Thursday, November 18, 2010
Rolling with the Resistance
Therapists who use DDP use PACE to work with a resistant child and it will work for you too.
Playful: Change the subject. Start talking about the dog, start doing some fun activity, get that brain out of the back (Flight, fight, freeze) mode and into the front of the brain with the logical thinking works. You might be surprised how easily they switch!
Example: When Taz is angry (reason doesn't matter) "Let's make some muffins". I keep muffin mixes in the cupboard that require few ingredients and he can make them easily with me along side. Or even "Look at that tree. Aren't those the most beautiful colors you have ever seen?"
Accepting: Accept whatever story your child gives you. Do not question or argue. Roll with it.
Example: "I want to work at ___. It looks like the most fun place of all." After I have told him that place is too far from home. My response "It does look like fun." He stopped and moved on. He felt heard.
Curious: "Could it be...... " come up with some possibilities of what "might" have happened. Be gentle, curious and completely NOT sarcastic. If they become defensive immediately repair.
Example: "He hit me first and I did not do anything to deserve it. So I hit him back. He did deserve it." The teacher has told you that when your child was out in baseball at recess that he walked up and punched someone on the other team who was standing off to the side.
FIRST Give the accepting response. "That must have been very upsetting. I know I'd be upset if he did that to me." "Could it be that you were really upset about getting out. Sometimes it is so hard to be out when you really want to make a point. It can make us have some big feelings that we don't know what to do with.
Child becomes angry and says "I said he hit me for no reason. I didn't do anything".
Parent: "I'm sorry if I brought those big feelings back up for you again. I hope you will forgive me."
Child: "It's OK. I might have been a little mad when I was out."
Parent:"I know I sometimes lose my temper when I am feeling sad. Let's talk about how to handle that in away that makes you feel good about yourself."
This conversation can go back and forth for awhile with the curious parent/repairing the relationship.
Empathy: "If this had happened to me I would have been so embarrassed (use the feeling you believe might fit your child. You are the expert on them). Some kids seem to be so good at sports and I know all of us wish we could be.. It is frustrating."
It is easy to fall back on the "What did you do? Don't lie to me." sort of mentality and it does not work with kids who feel so much shame/sadness/fear.
Give it a try. You might be happy with the results!
Have a healing day!