Scared – Who Me? by Kristi Saul-Post

Scared?  Scared?  I just don’t see it.  I’m trying here, but I don’t.  This is the third time I have asked my daughter to get a shower.  And she sits.  And I wait.  And she sits.

I know what’s going to happen next.  If I say it again, she’ll blow up.  “I KNOW, I KNOW!!”  But then she’ll still sit.  And when it finally gets to the point where I have to help her to the shower or raise my voice, the entire morning will go downhill.  She will be hostile – stomp around the house, slam things, stare at me with those coal-black eyes.  I will be irritated, impatient, and praying for the moment I can drop her off to school for someone else to manage for a while.

My amygdala is running wild.  How dare she defy me three times in a row!  Who does she think she is?  I am clearly an overindulgent parent if my daughter refuses to get up after THREE PROMPTS!  WE HAVE TO GO!!  IT”S TIME TO GO!!

Okay, okay, I need to breathe. What am I learning here with the stress model?  Oh yeah, first to calm down, regulate, get myself back together.  Clearly, I’m upset, and probably not looking at things in the best light.  I walk over to the desk and organize my papers.  Sometimes, just doing something cognitive can help me shift….. a little.  Then, I begin to take a look at my own actions, reflecting on the happenings of the incident.  Where could I have done a better job at connecting with her?  Did the fact that I felt so panicked when I realized what time it was cause her to feel scared?  Did I do that thing I hate the most?  Attempting to cover up the stress and anxiety with pseudo-niceness?  “Come on, honey, let’s get in the shower.”  Underlying meaning:  “OH MY GOSH, IT”S ALREADY 8:00AM.  RRUUNNNNNNN!!!!”   Who’s fault is it that we’re late?  That one last smack to the snooze button was awesome, but was it worth this?

I check in with my body, and can feel the tension creeping up from my shoulders to the back of my head.  My stomach is tight, my jaws are clenched.  I roll my neck, hold my stomach compassionately, and stretch my jaw, all the while taking deep, cleansing breaths. (Mindfulness check-in here - the 3 R's: Reflect, Relate, Regulate)

I walk back to the bed.  I sit beside her.  I pick up her hand and massage her tiny little fingers.  I can feel her relaxing.  She begins to move a little closer, and I rub her head and forehead.  She throws her arm around me, falling into my lap  We sit there together, breathing, relating, feeling the love.

After a few minutes, I tell her we have about two more minutes to snuggle.  She smiles.  At the end of the two minutes, I kiss her forehead and start to get up.  She pulls me back a little.  Okay, don’t panic, it’s okay.  She hugs me, kisses my cheek, and slowly edges to the side of the bed.  In the shower she goes.  I relax.

As I drop her off at school that morning, she looks back and gives me the signal “I love you.”  I signal back, and drive off.  It feels like it’s going to be a great day.

Always Choose Love.

Mrs B.

Have you read Bryan Post's FREE e-Book How to End Lying Now: Why Kids Lie and What You Can Do to Stop It? Post offers a radical new understanding of difficult children - adopted, foster, diagnosed, biological, or grandchild. The Post Institute has helped families and professionals move from fear to love in their struggles with challenging behaviors such as defiance, disrespect, self-mutilation, cutting, hoarding or gorging food, stealing lying and more! This free book can get you started - see your child's behaviors in an entirely different light and learn how to apply this approach. A truly love based family-centered model for many behaviors and diagnoses.

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