Thursday, June 03, 2010
"I finished your stupid challenge - now what?"
Yesterday was Day #7 for my home in the Attachment Challenge.
I did this challenge because we were at a bump in the road and needed to back up and do some very intentional things. We have had to do hours and hours and hours of therapeutic interventions lately. When that happens, you feel like, "Eh. I got in lots of face time. We have touched like CRAZY. Done." The problem is that you mentally feel like you have covered your bases, and the first thing to go is playfulness and pleasure FOR YOUR CHILD. And the very last thing you want to intentionally add to your day is playfulness and pleasure FOR YOUR CHILD.
Thus, this whole challenge thingy.
Now, I started out the week pissing you off. I would be delighted to end the week with just as much cursing, flailing and gnashing of teeth in my direction. I have learned and been reminded of much pain and truth this week. Parts of it sucked.
The first two days, I hated. I will admit, though, that as the week went along it wasn't AS painful and icky - even with all the crazy-craze. It reminded me of some of our early days in attachment therapy. The therapist had the kids practice saying, "I love you." It was painful for them. For instance, they would rather rage and scream and cry and yell, "I have loving feelings for you!" than just use less energy and say it. It was personal and it was very, very, VERY UNCOMFORTABLE for them. So, we made a chart. We tried for 10 times a day. ALL five of the kids did it, so there was an element of competition (when you can use that trauma-induced competition for good, DO IT!). By the fifth day, it was no longer painful. By the seventh day, they smiled as if it were almost a joke that we needed a chart.
My kids thought they might die. They really thought they may melt or implode. They did not. They hated it, but they had enough of a drive to keep up with their siblings, and they succeeded. Our therapist was one smart cookie.
So, in the spirit of making you hate me, I want to share some things with you which have really stabbed at me lately - in a good way (and by "good," I mean "I hate them for being so honest and showing me my faults").
First, Daniel Hughes. Damn you, Daniel Hughes! Read his Treatment and Parenting Model. It's all very basic, but it's all just RIGHT THERE in front of you on that page. I have read a lot of his stuff, but then stumbled across this particular, informative, realistic, stupid, stupid page. I hate it because it is all so very right and true and valuable ... oh, and some of the hardest parts of being a therapeutic parent. *I am tattooing #8 across my forearm for constant reference*
There is a little article by Nancy Thomas that asks you to decide who sets your happy-stat. When is the last time you did something just outrageously silly in front of or with your traumatized child? Why are you letting your child set your happy-stat? Cause if that's the case, you have plum lost your happy!
And finally, this week I have put a spot light on the little things I have let creep in that shame my child further. In her "Therapeutic Parenting for Traumatized Children" manual (currently my most-suggested resource to anyone who asks), Denise Best says, "While it is true that a genuine dose of guilt is good, because it is designed to modify our choices and subsequent behaviors, the same is not true of shame ... guilt is like the heat that lifts the air in an air balloon as it shifts us to a higher level of functioning, shame is like a hole in the balloon that deflates the soul, causing one to just give up."
Now what? What have you seen? What have you learned? What absolutely, positively does. not. need. to. stop?
FYI - I just ducked, so your coffee mug did NOT smack me in the head. heh. heh.
(photo by ilker, used with permission)