Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control...Week 1

My previous post was all about the way my children came to be my children. This is more of what I’m supposed to be doing for the class…giving feedback on the class and my views of the content.

This week’s class was all about stress, regulation and dysregulation. We talked about what stress does to our children and, more importantly, what it does to us as parents. When we’re stressed, our kids are stressed.

Remember my little (hee! Hee!) essay on how I came to be a mother? Do you think there was much stress in there? Oh yes!

From the very beginning, parenting has been all about stress for me. Can’t have a baby=stress. Get a 6 month old baby=stress. Adoption goes awry=stress. The list goes on and on.

I have read all of the parenting books. I have tried 1-2-3 Magic. I have tried time-outs. I have tried time-ins. I feel like I have tried it all.

And at the end of the day, sometimes I feel like a great big failure.

But, when I meet my kids where THEY are instead of at where I am, then it’s a different story.

When I am filled with love and compassion, I am able to get down to their level and listen to them. I am able to put myself in their shoes for a moment and help them breathe. I become a better mother because I have made space for my children in my conscious life.

One of the things my children do is vie for my attention and love. My middle child often gets most of the attention. She attracts it. I also have the greatest amount of personal trauma with her so I am overly protective of her emotional needs. What ends up happening is that Meka and Elvia come at me…trying anything they can to get my love and attention. It usually looks something like this:
1. Sidle up me to see if she can get in my lap, too
2. Dance in front of me to get me to notice her and praise her
3. Say things like, “I can do it too!” or “I’m a good girl too!” to gain my praise
She gets my frustration
4. Sneak off and do something forbidden as a means of “getting back” at me for not giving her that original space on my lap
Success at getting my attention. Negative attention, but attention nonetheless.

And so the dance begins. The dance of attachment disorder. Is it major? No. Do my kids have severe behavior issues? Not yet. Will they? Yes, if our dance continues like this my children will most definitely have severe behavior issues.

I am taking this online class so that I can deal with those issues now. The behavior issues of a 4, 6 and 10 year old are MUCH more “doable” than those of a 12, 14 and 18 year old.

So, tomorrow I will approach my children from a state of calm. I will breathe before I respond. I will kneel down before I speak. I will look at them and realize that they are children. Pure and simple. That they are doing the best they can and that I owe them the best that I can give them as well.


  1. insightful post & well written

  2. Oh Leslie, I love reading your writing. It flows and makes me feel so welcome and like you'd understand me the way you understand yourself and now your children.