Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Keeping her close

Confession time: Dealing with Iris's difficult behavior and attitude has more difficult then ever. And that's saying a lot. It's been a struggle for all of us for a while but it's been getting worse-- approaching what feels like a pit of hopelessness. In the interest of protecting a shred of her privacy, I won't get in to the gory details here, but here's what I'm doing about it.

I started with what I usually do when I have a stubborn parenting issue, I turned to my mama friends for advice and support. And advise and support they did (and still are!)

One of my friends came across a blog post on The Parenting Passageway that reminded her of our situation. Well, she completely hit the nail on the head. I highly, highly suggest you check out that blog, but if you aren't interested in clicking through just now (which will take you to the blog and not a specific blog post) here is what resonated with me about it:

The post is called "Collecting And Connecting To A Challenging Child" and it outlines ways to connect with your child, especially after separations. One of the key points the blogger makes is: If you are going through a rough patch with a child, actually spending more time together and not less is often a key to drawing closer and communicating. Some mothers I know have even brought their most difficult child home to homeschool with excellent results.

I'm not even kidding, if you were sitting in my living room watching me read that post, and that line in particular, you would have seen me completely light up. Inside of my heart, this is what I've felt is right for Iris. Outside of my heart, well, Iris is extremely challenging and some days I want absolutely nothing to do with her. Drawing her in feels like the last thing I want to do when she's screaming at me and hurting people and breaking things for eighty-millionth time that day-- but bringing her in is exactly what she needs.

The next point the blogger makes is: Meditate and pray about this child and carry this into your sleep and see what new insights come to you in the morning. You have the keys to help this child within yourself. You really do!

How much do I love this? A trillion, billion, gazillion is how much. As much as to infinity and back.

So, nothing is changed with Iris (yet!) but my attitude has done a 180 over the past few days. I've gotten a few books to assist me on the journey, because there is nothing more I like to do than read about kids who are OHMYGOD-- JUST LIKE MINE!

Last night I started reading Explosive Child . I haven't gotten far, but already I was practically crying. The book gets it. And a HUGE thank you to my friend who recommended this book.

Next up is The Five Love Languages of Children. I started to realize I need to maximize the love I'm giving to Iris by getting a better sense of how she best feels loved. Challenging kids, as much as or maybe even more than the regular ol' kind, need incredible amounts of love from their parents.

Last up is Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers . I wouldn't have chosen this book based on the title, but it is the book referenced in the blog post that knocked my socks off, so I figured it would be well worth my time to read it.

Matt is also going to be attending the same positive discipline seminar I went to last Spring (luckily he won't have the same horrible teacher I did) so it will be nice for our family to get a refresher on all of that.

Wish me luck. Wish ALL of us luck!


  1. Oh, The Explosive Child. Not only has it been a lifeline for me, I've given a copy to all of E's teachers. Sigh.

  2. Whatever we must do for our children, we shall do. I think the "closer, not further" approach sounds like the right path to me. I can't imagine pushing our children away (or pulling ourselves away) is ever the better path to choose.

    I hope these new inspirations make miles of difference for you & yours.

  3. You sound so happy, Sybil. I love when it is so clear that I've made the right decision about something...enjoy that feeling. :) A while back when Ruby was driving me insane I googled 4 year olds and found that Parenting Passageway blog. There was tons of good info there. I should bookmark it so I don't forget about it. Also loved the Love Languages but should refresh myself. Anyways, GOOD LUCK!


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