If you follow TBFKAOP you know that I blogged a few weeks ago about the dramatic and utterly terrifying meltdowns of 3 year olds. If you don’t follow TBFKAOP, why the hell not? Uh, I mean, maybe you should check that post out. Unless you’re contemplating trying to have a baby, in which case you should pretend that post doesn’t exist and sniff a newborn until your ute hurts and takes over your common sense.
So, 3 year old meltdowns have got me down. I am at a loss, y’all. I have always sworn by the parenting book Raising Your Spirited Child for teaching me how to understand Sabine, cope with her ah, peculiarities and more importantly head off freak outs. Raising Your Spirited Child wasn’t helping me with this. Nothing was helping me with this. Not ignoring, not coddling, not bargaining, not prepping, nothing. Nothing helped. And it gets to be exhausting when you’re jumping through hoops to try to diffuse a 35lb puddle of child.
Someone recommended the book The Explosive Child to me. I balked. Explosive children swear and scream at their parents. They hit them. They throw things. My child, though trying, does none of these things. Anger really isn’t her bag, baby. But in talking my friend insisted that it works for children who are prone to meltdown too. To children who have fits of hysterics. And, well, the drama IS my kid’s bag. Baby. The book goes into greater detail about how imploding is an issue much like exploding and so I decided to give it a go.
What I went looking for was guidance for my child. What I found was a greater understanding of … me. And my child and good coping techniques but what I’m really astounded by is what I learned about myself. I guess you could say I was a trying child and teenager. Rigid. Inflexible. Explosive. Yeah, sure. I did a lot of yelling. I did a lot of yelling into adulthood when I had to learn how to navigate problems without screaming in people’s faces. My poor parents. I mean, really. As I read through the book I did some, “Yeah, I can see how that could help Sabine” and a whole lot of “That is me, that is me, that is ME, that IS me, and OMG THAT IS ME!”
So I know at this point everyone is thinking, “That’s great and all, Jenn, but you already said that you learned how to work around the whole explosive thing so what’s the big deal?” And you’d be right – I did learn to work around it. But what I didn’t really realize until I read this book is that it is somewhat NORMAL to have to LEARN to work around it. That some kids don’t just develop these coping mechanisms as well as other kids. That for some kids it’s just like math being hard, except it’s your emotions rather than algebra. I have spent the majority of 30 years of my life thinking I was just a suck kid with an anger problem who finally grew up when, in reality, I was just a slow learner. This book did more for me understanding myself than years of therapists that my parents sent me to. And then I sent me to. And so on and so forth.
Now. This is not to say that I deny culpability for my actions. I don’t. I was a suck kid and I’m lucky that my parents were as involved as they were. But now I somewhat more understand why I was a suck kid, even though I didn’t want to be.
Andplusalso it has further helped me put together the puzzle pieces of what happens when a high needs baby is no longer a high needs baby (and they’re a high needs child! woohooo!) and how that translates beyond wearing them 24/7 and bouncing on exercise balls. I think this is a good thing. For all of us.