Parenting traumatized kids is not for the faint of heart or for those who are can not switch it up on the fly. Today was a long day and when I say long day I mean between the hours 5pm and 8pm. I received a phone call saying that Kevin was in trouble on the bus again at 4 and then the bus was late.
He got in trouble with me because he decked another kid. He has been hitting a lot lately. In this case he did not even hit the kid who was giving him a hard time, he hit another kid who told him to shut-up. Anyway, I was not the most therapeutic parent at first because I went with the anger that I was feeling rather than waiting till calmed down before I dealt with him. After I yelled at him then I sat down and debriefed with Kevin about how he was feeling when I was angry and at him. We talked through that awhile and then used his feelings to discuss the choices he has been making. After lots of talking he was able to be honest about how he is feeling on the bus and what a hard time he is having. There was a lot of learning going on.
Let's be clear here - I do not for a minute recommend yelling at your kids but if you do it, after you have apologised to them and their siblings it can be a good chance to discuss feelings and what happens when other people are angry. Yelling is triggering for both my kids, it is not a good place to go but it is where I went because oh my goodness, stop flippin punching everyone who looks at you! I am not feeling very patient with this behaviour at the moment even though there are 6 million reasons that they are acting like this right now. ( yes they, I will save Randall's antics for another post)
After about an hour of talking we hugged he moved on to homework, he could not do it and hysterical sobbed through it. The he cried because he could not find the book I suggested he look for. Then he tried to pick a fight with whomever might take the bait and stormed away from the dinner table numerous times. Finally he got sent to bed but not before he punched me a few times and we ended up standing outside waiting for him to cool down so that we could all be safe. I talked him through it calmly, yelling when he is raging gets us... oh yeah, nowhere. So even though he was punching me and I had to carry all 75lbs of him outside I just stood in front of the door telling him that he needed to be calm and to stop hurting me. He did and came inside and got ready for bed without further incident.
There is a lot of healing that comes from talking about the "big feelings" that my kids are having but each and every time it happens there is some serious fear about sharing those very deep and scary feelings. It is interesting because I am noticing that I can really push Kevin to talk to me about how he is feeling, it is not easy but we can go there. Randall is not even close to being able to go there, he just gets mad and storms off or bursts into tears and will talk about his thoughts or emotions.
As frustrating as dealing with Kevin can be, I can see a difference in how he deals with things and just how very far he has come. He works through his feelings more quickly and is much more willing to talk about what is going in his head and his heart. When we first met him there was no way that we could of had a night like tonight and have end as well as it did by the time bedtime rolled around.
Randall is moving a whole lot slower but he will get there, I am feeling positive at the moment, don't burst my bubble.