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Monday, February 2, 2009

Heather Forbes/Beyond Consequences part 2

I think there is something very important to point out in relation to Beyond Consequences Logic and Control/ Heather Forbe's book regarding parenting traumatized children.

When you read the book, or hear the conference, you find yourself saying, "Wait a minute, my kid is acting horribly and I'm just supposed to give in to this type of behavior, remain calm, not punish etc?"

To this person I would say:

Most kids do not exhibit these behaviors. But for those that DO, there is something behind that behavior that is driving it. If your methods have not worked, or you are feeling the strain of anger pulling you apart, or your family is stretched to the brink stress, think about it this way.

ONCE you have been able to establish trust and love in your family, the behaviors disappear. It seems quite counter intuitive, especially for those who have been taught (which is most of us) that children should obey the very first time without question or the boom is lowered and they are brought under control by force.

THIS is why I am so very thankful to have parented Joseph. Our 3rd son, who was born angry. LOL It is true. He was. If he had been able to get his hands on a cigar and a beer, it would have fit the tirade he had in the delivery room. Everybody was laughing at how a preemie could scream that loud and be so mad.
By the time Joseph was 2 he was tantraming and I was using all the traditional methods I had learned, read about and been taught. NOTHING and I do mean NOTHING helped and he continued to spiral out of control. It was only when I realized that I had to help to keep him regulated by staying regulated myself. I had to help him LEARN to regulate himself because he really couldn't, that we had success. When I started seeing him as a child full of fear. HE WAS.... he was afraid of the toilet, he was afraid of his father, he was afraid of loud noises, he was afraid of being alone, I could go on and on....When I pictured him as a very frightened baby, my entire relationship with him changed and he responded VERY Quickly. It was amazing. I discovered my methods quite by accident and through much prayer; and it is amazing how similar they were to what Heather Forbes is teaching. Joseph is 28 years old now, married to a beautiful girl whom I love dearly and father, to a wonderful little boy.

So back to what I was talking about.....

The behaviors change and the "window of tolerance" changes too. The window of tolerance is how far a child can handle stress before his breaking point. With traumatized children, their window of stress is abnormally low. So to the normal child you can say no and it isn't a problem. To the stressed child, you can say no and they are on the floor kicking and screaming. The answer isn't to stress them out more, but to lower their stress level so that window can be budged open wider and wider and they can learn to handle stresses of life. It works and it works QUICKLY.

Many people are too afraid themselves to try it. They get hung up on Proverbs and feel that they are not disciplining.

I would challenge that person to take the whole counsel of the word of God. I would challenge them to consider what true "Discipline" is. Discipline is not punishment.
Discipline is to disciple; to come along side and teach. Punishment is sometimes a form of discipline, but it is a negative form of discipline. For the child who is at that closed window of tolerance, they cannot handle punishment, it will send them further and further into a downward spiral. They have to be able to experience love and trust first.

THEN... this is the funny part. Once you start to parent from a different paradigm, behaviors are no longer the driving force behind your parenting. Meaning, if you are having great success with your child responding to positive parenting and relationship s based upon love and trust, why would you want to parent any differently?

If Suzie does something wrong, and you sit down with her and talk to her about it, let her know how it effects the family, how it can effect her life and the natural consequences of life, her relationship with God etc. and Suzie is repentant, sorrowful and apologizes, what else is there to do? The Only thing I can think of is make the slate clean, keeping short accounts, and starting fresh, openly forgiving and letting her know that you love her so very much and truly care about her behavior. Isn't that how it is with us and Our Heavenly Father? If we come to him and confess our sin he is faithful to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness? It doesn't say, he then punishes us afterwards to make sure we never do THAT again, does it?

As we brought our little girls into our home, they came with some pretty extreme behaviors. At least the first 2 did. LOL The third one tried a couple of extreme things, but we recognized it right away and it only happened once.

Those behaviors became less and less pretty quickly. We still deal with fears from one of our children in particular, but when it is recognized for what it is, it disappears pretty quickly too. If I see her start to shut down, a quick trip to the rocking chair or an extra time for cuddling works pretty quickly to bring her back into regulation. TO make it CLEAR: This is not a FORCED HOLDING or FORCED BABYING.
I am against this, and was very pleased to hear Heather say at her conference that FORCING a child to be held, or FORCING some of the recognized traditional attachment therapies out there are damaging and should not be done.
If a child WANTS to be babied, then so be it. If they don't, it can cause them harm to force it.

Many people ask, "What happens when they get into the real world?" If you get stopped and get a ticket, you have to pay it and be respectful to the police officer who gives it. That is so true. The whole point is, you are getting your child to a place where they CAN receive that ticket, or they CAN receive the boss at work treating them unfairly, without falling a part. When they learn to handle stress, and you give them the tools to do it, it is life long and they will become whole and healthy citizens.

I have found this to be true with my sons, and I am seeing this with my girls too.

I just wish I had parented like this all along.

There is nothing more precious that talking with your child and leading them to the Lord to help them and listening to them pray and reach out to the one who can truly help them.
It is wonderful seeing them stop themselves and realize they are not using the "tool" they have been given, and then use that tool. LOL (in this case it was the "self control tool put in a mental tool box)

Over the last 5 years, we have mixed in some old methods with the new. "You must stop right now!" etc. Or we have used "natural" consequences... if you do not put your seat belt on, we cannot go. This was done AFTER that window of regulation was open wider.
And those little lessons are important for them to experience. Small doese first..then more....
I say this because this does prepare them for life. Mom cannot get out and put your seat belt on every time forever. But in the beginning, that may be what mom NEEDS do do, until things get settled. The point was, in Heather's seminar, It Isn't Going To Be Forever... the BEHAVIORS WILL CHANGE!

We have found that to be very true.

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