We've been told that holidays can be a tough time for kids like ours. We noticed about mid-November that some naughties were emerging that we hadn't seen in several months. So we tightened the boundaries, kept routines really secure, and things stabalized. Then Christmas morning hit, with a different routine and lots of new stuff and the kids took it to a whole new level. They were defiant just because, about everything, as long as they could hold the energy. Any control of impulsivity they'd gained was gone. It was like we had taken a huge step backward and lots months and months of growth.
So now we're in a rut. Our 7 year old told me today he was going to be good now. Oh no!!! I hate it when he says that because he's NEVER good after saying that. He's worse. But I do believe he's sincere. Wanting to be good but being over the top naughty, that is crazy. He's stuck, he's lost in old patterns and doesn't know how to get out.
Almost two months of troubles, then several days of working my tail off maintaining boundaries, and now I have to come up with the additional energy to infuse in these relationships to pull these kids out of their rut. We've done it before and we'll do it again.
- Collect smiles & laughs. Our kids have lots of old brain chemistry for sadness and hopelessness. So we pull them into new brain chemistry of smiling and laughing and happiness. The hardest part of getting them to smile is to first put a real smile on my face.
- Connection. After so much trouble, I don't want to be with them, but that's exactly what they need. And they need more than my presence in the room, they need my attention. It's time to play games together, read stories, and do lots of rocking.
- "Yes, Mama." Everything I tell them to do has to be answered with a "Yes, Mama" with a smile. I get this response by giving it. "Say, yes Mama," I say to them with a smile, until they get it right. When they finally get past the resistance, the look on their faces is pure joy. They are letting me be the parent and they get to be the kid.
- Have fun. I'm worn out of watching them, enforcing boundaries, and then getting those looks of defiance, but it doesn't matter. We must have fun. We must have fun!