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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Working With Careless and Dreamy Kids: Part 4

This is Part 4 in a series.

Part 1: HERE
Part 2: HERE
Part 3: HERE

Have you ever had a hugely emotional fight with someone? How did you feel after that? Sapped? Tired? Unable to focus? Suppose you were to take an exam in that state of mind, or produce a piece of work then? Would you do well?

When one has careless and dreamy kids like mine, it can get frustrating. See HERE for Smelly Boy's gong-gong stories. Frustrated parents start yelling and screaming. One parent with anger management issues came to me for Parent Coaching. In her own words, "I have hit her with anything and everything. Basically, I pick up anything I see and I hit her with it." My eyes teared as I wrote that particular coaching report. This coaching session was so painful for me that I refused to sign on a 2nd session.

Getting scolded or beaten up is an emotionally sapping experience for the child. Even if the child were not prone to being dreamy and careless, he would become so, if always scolded and beaten. You only need to think of how well you would perform at work after a emotionally fraught conflict with your spouse or a co-worker to know that this is true.

An unhappy child (like an unhappy adult) is prone to ruminating about the unhappy event. You think about it. You moon over it. Unless you are trained to use Mindfulness Techniques (see HERE), you would tend to replay the dispute again and again in your head. You expend ever more mental energy feeling upset all over again.

Who can focus and be less careless in such conditions?

Hence, all through P4, P5 and P6, I internalised my own anger and frustration. I also made it a point to detoxify my son of his anger, anxiety and frustration (from being bullied, from being wrongly accused, from overwork, from fear of exams). See HERE and HERE.

I am still not done with sharing strategies for Dreamy and Careless Children. However, the remaining 2 strategies will be shared months later. I am still monitoring their effectiveness.


Joanne said...

Hey Petunia,

Thanks for yet another reminder of how we as parents are responsible for our children, including detoxifying them from anxiety, frustration and anger. The difficult bit is drawing the line from being over-protective and/or spoiling them, giving in to too much to their emotions such that they indulge in it.

I feel that my 12 years old girl is so good at demonstrating emotions like frustrations and anxiety which distracts her (and us) from her irresponsible behaviour etc, to the extent I suspect she's manipulative. Maybe I worry too much, maybe I have too high expectations of herself and myself.....

Petunia Lee said...

What you depict does happen. I see it often. Usually, I look to the SITUATION to decide if it will stress the child. If all else is in perfect condition and there really is NOTHING to emo about, then it is the child trying to manipulate the parent. In such cases, I usually advise the parent to disengage immediately or do the exact opposite of what the child wants. With my kids, I would leave the room and pretend I saw nothing and understood nothing but I would not give them what they wanted either. Then, I wait for them to behave the way I want and then I give them what they want from me.