Friday, November 26, 2010
In case you forget your child is traumatized ...
... first, I assumed the extra acting out was a cyclical thing. But quickly realized that was not it.
... then, I thought it was a "we have a lot of new kids and people around" thing. But, again, it continued and didn't really add up.
... so, of course, it was the holidays, right? I mean, trauma and the holidays are toxic soup.
... then this morning, after some rather entertaining, "Will someone PLEASE consequence me for this?" random behaviors, including walking around outside in 40 degree weather while dressed for the Bahamas, I pulled us into the living room for some good, old fashioned prescribing.
"Let's go ahead and freak out. Get this stuff out there. Tell me what is going on. YELL IT. If you don't want to yell it, that's okay - I'll do it for you."
I'd get a quiet whisper about the holidays and then scream it at the top of my lungs. "I DON'T THINK I DESERVE GOOD THINGS!" I'd get another quiet whisper about not ruining yesterday and needing to ruin today, and I'd yell that out too (FYI - VERY therapeutic for Mom!!). "I DID GOOD ON THANKSGIVING AND SHOULD RUIN IT TODAY!" Remember, I'm in my bathrobe with a cup of coffee, jumping up and down and flailing when necessary - setting down my mug first, of course.
This went on for just a few minutes and then finally, just BOOM!
"And the T's are coming."
Dead silence. That was it. This all started when I announced the arrival date of some of our favorite people on the planet. They will be coming to stay a few weeks at the park.
"And the last time they were here I totally messed up the whole first day they were here and the whole last day."
Until my child reminded me, I had completely forgotten those very specific details. But this child never did. They were etched into their brain. They were terrified it would happen again and they would lose time playing with their friends. Their fear and self shame put them into a cycle that we have been witnessing for just over a week now. They just want to go ahead and blow it, because they do not believe they deserve to do well, and they aren't quite sure they trust themselves to actually DO it.
So, we have a plan. We will prescribe some poor choices and false consequences the day before they arrive - just act it out and be ridiculously silly with it. We will have a pow wow every single night until then, to discuss the stress level and the shame then focus on the truth.
We will set ourselves up for success.
And THEN we'll start dealing with Christmas.