Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The absence of kindness, when children believe a lie.

Being missing in action has left a tole on my family. Warm meals and clean sheets may not sound like much but it makes a real difference. Kindness in its absence leaves for survival. Yes as all who have said were right "they will get through it", but it took a tole here. My kids missed edification and the luxurious lifestyle of moms gifts of kindness. The clean, warm kindnesses offered by a present mother.
In the absence of kindness irritability grows, self sufficiency can become resented. It is now for me to heal the edges of resentment with patience that honestly I have not been able yet to pull up. Being worn out before 10 left me discouraged. Using as many tools as I can with Dash has left me to tears. He is with me 24/7, Dove is at Jr High.
Special needs kids have an extra layer to cover, to heal and peal back from my absence. Dealing with low self esteem left from an absence of being built up daily is a heroic challenge indeed. One I certainly feel ill equipped this morning to handle. Attachment Deficit Disorder is a hard special need to deal with. Dash being with me all day still needs to be at my hip constantly. I am not hardly able to go to the bathroom. I can sit here near him while he does his work and he is fine. Being so stressed I took to doing something about it. Here is what I have come up with that may help me this morning.
My son has hardened into a 'choice' to think he is a failure. Like an identity. We have done all we know to expose this as a lie, a choice to believe or not. We feel we may have failed him ourselves. For him to think of himself this way devastates me. It is based I think in the inability to accept that he is an imperfect human with an intolerably high IQ. It is not accepted by him if he does not do everything perfectly the first time. He is being taken to his knees in hopes all of this will help him find some humility and peace.
I really am taken into places of anger and frustration with him due to some poor parenting practices. Each kid is different to parent. Some kids are harder. This boy of mine is so amazing bur really stubborn. Being his home school coach is a full time job, it has left me wanting to be able to praise him more. He tosses any praise aside and disregards it. Lord I need wisdom and I need health for the strength to do this all better. It is so hard. I feel worn out at times not wanting to fight or yell at him ever again. So I will do my best to avoid the traps. I am a parent who has made mistakes and now I need to keep learning how to do it better. My habit of trying to encourage him when he is angry has to stop. He can not hear it and it just makes me escalate into frustration.

At the moment we have a honeymoon stage. Oh it is just so exhausting. I am not speaking with him as I am typing so he is now singing Christmas song and talking well chattering with the dog. As his coach with school I have to work so hard to praise as I correct. Hard work.

1. Don’t yell or challenge your child when he’s angry.
Many times parents deal with angry outbursts by challenging their kids and yelling back. But this will just increase your feeling of being out of control. The best thing you can do is remain calm in a crisis. Think of it this way: Even if you get into a car accident and the other driver jumps out and is furious at you, if you can remain calm, they will probably start to relax and be reasonable. But if you come back at them with an aggressive response, and say, “What are you talking about, that was your fault,” the tension just stays at that heightened place. So don’t challenge your child when he’s angry—that’s just like throwing a match onto a pile of firecrackers. Just wait until he calms down.

2. Don’t try to reason with your child when he’s in the middle of a tantrum, tirade or angry outburst. ME!
Many parents I talk to fall back on logic when their kids are angry. After all, as adults, we reason through things to defuse tense situations. This is always a challenge with kids because they don’t have the same capacity to stop and reason like we do. So when you’re dealing with your angry child, you have to leave that verbal place where you feel pretty comfortable and use different techniques. Saying, “Why are you mad at me? You were the one who forgot your homework at school,” will only make your child angrier. Instead, wait until he calms down and then talk it through later.
3. Pay attention to your physical reactions.
It’s important to watch your physical reactions because your senses will tell you “Yikes, I’m in the presence of somebody who is very upset.” You’ll feel your heart start beating faster because your adrenaline will be heightened. Even though it’s difficult, the trick is to act against that in some way and try to stay calm. Remember, you’re lending your children your strength in these moments; you’re showing them how to handle anger.  By staying calm, you’re not challenging your child by yelling back and engaging in a power struggle; this only escalates the tension. And paying attention to your own reactions will also help your child pay attention to himself because he won’t need to worry about you or your emotions. When you don’t respond calmly, your child will work even harder at his tantrum to try to get you to pay attention.  So you really have to tap into some solid parenting skills to handle the outburst quickly and effectively.
4. Don’t get physical with your child.
Sometimes on the Parental Support Line we hear from parents who have lost it and gotten physical with their kids. I took a call from a dad whose teenage son mouthed off to his mom, and the father shoved him. The fight escalated. The son would not speak to his father because he felt his dad should apologize to him; the father, on the other hand, felt that his son caused the problem and worried that his authority would diminish if he apologized. I advised him to say, “I lost control and it was wrong for me to shove you. I apologize.” That’s it; end of story. You don’t go into your child’s role in that situation at all because it is an attempt to place the blame on someone else for your actions. Rather, you want to teach your child how to take responsibility and make a genuine apology. Don’t worry—you will have other opportunities to work with your child around being mouthy or defiant. But it’s important to be a good role model and address your role in the fight going south. Remember, if you get physical with your child, among other things, you’re just teaching him to solve his problems with aggression.

