Walking Through A Re-Do…

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I would like to walk you through an actual re-do.  This happened in our home today, so it is still fresh on my mind.
We have been having a really wonderful season of peacefulness.  But Sweetie 4 began to stress about her brother.  He does not live in our home.
Sweetie 4 came to us after a disruption. She has since  been reunited with her older sister, but misses her brother terribly.
I noticed yesterday she was having a hard time concentrating, bringing him up several times.  And then, today happened.

We had just finished science and went over the questions.  She is doing fantastic in school with her reading and math, and she really does like science.
Sweetie 2 was working on the computer, and Sweetie 4 wanted to sit there.  It was an unreasonable request, so I told her no.  She insisted that she ALWAYS sits there.
I told her there are plenty of places to sit, and she sits in many places throughout the day.
She got very upset and threw her book, notebook and pencil down and ran into her closet.
Her window of tolerance was SHUT, and being told no was the final straw in her delicate balance of regulation and worry.

I went into her room where she was curled up and said, “It is not ok to walk away or throw your books to the floor!”  Note: There was no door slam! 🙂

I stayed present with her as she was in complete retreat.  After about 5 minutes, she was still upset, but not totally shut down.  I decided to rub her back, and she said, “I don’t want to be touched!”
“Are you asking me not to touch you? Or telling me not to touch you?”
She said, “telling”.

Sorry sweetie, that is not appropriate. I want to be respectful to you and I need you to be respectful to me.
If you do not want your back rubbed, that is ok, but you need to ask with respect.
“Mama, can you not touch me right now?”
Ok…thank you for using respectful words.

“So, now I’m going to ask something of you.”
“May I see your pretty eyes?”
(She was hiding her face buried in her hands.)
Why?  Because she was so full of shame.

So, I said, “How about you either let me see your pretty eyes, or let me hold your hand”…..
She instantly looked up at my eyes.  (remember, she didn’t want to be touched at that point)

“Nice to see you, sweetie.”
By now, she was calm and reflective.
This is when I had a chance to speak to her heart.
(she never took her eyes off of me and I had a voice of compassion, speaking very softly)
“Sweetie,  Do you know that you are precious?”
“Do you know that I love you?”
“Somehow, I think you forgot!”
“You know it is never appropriate to throw books down, or be disrespectful.”
“I know you know this.    Can you tell me what is wrong?”

And she poured out her heart.  You didn’t believe me!
She has a HUGE problem of not being believed.  That is her huge button.
To not believe her, means she is a Liar, she is no good, she is not valuable, she is not worthy and brings great shame upon her.  This stems from her past trauma history.

I questioned, “What didn’t I believe?”
She referred to where she sat for school.
Aha!

“Sweetie, mommy didn’t think you were lying.  Mama thought you wanted to sit there.
The word ALWAYS means, all the time without any other study place.  While that is your favorite place, it is not the only place you sit.  So ALWAYS was not the correct word. But that does not mean mama thought your were a liar!”

“You know what I think? I think you are my precious daughter whom I love very much!
That is what I think!”
By now, she was holding my hands and looking rather mournful.

“Sweetheart, the problem that you face each day has to do with not loving yourself.
You are your own worst accuser!  And you need to start calling yourself Honest instead of Liar.  Loved instead of Hated. Accepted instead of Rejected.  Respected instead of Shamed.”

Little tears began to well in her eyes as she said, “I love you mama! Will you forgive me?”

You BET I will!

We snuggled.

And then, we began the process of doing it over.
(THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP!)

We went back to the scene of the crime and started over in a role play.
She asked Sarah to move, I explained that Sarah needed the computer and I didn’t want her to move, so she could sit… (I gave her 2 choices of places to sit and reassured her she could sit in her favorite place later)
She said, “Yes, Maam.”

She picked up her book, notebook and pencil and then said, “Mama, may I go into my room for a few minutes?”
“Yes you may, I’ll be right there!”
And then, we finished with going over how little time that took and how smoothly it went, all with respect!
(We normally pray for each other at this time, but this time, we didn’t.)
And then we went back to our day!  And she has been delightful.
All of this took about 30 minutes.

I learned something too.  I didn’t offer her a choice of places to sit and she still needs that kind of direction.  I also frustrated her during a time I knew she was stressed.  I could have handled it differently.  (not giving in to letting her sit in her favorite place, but reassuring her that it would happen.)
I am loving this journey we are on.
And our sweetie is sitting nearby, with her love cup filled…. for now. 🙂

6 Responses to Walking Through A Re-Do…

  1. Fatcatpaulanne says:

    Finally, I was able to log in. I’m not a big fan of Word Press, but I am a fan of your blog, so I persisted.

    Whew.

    Anyway, this post reminds me of that Jason Gray song

    Forgiven
    Beloved
    Hidden in Christ
    Made in the image of the giver of life.
    Righteous and holy
    Reborn and remade.
    Accepted and worthy.
    This is my new name.
    This is who I am now.

  2. kyhtak says:

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing this!! (I’m sure it’s easier to share things like this on a blog where “real” identities are not used!)

  3. Karen says:

    What would’ve you done if instead of her fleeing & hiding, she would’ve become aggressive and attacked you or a sibling? I know that some kids prefer flight, some fight, and some freeze…

  4. ChristieM says:

    That is a very good question Karen.
    The truth is, that this particular sweetie was very aggressive 2 years ago. We had to learn how to not escalate her. It is a fine dance. 🙂 There are a few times where we had to hold her in order to keep her from hitting, biting, spitting, kicking etc.
    What we found was that if we LISTENED to her, she was telling us how close we could get; how much she could handle, through her body language. And if we weren’t listening, that is when aggression happened.
    I like what Karyn Purvis said at her last conference. If your child is agitated, and you go in and touch them when they are not ready, or escalate them; you own what happens.
    That is hard to hear for parents who’s children are fighters. But I promise it is true.
    We sat down with her when she was regulated and we made some pinky promises.
    We would not touch her, unless she was ready. She would use her words to let us know, and she would not lash out physically.
    Then we worked VERY HARD to work her towards expressing herself with words.
    We treated her with great gentleness and kindness, and one of the best tools….. drum roll please…… If somebody gets stuck, a “change of scenery!”
    One time 2 years ago she was hopelessly stuck. We got her into the car and I took her to a park. She sobbed and sobbed when we got there thinking that we were going to “get rid of her”. 🙁
    Instead, we went for a long walk, and talked about what happened. She poured her heart out, and became regulated, and we started again.
    Violence should always be addressed. The best way to stop violence is to make your home a place of FELT SAFETY. When they feel SAFE, and you as the caregiver are a safe person….. they will learn, even in times of dysregulation that they do not have to lash out. You will be there FOR them to help them through to the other side.
    I believe there were times when we actually CAUSED her to lash out because we were not in tune with what was going on. We had to learn her, through studying her.
    It took some time!
    Today, I can honestly say that she is trust worthy. She can be left home with her sisters with no problem at all, while I run to the store.
    When she was first home, just like with a baby, I would take her everywhere with me. We had to get to know each other well. And she needed to be with me, and I with her.
    Attachment happens through these natural occurrances in every day life. 🙂

  5. DawnZ says:

    Thank-you! I am the type of person who can “read” something, but I need to “see” it to totally understand it. Thank-you for showing me what a re-do actually looks like. I need as much practice as my kids!! 🙂

Comments warmly welcomed!

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