell it got quiet upstairs. My wife had helped Kai to calm down.

I stayed in my office until later in the afternoon, when it was time to take the dogs outside.

I went by myself.

When it was dinnertime, my wife called me through the window to come back in. Kai was talking to me as well. I understood that he had written some type of apology letter.

When I came to the table, I saw what he had created.

He had made an envelope, addressed “To: Dad or Yuji” ha!

I opened it up and saw that he had written what was enclosed, including "Gemail" and “Sorry Letter inside.”

And the next page was the letter itself:

My wife said that the letter was all his idea and creation. She had nothing to do with it.

Of course, my heart melted. My eyes misted. Whatever anger I had for the remarks he said in anger had disappeared.

But the frustration I feel toward myself remains.

I have to find a way to help my son get put aside his anger, and not get angry in turn.


  1. If everyone just gave such sincere apologies...the world would be such a much nicer place. Impossible to stay angry with that one... huh :)

    I know that this article had moments of frustration...but it is the way it ended that makes this a heart warming story.

    1. Yes, a sweet, sincere note like that just melts your heart. We all need to take a lesson from that!

  2. I think you do a wonderful job with Kai, and if you lose your cool once in a while, you can't beat yourself up over it. YOu're only human Yuji!

    1. Thanks, Molly. Sometimes it feels like being human isn't good enough. :)

  3. Aw... thank you so much for sharing such a personal and intense experience. Yea, kids say these heated things even without special needs (i remember some of the choice words i said to my parents when i was younger...) I was wondering, maybe this is not the case -- but whenever I cut my toe nails my feet feel really uncomfortable, like the nails were acclimated a certain way and then when they're cut down they start pointing in the wrong direction even when they aren't cutting into my toes, the shortened nails just feel weird. If this is a one-time situation maybe this wasn't what happened, I do wonder if Kai felt the nails orienting a way he's not used to more than usual. I'm glad you boys made up.

    1. Jane, that may be what was bothering Kai but I really can't say for sure. He often doesn't clearly describe how he is uncomfortable so it is hard to figure out. That day, it seemed like he was just quick to get agitated, much more than usual.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!


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