The storm before the calm?

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I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster. Feels like I’ve taken about 20 steps backwards and only 2 forwards in my parenting this past few days.

Youngest is clearly having a hard time and so as a result her behaviour is seriously challenging. However for some reason I’m getting totally emotionally wrapped up in it, not seeing the wood for the trees, behaving like a child myself and making things so much worse for everyone. The last two nights, I have literally laid or sat in a ball and cried. It feels like I’ve gone back to how bad and how difficult things felt when they were really little.

Anyway, the 2 steps forward – I’ve completed module 2 of Triple P Online for teens. Yey!! Forget how long it’s taken me. Doesn’t matter. I’m back on the right track. Congratulations me for taking the time to do it.

Module 2 was all about encouraging appropriate behaviour. My learnings from it:

  • A reminder about paying attention for the right reasons not the wrong ones – noticing the behaviour we want and praising it or just showing them we’ve noticed.
  • A reminder about spending time with them doing fun stuff. Stuff they want to do. Just ‘being’ with them sometimes.
  • Spending little bits of time with them more frequently (rather than having to find big chunks of time which is easier to put off / for it not to happen) – a few minutes here and there every day of properly listening to them talk, doing something with them, showing them I love and appreciate them. That they’re special and I’m interested in them as people.

So my actions from this module are to make a record of behaviour we don’t want (I’ve decided that’s raised voices – either them arguing or being rude to each other or them shouting at me, or me shouting at them!) – looking for patterns. I have downloaded my worksheet and will be recording daily. Feels slightly artificial to be doing it, but I remember when I did a similar exercise in CBT about my daily activities and it felt a little ‘unnecessary’ but I learned a few things from it, so it was worthwhile.

Also my two goals are to:

  1. Praise them more – notice the behaviour we want and praise them for it – particularly when they stay calm in a situation that previously they could have lost their temper at
  2. Just notice what they’re doing more and pay attention – acknowledge even just with a look or a smile

Given the nightmare behaviour of the last 2 evenings, this feels really quite difficult – I want better strategies for dealing with the behaviour I don’t want. This feels a little like I’m ignoring the howling gale going on and instead putting the sunbeds out ready for / in the hope of a lovely sunny day.

Anyway, I’m going to hold on to the faith that this is the right thing to do first and that ‘prevention is better than the cure’ and I’m going to be ready for those sunny days. More than that – by doing this, I hope that I will encourage the storms to die down and that sun to come out again on us as a family. Please soon!

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