Being Sheep

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."John 10:14-15

Monday, October 15, 2012

One of those days

It was one of those days. A day that I could barely keep my head above water. A miserable day.

My two older (home schooled) boys spent the night at a friend's last night and then the friend's mom brought them all to their art class this morning. It was a huge blessing to me that they could go to art class without me dragging N along, getting there on time, then trying to entertain N for the 2 hours the older boys were in class.

I had visions of a lovely morning; just me and my little guy. I made a grocery list so we could get the shopping done first thing, then we were going to play together and just have a nice relaxing morning since I didn't have to worry about school for the other kids.

But instead of shopping, I spent most of the morning holding a raging little boy. It started when he didn't want to go potty. Then he didn't want to get dressed or eat breakfast. Then he looked straight at me and dumped his entire bowl of cheerios on the floor. Then screamed the entire time I cleaned it up. Then screamed even more when I said we were not going to the store. I did not want to bring him in public in his very unregulated state!

He spent over an hour screaming about not going to the store. He eventually calmed down and politely asked to watch a show, which I allowed. But as soon as the show was over he screamed again for over an hour because the show was over, because he wanted daddy, because he wanted to go to the store.... and so on.

About 10 minutes before lunch he calmed down, then was able to eat lunch happily with us. After a long nap, he awoke in still a bad mood and screamed some more over random things.

I was exhausted. I managed to get dinner on the table, and wrote out a grocery list for my husband (he's awesome!) who offered to take N with him to get the grocery shopping done.

As discouraging as today was, I remember back about 2 years ago. N would scream for 3 or 4 hours each night, waking up many times. He'd then scream for another 3 or 4 hours during each day, taking 30 or more minutes to fall asleep for a nap each time. Nothing we did helped, no one had any suggestions other than to keep doing the bonding/attachment stuff we were doing with him. We felt helpless and hopeless.

I'm amazed that today--a day of only about 3-4 hours of screaming, is a rare day. Lately most tantrums last only 10-15 minutes at their longest, and many of Karyn Purvis' trust-based parenting techniques work well to stop a tantrum from escalating further.

So I will choose to rejoice in healing. I will rejoice in improvements. I will rejoice that he likes me now, even loves me, and that we're able to handle days like today.

I pray that God continues to heal this little guy's heart. He needs peace.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Try Again! (Empowered to Connect 2)

My disclaimer: everything I write is based on my experience with my son. Some of the things we are doing or have done may work for others and their child(ren), but some things won't. Obviously all kids are different and are going to respond differently! I highly encourage anyone with a child from a "hard place" to do your own research and talk with a professional if necessary. Here is a good place to start.

My little N immediately responds to something he doesn't like with either violence or screaming. Of course, they do usually go together....

"Can I play Lego Rockband?"

"Yes, you can--right after your nap!"

"I WANT IT NOW!!!" (Insert screaming, hitting, throwing, etc.)

We have that conversation a million times a day. We try to say yes as much as possible to what he asks for (another Trust-Based Parenting technique), but there are some things I can't agree to right then. If I do agree to let him play the Wii for 15 minutes or a half hour or whatever, he'll throw the same fit when he's done as he'd throw if I'd said no. Which makes the day very difficult. And long.

So anyway, one of the things Karyn Purvis recommends is to have kids try it again. If you ask them to come and they don't, then they can try it again.

"N, can you come here?"


"Oh, let's try that again. What do you say when Mama asks you to come? You say, 'Ok, Mom!' So let's try it!

"N, can you come here?"

"Ok, Mom!"

Now of course there are often times when we have many minutes of screaming/raging before we can accomplish a re-do, but we're trying to be very consistent about re-doing every single time it's necessary.

Responds with screaming? Re-do from the beginning. Starts hitting? Re-do from the beginning. ("We use our nice words, not hitting.") Grabs a toy or book from his brother? Re-do from the beginning.

And ya know what? Since we've been so consistent about it for the last few weeks, his behavior is much better. At first it was awful; I felt like we were constantly doing re-do's, and when we weren't, N was screaming because he didn't want to! But he's starting to realize that he gets his way much faster when he simply uses his kind words, and often I only have to remind him once or twice to try it again.

We're getting there. One teeny tiny baby step at a time. :)