My kids have stopped raging, they have stopped using bodily fluids as weapons of destruction, they have begun to learn to burst into tears when there emotions begin to overwhelm rather than beat the crap out of the closest person. It is progress but there are still days when the crazy lying, the sneaking and pushing me away dances on my last nerve. Yes even though things are better old habits and protective behaviours die hard.
Some of my kids choices are old habits but others are behaviours that are meant to protect them, behaviours that kept them alive when adults were not keeping them safe. For a long time my children were taught that adults would not meet their needs, they learned to fend for themselves and protect themselves at all costs, lying, stealing and sneaking were ways to be fed and to stay safe. Not investing in relationships with adults was a way to protect their hearts from the pain of the loss that they were certain would come if they began to care.
On one level my kids know they can trust me, but when they are faced with a situation in which they feel threatened they often react in a way that will keep them safe no matter what. I would be lying if I told you that it does not make me crazy. I would by lying if I told you that I took it in stride every time that it happens and reacted to the behaviours in a calm and understanding manner.
The lying, stealing, sneaking and rejection makes me crazy in the moments when it occurs and sometimes I am able to take it in stride and talk the offending kid through the moment. Other times I react like many frustrated parents would and yell. The thing is, when I react like that we don't get anywhere because my yelling just triggers my kids and then we get caught in a circle where we argue with one another. It is really hard to be the adult in those moments, it is so hard to step back and be calm, to take a deep breath and talk through the moment without creating more drama.
Sometimes it helps to remember that these behaviours are way better than the behaviours I dealt with when I first began parenting. These behaviours pale in comparison to the places my kids used to go and if I can remember that in the moments when I need to I can be a better parent. I can be calmer and more therapeutic and that means that with time these behaviours will lessen just aa the other have and that will be a good really good thing.
I am going to put on my patient pants before I pick my boys up from school, hope they help.
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