I walked away from Randall this morning, well first I started to get frustrated then I thought about just making him comply ( read yelling till I got what I wanted) with my request but then I realised that would get me nowhere. So instead I walked into his room, turned out the lights, closed his curtains and told him that perhaps he needed more sleep. I lifted him into his bed, said goodnight and closed his door. He yelled and screamed for about 5 minutes and then he realised that I was not playing and stopped hollering.
When I was ready I went back and asked him if he was ready to start his day again. He said he was. I let him know that I was not interested in starting my day by fighting with him and if that was how he wanted to behave then he was welcome to get some more sleep because clearly he was over tired. He was not interested in missing school so he pulled it together.
All of this was because I heard him hollering at his brother, who then tattled on him which caused me to ask him a question. Yes, I asked my child a question about what happened with his brother. He did not want to answer, I kept asking, he began to lie and shift the blame. I began to get frustrated, I told him that I did not want to play games, just answer the question - it was a hard question - I asked what they were fighting about. He would not answer so instead of continuing the battle I walked away, he kept yelling so I went back to his room and put him back in his bed. It worked, it stopped the spiral of destruction* we were getting into where he yells, I yell louder and then I give him a consequence because I am the adult and I can do that. But that spiral teaches him nothing except that I am louder than he is and I can get what I want because I am the adult. It is not healing, it is not therapeutic, it does not foster attachment.
I do not do it often enough, Randall and I often get into the spiral of destruction because I forget that he is still healing. I forget that he is not his brother and they are not in the same place in terms of their attachment to me. I forget because the chinese water torture games that he plays with me do exactly what they are supposed to do, drive me crazy. Crazy Mama yells at him, crazy Mama loses her temper and freaks out which reinforces him that I do not love him and that he is not good enough to be loved.
We go through this almost every day, it gets exhausting. He pushes me into the spiral, I take the bait and down we go. There are times when I am successful as I was this morning, times when I can step away but more often than not he is back at dripping water on my forehead before the day is through.
I think I need to a shirt to go with my patient pants that say - end the spiral of destruction...
*my own personal super clinical term