So, I'm faced with a choice. One of my children is having a very public meltdown. Inside my cogs are whirring, I know what to do but feel the weight of public expectation. I feel my parenting is being watched.
I'm very susceptible to what people think of me, they're probably not bothered.
Feeling very watched I hovered on the brink of action.
Understanding what is going on in my child's inner world really helps me. Like fire, you will do well to know the nature of the fire before attempting to put it out. Our instinct is to use water but try that on your toaster fire or chip pan fire and it's going to make it a whole lot worse.
Back to the meltdown, the right thing to do was to step back, take the verbal assault and the scorn of the onlookers but watch regulation return. In the midst of all this it still feels like we live in a culture where parenting is reduced to winning and losing. Of course that may just be my parenting and a reflection of my childhood in the 70s an 80s. However, it seems to be the natural order that parents should win the battles and the wars.
Anyway, the meltdown. I chose to step back and after 10 or 15 minutes we'd restored calm. The peer pressure was crushing, nobody said anything but I felt trapped and impotent. Of course I 'won', regulation was restored but I took a bruising for my efforts. It took me longer to recover than her. It seems like this understanding has come at a price, years of stupid and bubbling parenting from me. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting there. Well sometimes.
Therapeutic parenting remains a much misunderstood path, it dances around the recognised parenting models of authoritarian, authoritative and permissive, it turns on a penny and leave the door open to all kinds of onlooker confusion. So be it.
I understand more, more about my child's inner world, more about me and more about the world I live in. That in part has lead to my increased frustration with the language and more annoyingly imagery around violence and aggressive behaviour. It lacks nuance and insight, it reinforces stereotypes and reduces our children to caricatures of that behaviour. How to manage your 'angry child' or clipart of screaming toddlers doesn't help. I'm off point now, but more often my child is distressed, scared, overwhelmed.
Anyway, knowledge is power.
In a moment of shameless promotion I'd ask you to look at and share the #CPVA2018 Report extended summary. It helps us understand our children's inner world and therefor us. It can be found here