Sunday, December 5, 2010

Looking at the World Through Your Child's Eyes

I find the below video to be powerful. If I think about putting on RAD glasses, trauma glasses, that help me to see the world through my child's eyes what messages would I see?  Perhaps:

"I'm scared to hug you."
"You are going to leave me."
"I am worthless."

I'm sure you can go on with the list. How we respond is changed by what we understand. Seek to understand your child. They need it. They deserve it. They are so scared. It helps me, if as I go through our day, and my child is angry, screaming, defiant, and unreasonable to STOP myself. Take a step back and take my own emotion out of the moment and look at the situation analytically.  What happened right before the behavior? What is lying ahead of us in the day? What happened yesterday? And start asking questions. Are you sad your sister left for college? Are you nervous about going out of town to visit grandma tomorrow? Keep asking until your child says "Maybe". Help the child calm down before you talk. Change the subject. Find an activity to do together.  Offer words of empathy during a rage. "I see you are feeling so sad today". "Go ahead and scream if it helps and then we'll use your words." Or even better yet, learn what sets them off and de-escalate before it gets into a rage. Look for physical changes, a certain look in the eye and then say "Do you need to scream?" Mine would NEVER have a rage if I gave them permission first. I'd say "Go ahead if you need to. I'm love you enough and am strong enough to let you." Total silence.

You can do this. Put on the correct glasses and then "Get it".


Erika said...

And when I see that look on their face, I always say "TK" - or "You know I think you're a terrific kid, right?" or "I think I forgot to tell you that you're a terrific kid today...did I?"

Erika said...

Also, my oldest responds really well to...

Some kids, when ____ happens, sometimes feel _____. You? Oh, I wonder if you feel _______ ? You don't? I would be feeling that way. When I was your age, ___ happened, and I felt ____. She very often will have this visible reaction on her face, like ... wow... we're so alike... and then she'll say, "that IS how I felt." Then we talk about ... I wonder why you didn't want to tell me... did you think you were weird... did you not what me to know what was on the inside... It's always choice B.

Brenda said...

I love this Erika. Thanks for sharing. Superb!

Anonymous said...

Love this post...LOVE it. Thank you!


Unknown said...

I don't get that response Erika, its been six years and I still get the evasive non answers.
I know you say never give up Brenda but boy, some days I want to tear my hair out. I'd like a straight answer to a simple question like, oh, what do you have to do for your science homework tonight?

Brenda said...

Peggy Sue,

I absolutely have "tear my hair out, I can't do this any more" days. Those are the days where I ask myself a few questions.

Am I seeking out support?
Am I getting time away?
Am I taking it personally?
If I know they will not asnwer a question honestly then why do I ask it?

I will mull this over. I have a bit of a bug and have brain fog. I'll write a post on it when the fog lifts.

Erika said...

Peggy Suez,
Argh! Know that feeling well. Six years is a long time to be working on this kind of connection with a child. I worked really hard on my connection to my daughter - somehow made headway - every child is different - an extraordinary therapist with training in this area was the key for me. To give you a time frame, I was lost for 2 years and after landing on the right therapist, was on the right track within 4 months. I know that a lot of really frustrating stuff can happen between parents and kids with school in the middle. When I was not the teacher (I homeschool now), I stayed the heck out of it. I told the teachers that's what I was going to do - not to neglect education, but because I felt like it might be used to come between me and my child and that we'd all lose. No homework, no attachment. I would, however, provide the time needed for homework, provide supplies, provide help when asked, etc. Here's something else I do for understanding feelings: True or false - you're angry with me. Thanks for telling me. True or false - "another guess". Then I say thanks for telling me. I have to keep flipping what I think is going on into the true or false spot so that she isn't just giving you the "I'm guessing you want to hear..." response. Then we talk about how she might have found a way to take the initiative to tell me she was mad at me, for instance, and the feelings she might have that keeps her for doing it (usually fear). Parenting her is painfully difficult often, but it's getting less and less so. And the payoff is amazing - but not always. Sometimes it sucks.

Anonymous said...

@ Erika: how did you find a therapist and what TYPE of therapist are you talking about?? what qualifications???? a run of the mill psychologist or a specialist in RAD?? THANKS

Brenda said...


To the top right of my blog are some links to therapists who deal with RAD. Check it out and see if one is near you!