5. Take a different approach with younger kids.
If your small child (eighteen months to age four) is in the midst of a temper tantrum, you want to move ever so slightly away from him, but don’t isolate him completely. When small kids are upset, you want to help them to start to learn that they can have a role in calming themselves down. You can say, “I wish I could help you calm yourself down. Maybe you can lie on the couch for a little bit.” So have them calm down until they feel in control. By doing that you’re asking them to pay attention to themselves. So instead of, “You have to sit there for ten minutes by yourself,” it’s more of, “When you feel better and you’re not upset anymore, you can come on out and join us.” You can also give them a choice. You can say, “Do you need time to go into your room and get it together?” Again, don’t challenge them when they’re in that mode.
6. Don’t freeze up.  
Some parents freeze up when their kids throw tantrums or start screaming at them. The parent is emotionally overwhelmed and becomes paralyzed with indecision or gives in to the child. If you’re this type of person, you may find that sometimes your child will get angry on purpose to engage you; they’ll bait you by throwing a fit or saying something rude, because they know that this will cause you to give in. So your job is to not take the bait—don’t get angry, and don’t give in.
I think parents sometimes have a tendency to renegotiate with their child in these situations. Often, they’re having a hard time managing their own emotions and so they don’t know how to coach their child properly in that moment. But remember, if you give in and renegotiate, even every once in a while, you’re teaching your child that it’s worth it to act out.  Instead, let them calm down and try to coach them to use their problem-solving skills later. In my opinion, once you start doing that, you’re not passive. You are making a conscious choice to not get into an argument. You’re saying, “I’m not going to renegotiate; I’m going to be calm.” Although it may not seem like it on the surface, all of those choices are actions—you are making a choice not to give in.

7. Give consequences for the bad behavior, not for the anger.
When your child throws a tantrum, starts screaming and really loses it, make sure you give him consequences based on his behavior and not on his emotions. For example, if your child calls you a foul name during his angry outburst, give him a consequence later for that infraction of the rules. But if all he does is stomp into his room and yell about how life isn’t fair, I would let that go. Kids get angry just like we do; they need to feel that they have a safe place to let off steam. As long as they’re not breaking any rules, I think you should allow them to have that time to be angry.

8. Don’t give overly harsh punishments.
Giving harsh punishments in the heat of the moment is a losing proposition. Here’s why: Let’s say your child is angry. He’s having a tantrum and shouting and screaming at you. You keep saying, “If you don’t get it together, I’m going to take away your Wii for a week. Okay now it’s two weeks. Now it’s a month…do you want to keep going?” But to your dismay, your child keeps escalating; the more you try to punish him in order to force him to stop and get control of himself, the worse he gets.
We have a name for that kind of discipline: It’s called “consequence stacking.” What’s really happening here is that the parent is losing emotional control. I understand that it is hard to tolerate it when your kid is upset—we don’t like it. But what you want to try to ask yourself is, “What do I want my child to learn?” And the answer might be, “I want him to learn how to not throw a fit every time he has to do something he doesn’t want to do. I want him to learn that when he gets upset, there’s an appropriate way to get out of it.” The worst thing you can do is join him and get upset yourself. Harsh punishments that seem never-ending to your child are not effective, and will only make him angrier in that moment.
9. Take a break.
On the Support Line, I’ll often ask parents who call about their child’s angry outbursts the following question: “When you and your spouse are mad at each other, what do you do to calm down?” Often, people will say they take a break and do something on their own for a little while until they can calm down and talk it through. This technique also works with your child, but parents often don’t think of it because they feel they should have control over their kids. But remember, when somebody is angry, you can’t reason with them and you can’t rush it. The bottom line is that if you stay there in that anger and keep engaging each other, it will not go away—it will just get bigger.  So take a break and come back and interact with each other later when everyone is calm.
10. Role model appropriate responses when you’re angry.
I also tell parents they should try to role model dealing with their own anger appropriately in front of their children. What are some good ways to do that? Say, “I’m getting frustrated—I’m going to take a break.” or “I can’t talk to you right now; I’m really upset so I’m going to wait until I’m calm. I’m going to come back and we’ll talk later.”
Admitting that you’re angry and you need some time to calm down is not a weakness; it takes a lot of strength to say these words out loud. Remember, you’re teaching the lesson of how to manage your anger, and that’s exactly what you want your child to learn.

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Older women likewise teach the younger women...

• how to love their husbands
• how to love their children
• how to be self-controlled
• how to be pure
• how to be keepers at home
• how to be kind and submissive (not subservient) to their own husbands. (See Titus 2:3-5)

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By Maya Angelou

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean living,'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
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When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain...
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Words have power. Here are a few of my favorite sayings.

  • A warm cup of tea is like a cuddle with a friend.
  • The North American Indians have a more eloquent word for ‘friend’ than we do in English. In their language, the word for friend literally means, “the one who carries my sorrows on his back.”
  • Return with Honor
  • The sage anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy, and does things that would become great while they are small. All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great things from one in which they were small. Therefore the sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things."
  • “Live so that when your children hear these words they think of you… Fairness Caring Integrity Honesty Love Trust.”
  • "O Lord help my words to be gracious and tender today, for tomarrow I may have to eat them."
  • "No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes"

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