A DMK Production
It is Sunday morning and your thirteen year old son, Nathaniel, is obviously tired and is also unusually grumpy. He enjoys going to church with his two best friends and insists he wants to go this morning. He and the one friend who spent the night head over to the other friend's house who is also your neighbor. That friend's father is driving the boys to the church service. It seems all went well at church but Nathaniel is still edgy and seems stressed. You ask him to talk to you but he repeatedly says, "I'm fine."
A bit of background on Nathaniel's situation. He is biologically your spouse's great-nephew but was orphaned when his mother died two and a half years ago. You and your spouse were the only available family and so you adopted him. He has adjusted well and did attend several counseling sessions. You recently took in two foster children which required adjustment on his part. He will be turning fourteen in less than a month and seems to be unduly stressed over that. He is going to be starting high school next month as well and is apprehensive. You and your spouse are also having some marital issues which are impacting him. At certain points Nathaniel has talked all of this through with you.
You and the neighboring friend's father have arranged to take Nathaniel and his foster brother and two best friends to the YMCA pool for swimming. (Your spouse and foster daughter are not at home.) You take two cars as your neighbors have planned to not come directly home after the trip to the pool. Nathaniel still seems stressed but he assures you he is fine. You decide he is just tired as you know he and his friend stayed up late the night before.
The YMCA has a mandatory ten minute rest period at the end of every hour. You all arrive at the pool about ten minutes before rest period. The boys jump in and are happily swimming. You and your neighbor take up residence on a pool side chaise. At the appointed time the life guards blow their whistles and call rest time. The pool empties except for a certain thirteen year old boy - yes, Nathaniel is refusing to leave the pool. He starts arguing with a life guard saying he has only been there ten minutes and doesn't need to rest. The life guard is chirping his whistle at Nathaniel and telling him to get our of the pool. Nathaniel is not moving. You are now in the pool and have your son by the arm and you lead him out of the pool. As the two of you are exiting the pool Nathaniel unloads a string of obscenities on the life guard including the dreaded "F" word. Everyone at the pool is now staring and you are angry and embarrassed. You get Nathaniel out of the pool and apologize to the guard and send him to the locker room. He runs off crying to the locker room and you make arrangements with your neighbor to bring your foster son and the other friend home - he agrees to alter his after pool plans. You leave to go get your son who is sitting on a bench in the locker room and is sobbing. You ask Nathaniel to talk to you but he won't. You help him to the car. Nathaniel is sulky and silent on the ride home. You are still angry and so you are afraid to say much. Nathaniel refuses to discuss the issue.
You get home and send Nathaniel to his room and tell him to stay there and you all will need to talk later. You go to your office to cool down. You look outside a few minutes later and see Nathaniel riding off on his bike. Your immediate reaction is to want to go after him but you don't. You remember that Nathaniel will often take solitary bike rides to gather his thoughts. Nathaniel comes in about an hour later and goes in his room and slams the door shut. You give things a few minutes and go knock on his door. He invites you in.