What If They Don’t Respond

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I was talking to a couple of folks yesterday about children who have great shame and do not respond well to the slightest of correction.  It will send them into rages.

I cannot stress enough how this behavior is a STRONG FEAR based and SHAME based behavior.

They are unable to receive correction, because they tie their value and worth into wanting to be perfect.  And they cannot be perfect, because they are human.  None of us are perfect.
And then, the slightest need for gentle correction causes them to be distraught.

Yesterday, when I was talking to Sweetie 4 about school work, this was her frame of mind.
For her, it is becoming more rare, but it still happens once in a while. Yesterday was our “once in a while.”

It is so hard when you are “in the moment”, especially if you get caught off guard , to respond the best way.

So both of  the folks I spoke with had similar scenarios.  No matter how tender the correction, the child responds with tears and then rage.  They are STUCK in shame and guilt.

I was thinking back to the beginning of Miss Sweetie 4’s relationship with us. She was trying so very hard, and it seemed any time we had to correct, even with the most tender and gentle voice, it would send her into a rage.

It got better with lots of rocking, but then, at year one, a few days before her one year anniversary, which she was sooooo excited about, she fell apart.
She was so afraid and convinced we were going to get rid of her that she tried to make it happen.
We actually had to call our social worker for support.  And she gave us the very best advice!
“Follow your training!”
I couldn’t remember it. LOL
Here it is:
“CHANGE THE SCENERY!”

Oh yeah!

She was hiding, curled up in the corner of the laundry room behind a laundry basket, ready to strike at anybody who tried to touch her. 🙁

We soothingly said, “Sweetie, we are going to go somewhere.  We need you to get in the car.”
She was HIGHLY suspicious, convinced we were going to get rid of her.

But, between the two of us we got her into the car.
And then we drove off.
I put my hand out for her to take and started speaking words of deep affection and love to her.
“You are my precious girl!”
“You are an awesome kid!”
“I LOVE YOU!”
“You are NOT going ANYWHERE! ”
“You are a Minich!”
“I can’t wait to celebrate our one year anniversary and your 10 year anniversary!”
And more….

Her little hand reached into my hand and she broke into huge, relief filled sobs.

“Let’s go to the park.”
We did go to the park and I pushed her on the swings. We went for a long walk and held hands, and as we walked, I talked to her about what had happened earlier.  The entire time, we were walking and talking.

And then I reaffirmed her again, letting her know that she is truly valuable and her value to me is not based upon her performance, but just because she is my daughter.

We have used this tool a couple of other times when she was stuck in shame and it worked every time.
It may seem “counter-intuitive” to take a raging child to a park.
It may seem like “rewarding” bad behavior.
But let me assure you that it is NOT!
The behavior is based upon SHAME.  And you have to get past the shame. The only way to get past that is to unconditionally accept and love your child into wholeness.

It is amazing when a child moves  from that shame filled guilt, to a place of acceptance, how they are then  able to  listen to gentle instruction and learn from it.

“Let me so those beautiful eyes sweetie!”
Let them know they are PRECIOUS!
Karyn Purvis says that a child who rages, does not know their own preciousness.
And I agree whole heartedly.

Pursue Relationship!

Comments warmly welcomed!

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